Storm impacts Peruvian Mennonite Brethren

Church members help neighbors amid loss

May 1, 2017 by

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By what seemed like divine coincidence, Mennonite World Conference Andean regional representative Pablo Stucky planned to visit Peru in early April.

His scheduled meetings with church leaders came shortly after rains inundated the desert region occupied by the Mennonite Brethren churches, killing some 100 people and leaving at least 100,000 homes destroyed and 900,000 damaged.

Workers remove water from a Mennonite Brethren church in Peru. — Antonio García

Workers remove water from a Mennonite Brethren church in Peru. — Antonio García

While informing leaders from 11 MB congregations about MWC, Stucky also had opportunity to provide pastoral care.

In addition to being an MWC regional representative, Stucky specializes in trauma response as coordinator of CEAS, a project of the Anabaptist churches in Colombia.

“The date of this visit made it possible also to accompany them in this moment of pain and burden as a result of the loss and damage which they suffered and continue to suffer,” he said.

About 370 families connected to the MB churches were reportedly affected.

On April 1, Stucky met with 21 pastors and leaders of Conferencia Peruana Hermanos Menonitas, some of whom traveled up to three hours. Stucky presented and received questions about MWC and facilitated their sharing about the aftermath of the floods. And they prayed for each other.

The region has experienced catastrophic flooding before. MB work in Peru began with relief response to 1983 floods. But the leaders reported this year’s flooding devastated areas previously unaffected.

“It has been an intense experience,” said one leader, who saw people swept away in the current. “It was a time for crying for our neighbors. We have rescued people, trying as much as possible to help.”

One church leader told concerned friends she was not afraid to go out into the storm.

“Elijah prayed, and the rain stopped,” she said. “I went through knee-deep water to help deliver a baby. The girl was born safe and sound.”

Though suffering losses of their own, church members were helping neighbors and sheltering people in church buildings.

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