As I sit typing I feel the gentle swaying of an aftershock in my building. The past 10 days have been surreal. In the city where we are, which was very close to the earthquake, there was very little in the way of injuries and damage. I know of no deaths or collapsed buildings. But only 60 miles to the north there has been absolute devastation.
I have been proud of the way our team has responded in this tragedy. While the government will not let us be among the first responders to the most dangerous areas, our people have stepped up where they can. One guy called me and asked if he could collect clothes from our team for the victims. I gave the green light. Several hours later he called back to report he had collected 16 garbage bags full of clothing. That was more than a garbage bag full per person!
Others have gone out to bring food, water, and other supplies to some of the 100,000's of refugees whose homes were destroyed by the earthquake. Our main opportunity has been bringing hope and the truth to the college students here. Because of government fear about old buildings on the campuses, all the students (10,000's on each campus) have been sleeping outside in tents or the open air for some of the last 10 days. There is a lot of fear, but also a lot of vulnerability. People who have been closed to the gospel are open now. Friends who have been resisting the decision for months are jumping in with two feet.
We leave in only 5 days to come back home. This was quite an ending to an amazing year. But even in the midst of tremendous tragedy, we see God at work, drawing his lost children to himself.