The 2017 Central Mexico earthquake struck at 13:14 CDT (18:14 UTC) on September 19, 2017 with an estimated magnitude of 7.1 and strong shaking for about 20 seconds. It was epicentered about 34 miles south of the city of Puebla. The earthquake caused damage in the Mexican states of Puebla and Morelos and in the Greater Mexico City area, including the collapse of more than 40 buildings. 369 people were killed by the earthquake and related building collapses, including 228 in Mexico City, and more than 6,000 were injured. The quake coincidentally occurred on the 32nd anniversary of the 1985 Mexico City earthquake, which killed around 10,000 people. (from Wikipedia)
In 2014, we began an international missions partnership with Urban Mosaic (ConeXion Mosaic) in Mexico City. Led by Jean-Luc Krieg, Urban Mosaic serves some of the poorest people in Mexico City. In the summer of 2015, I went with four college students to lead a week-long Vacation Bible Camp in the eastern section of Mexico City. Nearly all families live in cinder-block homes without indoor plumbing.
When a natural disaster hits a well-function community like Houston, there is still a lot of work needed to rebuild homes, businesses, schools and churches, along with the lives of those affected. When a natural disaster hits a poor community with few resources the same work needs to be done but the poor community starts 10 spaces back.
Our Mission and Outreach Committee sent $4,000 to Urban Mosaic to support them as they sought to help their community. Writing shortly after the earthquake, we learned from our partner: “In catastrophes such as these, not only structures and buildings become damaged. The inhabitants suffer different degrees of psychological trauma. Urban Mosaic’s team has been articulating a holistic response.
· Neighborhood Clean-Up and Safety Assurance. Working together with the municipality, we continue to clear the most damaged structures.
· Community Training in Disaster Response. Over 200 people trained. In partnership with other allied organizations, we will be launching a campaign to prevent human trafficking at the shelters.
· Psycho-Emotional and Pastoral Support for Those Experiencing Trauma. This week pastors and leaders from the slum communities in Chimalhuacan that Urban Mosaico has mentored for over a year were participating in the intensive psycho-emotional first aid campaign.
· Empowering communities to rebuild: We are in talks with other allied organizations to design a strategy to build new homes.
· Marisela's Story
Marisela has become dear to our team. Her house was the first one we tore down, and whenever we visit her, she stops what she is doing to offer us a cup of coffee on a table she has set up next to the rubble that was her house and to share a brief moment with us. We always listen to her, and every time she opens her heart some more, and gives us the opportunity to provide psycho-emotional counsel more effectively. Our mission is not only about demolitions and rebuilding, but also about coming alongside people and restoring them to a healthy lifestyle.
I’m so grateful that our mission dollars can have such a meaningful impact in a place and among people who need it so desperately.
For more information about the work of Urban Mosaic or to make a donation, visit their website: http://www.urbanmosaic.net/home