RICHMOND — “Everything began suddenly when a group of persons from Bon Air Baptist Church in Richmond proposed a volunteer missions trip to Perú to help persons affected by the earthquake that hit the provinces of Pisco and Chincha, south of Lima,” says Marcos Huarhua.
Marcos attends the Hispanic congregation that meets at Bon Air. The church invited him to be a part of the team, and this allowed the Peruvian native to return home to check on his parents, whose home had been seriously damaged by the earthquake.
The Bon Air group was the second of two Virginia Baptist teams to offer disaster relief ministries in areas around the city of Chincha Alta, Perú. The teams distributed blankets and tents purchased by Virginia Baptist Disaster Relief funds to persons who had not yet received assistance with shelter. Virginia Baptists also provided funding for the continued operation of feeding kitchens in the communities of Sunampe, Fatima and Paso Gómez. The teams also helped families clear rubble from their properties, helped build water filtration systems, and produced soymilk for distribution.
“The persons we helped were from very humble circumstances; they had built their homes from adobe, a rustic mud block material that they had made themselves, and which did not offer security at the time of the earthquake,” said Marcos. Roofs caved in and walls collapsed on livestock, persons, and belongings. Many homes that were still standing were so severely damaged that they were declared unsafe, including the home of Marcos' parents. They are not yet ready to clear their lot, as there is a real threat from looters.
Pastor César Crisostomo served as the host Peruvian pastor and local coordinator. He says that his church has been challenged to continue the work that Virginia Baptist began. “We are taking the message of the word of God to [these communities] in order to complement the material work, so that the people may see that not only by bread does man live, but above all, by the word of God.”