Wednesday, November 15, 2017

The Aftermath of a Mudslide by Chris


We were super blessed to have Padre Paco come to our town to say mass in our cementery on The Commemoration of the Faithful Departed (e.g. All Souls).  Before mass started, he made the announcement that during the night there had been bad mudslides in a town in our province that caused the river to change course damaging the Catholic Church and that people had died.
Our All Souls Day mass in San Hilarion



All during mass, we felt compelled to do something to help the people there.  After mass, we called our community leader, who lives about 1 hour closer and he jumped on his motorcycle and headed up there.






Taking the ferry across the river





We mobilized and collected up sacs of rice and bottles of water and headed that way.  We were able to round up a few of the youth here in town to help us out.



By the time we arrived it was late in the afternoon.  We had just enough time to deliver the supplies to the gazebo in their plaza and turn and head home, racing to try and make the last ferry across the river.




Whew! Delivery made!  Thank you Jesus!
When we returned home, we assembled a clothing drive as the next immediate need was for clothing as the river had washed away a lot of the people's clothes.  Some people we saw had only the clothes on their back.  Praise the Lord!  People were so generous and gave out of their need to help their neighbors in Tres Unidos.  We headed back the next day with a generous donation of clothes!

Anna with the donated clothes!


This time we headed out earlier with Padre Francisco, Madre Exilda, and another missionary family was able to come with us so that we could pass out the clothing donations. Before we left the house, Michael said, "We need to take this rope because you never know when someone could need a rope in a situation like this!"  We took the rope and the clothes and traveled backup to Tres Unidos.  We set-up camp in the "municipalidad" (city hall) and the lines started to grow.  I gave the rope to some military personnel that were there assisting with clean-up efforts.
Passing out clothes in Tres Unidos!
We stayed for as long as we could before we had to be back to catch the last ferry again.  The next day, I traveled back again with our community leader and a group of youth from the town they live in.  We decided to go further in where there was more destruction and therefore, more need.  There were communities that had been cut-off as the raging river took out their 2 bridges that provided access.  We rounded up more clothes donations and headed back in.  We had big surprises in store for all of us that day!

When we headed up to the "alturas" (smaller towns higher up) of Tres Unidos we crossed a river in the parish truck.  Later that day, while we were up in the higher elevation, the river was raging and visibly growing in width, an experience I have not had before.  While we delivered more clothes, the river continued to rise and when it was time to return, we could not cross the river again in the truck, it was raging and much too dangerous.  We explored our options which were: 
1) Stay there until the river calms down which could be the next day or later.....
2) Try and cross another way...

We asked around and found out there was a foot bridge a bit further upriver.  We walked up to check it out and it turned out that someone downed a huge tree by the side of the river and it reached across.  The locals were crossing this wet slippery tree with raging water passing by underneath.  One slip and that would be it.....we would be carried away by the river.  We decided not to risk it with all of the youth group.  When we returned, some angels had arrived with a good, solid, long rope (just like the one that Michael wanted to donate) and said they could tie it to trees on the sides of the river so we could cross safely.  "You never know when someone could need a rope in a situation like this!"
We all made it back safely that night and thanked the Lord for the opportunities that day to grow in holiness.
Here we are crossing the raging river!
The side of the church caved in and the roof was very weak and could give way too!!
One of the houses that caved in from the mudslide

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Crossing the narrow bumpy bridge!!!  We turned the mirrors in, just in case!

That is the bridge that we needed to cross in the van!  Are we going to make it......yikes!!!





















































































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