SANTIAGO, Chile — Despite
logistical difficulties, Southern Baptist workers are responding to help those
suffering from an 8.8-magnitude earthquake that rocked central Chile early Feb.
With highways cracked, bridges collapsed and the international airport closed,
travel to and through Chile is greatly limited. But missionaries from the
International Mission Board’s (IMB) Mapuche indigenous team, which ministers to
the Mapuche people in South America, began moving out March 2 from Temuco to assess
needs in the worst-hit areas. Temuco is about 130 miles south of quake-ravaged
Concepción, Chile’s second largest city.
The missionaries — Trent Tomlinson of Alabama, David Hinds of Oklahoma and
Anders Snyder of Colorado — are carrying water and first-aid supplies for
distribution. Besides providing some initial relief, they also will assess
damages and share their findings with Southern Baptist leaders.
Meanwhile, a second assessment team is struggling to travel into Chile from the
United States. This group — Scott Brawner of the IMB, Jim Howard from Texas and
Mike Sanders from South Carolina — will be doing assessment as part of joint
Southern Baptist relief efforts in Chile.
After they couldn’t access the international airport in Chile’s capital of Santiago,
the team has arrived in Argentina and will make the trip by bus over the Andes
Mountains, reaching Santiago the afternoon of March 3. They will be joining IMB
missionaries in Chile to make the trip south to the hardest-hit areas,
including Concepción. There, they will assess the situation and determine how
Southern Baptists can best help. After they arrive in the south, they will join
Chilean Baptist partners already surveying the most devastated areas.
In Santiago, IMB leaders are defining strategy and supply needs for teams that
will be traveling south to the most severely affected parts of the quake zone.
IMB missionary strategist Charles Clark of North Carolina met with Chilean
Baptist Convention leaders and surveyed some of the most heavily damaged areas
of Santiago. Clark serves as strategy leader for the part of South America that
The Chilean convention, which already has personnel traveling south on a “scouting
report,” welcomed assistance from Southern Baptists and will join forces with
the IMB and Baptist Global Response, a Southern Baptist partner in the relief
efforts. IMB missionaries in Santiago will work in partnership with local
churches to meet needs of some of the people living in tents in the capital
city, while two leaders of the Chilean convention will join the assessment
teams as they travel south.
In other developments, IMB missionary Alfredo Valencia, who lives in Santiago,
already has left for the coastal town of Llolleo, which was hard hit by the
tsunami following the Feb. 27 earthquake. Valencia, who is from Washington, is
leading a team of Chilean Baptists assessing damages and is taking food and
water to help meet immediate needs.
Donations for Chile may be directed to the Disaster Response Fund at imb.org. One
hundred percent of each donation goes to meet human needs. Updated prayer
requests can be viewed at imb.org/pray.
(EDITOR’S NOTE — Taylor is an International Mission Board writer in the