During our recent trip to Cartagena, we experienced an unreal situation.
Following a day of rain, about 60 houses collapsed. I mean collapsed. They didn’t just have cracks in the walls or a hole in the roof. Walls fell down, roofs were gone, foundations were torn apart. When we heard of the disaster, we took the opportunity to purchase food and made plans to deliver it in the neighborhood.
I wasn’t prepared for what I saw as we walked up the hill into the affected portions of the neighborhood. People were in a steady flow down the hill – each carrying belongings. Some carrying roof trusses or roofing material they hoped to salvage and use in their next dwelling. Some carried what pieces of furniture they could save. People were orderly. There wasn’t mass confusion. Strangely enough, there was no crying or hysteria. It’s because this was just another day in the lives of those living in these conditions. The residents have come to expect this type of event happening in their lives. Here’s some video of what happened there: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cQiuhfTAj-8
As we split into two separate groups, Jason Priddle led a group and I led the second. We found spots we could stand and speak to the affected people. As dozens if not hundreds of people gathered and listened, we talked to them about Jesus and how in spite of their current circumstances, He is a God of Love and that He cares for them. Preaching the gospel in the middle of what was going on was humbling. When we finished we handed out the food we brought. There was no pushing or shoving. There was no complaining when we ran out. There were very grateful people there that day. When we had given the food we had, we slowly went to various groups of people and prayed individually with them.
My heart breaks for those that live in San Francisco, Cartagena, Colombia. I cried that day. Several of us chose to fast for the evening and asked that our meal be given to someone who didn’t have food that day.
I’m excited to plan to return to that neighborhood soon!