The following is the translation of a letter that I received from one of my friends living in Concepcion, one of the areas of Chile hit hardest by the earthquake.
Brothers and Sisters:
Our country is submerged in pain, death and hopelessness. The effects of the earthquake, combined with tsunamis, are indescribable. The images transmitted on television, while dramatic, do not reflect all of the pain and drama of all the victims of this great tragedy. The cities most affected are those of the 7th and 8th regions of the country. Many people there lost their lives, their homes, and their belongings. Others who survived were left, in many cases, with only the clothes on their backs. Today the government has recognized that there are more than 700 dead. There are no figures with regards to how many are injured or missing. With regard to homes, there are more than 500,000 completely destroyed and many others in a precarious condition and difficult for people to live in.
In the area of Concepción we do not have any direct information about our churches, pastors or the theological institute we have in Concepción. (Note: I have since found out that it was flattened.) We know that there is a lot of destruction, that there are families and churches that are suffering. The area of Concepción has also suffered tsunamis like in Talcahuano yesterday, when the sea came as far up as the centre of the city, leaving a trail of death, pain and suffering.
Despite the pain, we affirm our hope, and participate in the activities of tending to the reduction of pain and suffering, and accompanying our brothers, sisters, and the Chilean people in general because there are many spiritual needs even in the midst of so much material destruction.
Your prayers and solidarity help us a lot in these moments.
May our great God bless you. Your brother in Christ,