“‘Yet my unfailing love for you will not be shaken nor my covenant of peace be removed’, says the Lord who has compassion on you” –Isaiah 54:10
As many are now aware, Saturday evening just as the sun had set, the Ecuadorian coast experienced a 7.8 magnitude earthquake that lasted around one minute. 60 whole seconds.
Aimee and I were sitting on top of piled boulders towards the back of the beach. The rocks began to move. About 5 seconds in we recognized the abnormality of what was happening. The reality of everything kicked in and we jumped off the boulders landing in the sand. The movement continued and became stronger. The ground moved as though it were liquid, all lights in the town shut off leaving us in darkness, pool water sloshed over the balconies, car alarms sounded, bats emerged from their hiding places filling the sky. People started to panic- screaming and crying and running.
I write, yes, to share my personal experience, everyone’s being different, many being much worse. But more importantly, I write with the hope of shedding a bit more light on the actual severity of this tragedy and the damage and destruction this country is enduring.
The current confirmed death toll has numbered to over 400 lives, injuries at a number well over 2500. These numbers have continued to increase daily, if not hourly, as rescue teams are finally arriving to destruction sites. Many coast cities, including but not limited to, Pedernales (epicenter), Canoa, Manta, Portoviejo and many small towns in between, have suffered extreme damage and destruction and some still remain without power, light, water and transportation.
I was forced by my program to evacuate from Manta for obvious safety reasons. So I remain in Quito while the people I had quickly grown to love and the city which had quickly become my home remain in chaos. Nothing regarding that statement sits well.
Yet in the midst of tragedy, in the midst of complete chaos, we have access to a peace and a comfort from a God who sees and who knows and who promises to never leave, to never forsake. And let me tell you, that peace and comfort is much harder to accept and to feel than it is to declare. But it does exit, it is there. And I am confident the country of Ecuador, specifically the provence of Manabí, is in a long process of experiencing true grace and restoration from a God who loves to restore, who loves to make all things new.
The response of resilience, solidarity, and unity here is incredible. People are joining together from all over the country and bordering countries sending rescue teams, food, water, clothing, etc. But this solidarity should reach much farther than Ecuador and its bordering countries. For those who are not residing in Ecuador and South America, please realize the severity and tragedy people here are experiencing and with that realization please respond in prayer, and in thought, and with what you are able.
Fuerza Manabí, fuerza Ecuador.