"We are afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed, but not driven to despair; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed; always carrying in the body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be manifested in our bodies." - 2 Corinthians 4:8-10
There's something quite beautiful about the resilience of some communities struck by disaster.
According to the Merriam-Webster Dictionary, the definition of resilience is, "the ability to become strong, healthy, or successful again after something bad happens; the ability of something to return to its original shape after it has been pulled, stretched, pressed, bent, etc."
On April 16, 2016 a 7.8 magnitude earthquake shook the foundations of coastal Ecuador. Over 600 people were killed and more than 27,000 were injured. Thousands more lost their homes or were displaced by the carnage.
IDES' mission partners evaluated the the damage and the primary needs of the families in their surrounding communities. Plans for immediate short-term recovery were made, while others started planning for the long-term recovery process.
"Many of these families are living 20 to a house, so we are still in the process to see how we can help with their living conditions. They are sleeping on the floor so we will be purchasing mattresses and mosquito nets and delivering these supplies to them," one partner reported.
Another IDES partner is already focusing on rebuilding. "Forty five families lost their homes and twenty five families did not have a place to go [in our community] so they are living in an abandon school. With the donations that we are receiving our goal is to build 15 to 20 houses ($3,000 each house). We are also sharing the Gospel with them," our partner said. "We not only want to help them physically--our goal is to fulfill their need spiritually. We are excited to be able to help these victims of the earthquake and to see how the church is behind it as well."
The moment a disaster situation is no longer being heavily reported in the news, one has a tendency to forget about it. "Out of sight, out of mind," as the saying goes. After a disaster strikes, most help arrives within the first week; however, the large majority of recovery efforts are done in the weeks and months following the initial event. Helping a community stand on its own two feet again takes immense intentionality and long-term planning.
One IDES partner in Ecuador is starting a lunch program to provide at least one nutritious meal per day to families during the recovery period. "These families will also be helping cook and serve along side of our church members. We are going to use this time to evangelize and get to know these families on a personal level," our partner said.
Some communities have a certain level of resilience that often aids in how soon families can recover. Ecuador is one such example. Some, who themselves have been affected by the earthquake, are stepping up and reaching out to their own neighbors.
"What we like about this community is that they are already doing things to help their neighbors and they seem to be organized," our partner said. "Our plan for this community is to build houses and possibly start a church. We don't want to reinvent the wheel, we want to go where we feel God is calling us."
Here's the really neat part: you are as much a part of the recovery efforts as the mission partners in the field are. Your prayers and support maks a significant impact on the families being served, often times adding to their level of resilience. We are in this together.
"Without the generous people that will be donating this project would not be possible, so thank you for helping us put our faith into action! Please pray for this journey and the experience that God is giving His Kingdom. Let's grow the Kingdom of God!"