Earthquake & Aftershocks: Stories, Pictures, and News

by Jim on 24 September 2017

The News Part

A significant aftershock hit on Saturday (Shari felt it, I didn’t), and another today. We say “aftershock”, but there is even disagreement about which earthquake these are aftershocks of. The fact of the matter is, we know a lot less than you might think when it comes to earthquakes and plate tectonics.

Largest quakes/aftershocks of the past week

Largest quakes/aftershocks of the past week


As far as I can tell, there have been aftershocks every day since the quake on the 7th. But here is a map showing just the quakes/aftershocks magnitude 5 and up from the past week (the orange one was from today). (Actually, that red one snuck in while I was capturing the map. It was a 4.7 but it just happened.)

Setting aside Mexico City and area for a moment, can you imagine the strain in the state of Oaxaca, where the earth is moving every day? There are towns which after two and a half weeks have no water yet.

But tension is high here too, as rescue efforts continue. Even if there is little damage from the aftershocks, it still adds to the emotional strain.

The Personal Report Part

New friend

Yes, that is a Canada cap!

I won’t write a novel and tell you all our adventures yesterday – adventures including off and on power and cell service, muddy roads, and lots of driving. Over lunch time we met with people from a few families, some of which had been affected directly by the quake. One man made a confession of faith – so maybe from an eternal perspective that was the purpose of our whole day!

In the afternoon, with a lot going on, I made the split-second-without-thinking-much (maybe I was too tired to think!) decision to suggest we head up to the town we had visited on Thursday.

To be honest, I only had a vague idea where this town was, but I knew that by a big Roman Catholic chapel there was someone I had met. And I knew that there was a lot of damage in the town.

So we found our way to the town, and to the centre of town, but athough I had recognized some streets, I had no idea where to go from there.

There was a lot of immediate help in that area, so we were talking about going nearby to just help whoever we could find. We talked to a police officer, and he said something along the lines of,“You know, we have lots of help here. But if you go about 5 minutes down the road, they need more help there. Actually – I’ll take you.”

And he drove us right to the block where the person was that I had been looking for, and I got out of the van and walked a few metres to his house.

And they say God doesn’t answer prayer.

One family's business and homeYou can see the family house above – this was their house and business. It’s a complete loss. Three families are now living in a single room next door.

So I asked this man if he would be willing to walk with us for half an hour to help us find those most in need.

And so he took three of us from the group, and we went on a walking tour, giving people some food and praying with them.

cracked homeFor example, we came across this house (it was a business too, actually), which also is a loss (no, that is not a door on the right!). When we said we were from a Christian church, we found out that he was a Christian too, with a bunch of big Christian guys moving rubble behind the house. We prayed with them, and they enthusiastically and LOUDLY thanked God for His blessings and prayed for those who still did not have salvation. It was quite an experience there in the semi-darkness, with clouds of cement dust in the air! (I’m still coughing… dust was everywhere in this town…)

I got home this morning around 12:30am or so.

A couple of the towns we visited, including this last one, did look like war zones. The bad part is that there were destroyed and semi-destroyed buildings everywhere you looked. But the good part was that there were people working all over the place – trucks moving rubble, people organizing supplies. The Mexican people have been amazing in their response.

But this will require more than an immediate response the few days afterwards.

I want to leave you with the story of one man we met. Below you can see a picture of his two story home, which they now can’t enter. It will soon be torn down. As you might be able to see, all his belongings are outside under the clouds (clouds which will likely become rain, if they haven’t been already).

Everything outsideOn the right you can see rough shelters that were just being put up last night, so that they would have a sheltered place to sleep.

This man’s wife just passed away a month ago.

We prayed for him, but in this case, as Romans 8:26 says, “…we do not know what to pray for as we ought, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words.”

Today and Next Steps

We had a service this morning, but we were split in 3. The building where we meet has not yet been inspected, so we met in three homes at three locations (we weren’t able to find a place big enough to meet – unless we were willing to pay a large amount of rent.) From what I heard all three mini-churches had a good service. It was an encouragement to be together, praying and singing and hearing from the Lord’s Word. And, of course, hearing more stories from everyone!

Fear in the face of Tragedy tractThis afternoon I went to the city of Puebla to pick up 28,000 evangelistic tracts that have been printed just for earthquake relief. The front of the tract says,”Fear in the face of tragedy”. It talks about the recent quakes, and then goes on to share about the “God of all comfort” (2 Corinthians 1:3).

I’ll be shipping those to various churches in our network tomorrow as they continue to bring news of comfort as well as physical aid.

We have a conference this week for missionaries from around the country. We have decided to go ahead with the conference, but to use it not only as a time to “go up for air”, but also to have some times of prayer and meetings to strategize some longer term plans. But it’s going to be difficult for everyone to be here, but not be here. That will be Tuesday to Friday.

And then – well – we’ll take it from there! As I’ve alluded to before, things are changing day by day, and even hour by hour. So it’s more than a full time job to stay up to date with the current needs and what everyone is doing.

Rod will be going to Oaxaca this week, where he has friends, to help there. Depending on what funds are available (you can help here by giving to our community centre fund), and how the situation develops, we will see what direction we go next.

Thank you again for your prayers. God is answering them! People are being helped and encouraged in the face of this tragedy. Let’s keep looking to the Lord.

Sendero Earthquake Relief

Pastor Martín and the group I went with yesterday.

{ 3 comments… read them below or add one }

Gram September 27, 2017 at 2:07 am

Amen to the above comments!

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