If you can imagine camping out but without the beauty of nature surrounding you, then you can begin to get a feel for the current situation of many families in Mexico City who cannot enter their homes after the earthquake. The families whose homes were destroyed completely have given up the hope of their homes being rebuilt any time soon and some of them have sought other housing options. The rest of them have simply become homeless. Other families, however, have not been allowed back into their apartment building because there is structural damage that needs to be repaired. And so they wait. These families have set up campsites in the parking areas outside their apartment buildings. They have placed mattresses on the pavement to rest and tarps overhead to protect them from the sun and rain. They are without running water most days because many of the underground water mains are leaky or broken so the city only runs water through the system for an hour every other day so that people can refill their water storage containers, if they have them. Bottled drinking water is available and almost all of the stores have reopened. The people basically cook, eat, sleep, and live outside under a plastic roof.
This week, Steve Carpenter, my son Corbin, and I were able to visit and serve with the Zona Maranatha Community Center (ZMCC) ministry in the south east corner of Mexico City. This is one of the CMF ministry bases in the Mexico City area. We went to work alongside Brad Chapman, one of our Mexico Field Team Missionaries who lives near and works in the Fuego Nuevo and Lomas Estrella areas with ZMCC.
CMF has received donations to help in the relief effort and so we were able to take food, water, cooking oil, towels, soap, shampoo, toothbrushes, toothpaste, and underclothing to be distributed through Zona Maranatha. Thank you for giving so that we can help. My son Ian gathered some of his clothes and toys and we were able to take those as well. We will continue to accept financial contributions and we will continue to provide relief supplies and serve until these families are able to get into their homes.
One of the practical needs that Zona Maranatha is able to help meet is by providing shower facilities to primarily two temporary shelter camps. During our visit, we drove 10 minutes from the community center to one of the shelters to delivered our supplies, meet many of the families, encourage as many as possible, pray, and bring as much hope as we could. We gathered up the first group of people for a shower run and returned to ZMCC where each person received a clean towel to use, a new bar of soap, shampoo, deodorant, and new undergarments. We were able to talk and get to know our new friends while waiting for a turn in the shower. Afterwards, we took them back to their shelter.
One of my personal experiences during this time was getting to meet a young boy named Jesus. Jesus is 10 years old. Jesus has not been able to attend school since the earthquake. As I was talking with Jesus, his family, and his friends, I asked him if he knew that there was a man with the same name as his whom we can read about in the Bible. I also asked him if his family had a Bible, which they do. I said to Jesus, “Ask your parents to read the Bible to you.”
I told him a story about a soldier who sent friends to the Jesus in the Bible so that He would heal one of the soldier’s servants who was sick. I asked him if he understood the word, “miracle”.
He said, “It is something very good that happens.”
“That’s right. A miracle is something that is supernatural that God does for people, like healing sickness. Jesus healed the soldier’s servant (Luke 7:1-10). It was a miracle. I believe that one of the reasons that God does miracles is to give us hope even in an impossible situation. You have been through a lot lately with your family and God wants you to have hope. And I want you to know that you are not alone. We came today to help. We brought you some gifts and we want to continue helping you and your family.”
As you might imagine, it was an emotional day because I saw with my own eyes (Not a video) the great need and the poor conditions. But it will never cease to amaze me the irony of talking about our Savior Jesus with a boy or a man with the same name who seems to know nothing about the Biblical Jesus, His love, and His salvation.
Please keep praying, we have a long road of recovery ahead. We believe in a Mighty God!
Thank you and God Bless You!