Churches Work to Rebuild El Salvador Flood Zone

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The Central American nation of El Salvador is struggling to recover after massive flooding caused by Hurricane Ida.
    
At least 130 people died in floods and landslides and the country's churches are responding in force.

In the mostly Catholic country, Evangelicals are among the first responders.

"We've had reports from many of our pastors, from our churches, that they've had landslides, and deaths of some of their members," Pastor Michael Velasquez said.

Pastor Carlos Campos was one of the first to reach the town of Verapaz, in central El Salvador, which has become the emblem of this tragedy.

"We had to leave our vehicle at kilometer 51, to be able to reach the town of Verapaz by foot," Campos said. "Then we had to go around some boulders to reach the town where we are pastoring."

A landslide from the nearby volcano swept away dozens of houses, leaving a path of death and destruction.

"We have lost two families in this landslide," Campos added.

Scenes of mourning are repeated throughout the country. According to the Evangelical Alliance of El Salvador, many of its member congregations and homes have been affected. 

Yet for many, the love for others is greater than the pain.

"We can't stay with our arms crossed," Pastor Hazael Mendoza said. "There are many of our churches that have also been affected."

Dozens of churches have begun drives to collect supplies, and many are gladly making contributions.

"The truth is that we understand what the people are going through," Ana Virginia Canales said. "Thank God we are not in that situation and we've been able to come and help. With all our hearts we're coming to bring these gifts which are not new clothes, but we know they're going to help all the people a lot."

Even in the midst of all the destruction, one lady took advantage of the opportunity to share God's message of salvation.

"At this moment there are many pastors from our organization that are preaching in the shelters set up by the government to cooperate with these communities," Pastor Velasquez said. "The Word is being preached!"

It is a needed word of encouragement for a nation that is experiencing so much pain. 

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Stan Jeter

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CBN News Senior Producer Stan Jeter specializes in Christian news and Latin American coverage.  He has lived and worked for many years in South and Central America, most recently developing the Spanish Christian news program, Mundo Cristiano.  Follow Stan on Twitter @StanJeterNews and "like" him at Facebook.com/StanJeterCBN.