Costa Rica is recovering from one of the strongest earthquakes to hit the small nation in the last 150 years. The quake shut down some popular tourist attractions, leaving foreigners stranded and thousands of residents homeless. But the government and churches were quick to respond.
The 6.1 magnitude earthquake in the Central American nation of Costa Rica triggered massive landslides, shattering homes, destroying roads, and claiming the lives of at least 20 people.
An eyewitness relived the horrifying event.
"The quake came and I saw two girls walking with their candy baskets and then I didn't see them again. What could I have done? I couldn't do anything. Everyone here was screaming and and crying and they were stuck there."
The quake damaged six miles of road near the Poas Volcano, a popular destination for tourists. President Oscar Arias toured the disaster area by helicopter then went on national television to ask citizens to help with the recovery effort. He also asked the nation to pray.
"I ask that we join together in prayer, regardless of our beliefs or religious denomination. I ask that we pray for the families of the victims, for those who are suffering from desperation, and also for the rescue workers and others working in the area. Even the poorest of Costa Ricans can give us a little of his faith," he said.
Many Costa Rican churches have responded to the call by collecting food and other supplies for the hundreds of people left homeless by the quake.
A local pastor also called for citizens to unite and respond to the need.
"I believe it is more blessed to give than to receive. This is the moment that our brothers, with such an enormous need as we're seeing by television, can respond," he said.
Vanloads of food, blankets and other supplies collected by churches in the capital, San Jose, began navigating the treacherous roads toward the affected area within days of the quake.
Several churches near the epicenter of the quake were damaged. Many church members lost their homes and are among the 2,000 now living in temporary shelters.