The powerful earthquake and subsequent tsunami that hit the central region of Chile on the morning of Saturday, February 27 has caused widespread damage and left tens of thousands homeless.
Telephone and cell phone coverage is erratic or unavailable and much of the nation is without electricity, hampering communications with the most damaged regions. Youth With A Mission regional leader for the Southern Cone, Ricardo Rodriguez, reports from Santiago that this northern centre is undamaged but they have not been able to get to some other YWAM centres, which have been cut off due to damaged roads and bridges.
YWAM accompanied the White Helmets on a one-week rescue trip and were able to take with them medical supplies they gathered following the earthquake.
The White Helmets, presided over by Gabriel Marcelo Fuks and reporting to the National Government, worked with YWAM in 1994 when the two teams traveled to Rwanda during what later became known as the Rwandan Genocide. Ninety YWAM volunteers traveled with the White Helmets and made camp inside the conflict zone for three months, providing help of incalculable value.
Four months earlier, on January 10, 2001, Silas and Anu had pioneered the YWAM ministry Vanitashray, based in Pune, India. The name comes from the Marathi Script Sanskrit- Vanita, meaning woman and Ashray, meaning shelter. This ministry cares for destitute widows and orphans/abandoned children. As they began, Anu did not know that she herself would soon identify with the widows heart and grief. She says, “I was devastated when Silas died, but God told me three things. He will be with us and never leave us nor forsake us. All that matters to Him is my relationship with Him and He will lead me in the calling He placed over my life.” Lastly, God told Anu, “Take one day at a time.”
“The amazing thing about this photo project,” said Rob, “was how God used our cameras as tools to open doors into the hearts of people whom we might never speak with otherwise.” They simply walked around the city and asked people if they could take their picture. One man they photographed had been wandering around the city in a desperate attempt to find peace from his depression and anxiety. When they understood this, the YWAMers stopped what they were doing and talked with him for a while. In the end he let them pray for him.
But YWAM rescue teams have an unending supply of hope, and when they came upon a group of survivors seeking help, they sprang into action. A four-month old baby girl was discovered pinned under a building. She was removed from the rubble and rushed to a makeshift hospital with a large cut on her head. Local people said that the infant's mother was still under the building, but presumed dead. Undeterred, the YWAM team began digging to find her. To everyone's surprise, she was found alive - extremely dehydrated and in need of hospital care, but alive and expected to recover!