Chile Residents Find Hope Amidst Disaster

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TALCAHUANO, Chile -- Chile is still hurting from the powerful earthquake that killed hundreds and destroyed thousands of buildings late last month.

It's hard for many to find hope amid the disaster, but CBN News met a Chilean woman who's faith is firm, despite losing everything.

"This was the kitchen," quake survivor Magaly Fernandez Candia said. "This is what's left of my kitchen."

"All my clothes are still in this drawer, soaking wet," she added. "It used to be there in my bedroom, but the tsunami destroyed it all."

Click play to watch George Thomas' report followed by his comments on the progression of relief efforts in Chile.

You can help people hurt by disasters by clicking here to give to Operation Blessing Disaster Relief. 

Most of Candia's hometown of Talcahuano is where 80 percent of the residents are homeless.

"I just raised my hands and asked God to have mercy on us," Candia said. "The earthquake was so strong that I could not stand on my feet."

On Feb. 27, a magnitude 8.8 quake destroyed more than a 400-mile stretch  along Chile's Pacific coast.

Candia's home sits less than a mile from the ocean. The quake unleashed a wall of water that slammed into her town.

"Did you ever think this would happen to you?" Thomas asked Candia.

"Yes, I knew there was that possibility since Chile is prone to earthquakes, but now I have to move on," Candia responded.

And moving on for Candia means totally trusting God to provide for all her needs.

"We had nothing when we bought this house 13 years ago and so now we will start all over again," Candia said. "God is with me and He motivates me to keep going."

On Sunday morning, she joined dozens of tsunami survivors at a church to lift up a symphony of praise to God.

"God says He will never leave us nor forsake us," Candia said. "We can always count on Him."

The Chilean government estimates that it is going to take at least three years to clean up the mess left by the earthquake and the tsunami and that is all too clear to the people in the community trying so desperately to clean up.

For the moment, Candia spends most of her time trying to encourage friends like Julio and others who have lost everything. She tells them about the Lord and that they need to turn to him.

"We have to keep going," Candia said to Julio. "I have taught you a lot about God. This is a chance that He has given us to seek after him. Without Him we are nothing. Without him we don't have hope."

It is that hope that spurs countless residents like Candia to look past their circumstances to the day when a new town rises from the rubble.

"The fact that we are alive gives us the chance to start over and we are very thankful for that," Candia said.

*Originally published March 12, 2010.

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