Photo: Rev. Omar Kinas, (pictured here with his family) a missionary of the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Argentina, currently serves as mercy project manager and missionary in Chile.
LCMS disaster-response officials are headed to Chile this week after Sunday’s magnitude-7.1 earthquake struck near Talca, a city of more than 200,000 people. Our partner church, the Confessional Lutheran Church of Chile (IELCHI), reports that its members are safe. News outlets report no major property damage.
The Rev. Omar Kinas, (pictured above with his family at his 2010 installation in Chile) a pastor of the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Argentina and a missionary funded in part by the LCMS, has been out among the people since the quake to determine their physical, emotional and spiritual needs.
The Rev. Glenn Merritt, director of disaster response for the LCMS, spoke with the Rev. Cristian Rautenberg, president of the EILCHI, Monday. Merritt reported, “This was a strong quake felt all the way north to Santiago during Sunday morning worship. This quake does not appear to have caused major damage, but many people are upset because it has reminded them of the great earthquake and tsunami of two years ago.”
Photo: People gather outside a supermarket after an earthquake was felt in Talca, Chile, Sunday, March 25, 2012. A magnitude-7.2 earthquake struck just off the coast of central Chile. The quake prompted an emergency evacuation order for people living near the ocean in case of resulting tsunami. (AP Photo/Fabian Suazo)
Merritt and the Rev. Carlos Hernandez, director of strategic development for the LCMS’ Office of National Mission, who travelled to Chile several times in the months following the 2010 earthquake, are returning this week to meet with officials of the IELCHI. Al Dowbnia, director of digital media for the LCMS, will be traveling with Merritt and Hernandez. This trip was planned before the weekend’s earthquake.
“We will be providing pastoral care to church leaders and offering guidance and advice as they work to develop their ‘Action Plan for Future Ministry in Talca and Constitucion,’ which centers on helping the people of these earthquake-prone areas of Chile find peace and hope,” Merritt said.
Thanks to an initial grant of $61,000 from LCMS World Relief and Human Care (WR-HC) following the 2010 earthquake, the IELCHI sent teams of pastors and lay volunteers to make weekly trips to care for those in need. The LCMS is helping the IELCHI to continue to assess needs and craft an action plan, part of which is to provide ongoing emotional and psychological counseling for those affected by the disasters.
Today, because of the faithful witness and acts of mercy shared by the Lutheran teams, the IELCHI is planting two new congregations — one in Constitución and one in Talca. An additional WR-HC grant of $150,000, being provided over three years, has made it possible for Kinas to begin serving in Constitución and Talca as project manager and missionary.
- To make a gift to help the Synod’s disaster response efforts or to learn more about disaster response ministry, visit www.lcms.org/disaster.
- To learn more about LCMS mission and mercy work in Chile, visit www.lcms.org/chile.
- To read the latest “Sharing” article “Acts of mercy lead to new congregations in Chile”, click here.