On Saturday, April 1, the citizens of Macoa, Colombia, fell asleep to the sound of heavy rain drumming on their roofs. They awoke to the crash of debris as the worst mudslide in memory swept the town. Whole neighborhoods were washed away, replaced with boulders the size of Buicks. Three hundred people lost their lives, nearly 100 of them children. Another 2,500 were left homeless.
The Sunday dawn brought the extent of the devastation to light. Hundreds of people were missing. Thousands injured. Homes collapsed into rubble. Streets clogged with rocks, mud, and bodies.
Less than one year before, ICM had helped a congregation near Macoa to build a permanent church and Hope Center. They had dedicated the building the previous May.
Miraculously spared from the mudslide, the church found itself uniquely equipped to respond to the crisis. The congregation brought in trucks of supplies to those who had lost everything, organized search parties for the missing, opened a medical clinic to treat the injured, and provided shelter to 30 homeless families.
America is blessed to have emergency response teams, modern hospitals, homeless shelters, and a wealth of resources to help people in crisis. But in rural, overseas communities like Macoa, there is often no safety net at all for those in need. Strong buildings and compassionate people–like those at Villa Garzon Church in Macoa–become the first place people go when crisis strikes.
And it is there that they can encounter the living Christ.