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Hurricane Help from Bolivia

 

Hurricane Help from Bolivia

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The people of the United States respond generously when natural disasters affect our neighbors around the world. When Hurricane Katrina left thousands of North Americans homeless, a team of young missionaries from South America wanted to help. Kim Riemland reports.

 
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(Locator: Cochabamba, Bolivia)

Bolivia is one of the poorest countries in South America. South Reno United Methodist Church in Nevada has done mission work here for years.

When Hurricane Katrina hit the Gulf Coast, friends in Bolivia saw a way to give back.

Margery Hall Marshall, South Reno United Methodist Church: “The youth were really worried about the United States because of all their friends. They didn’t really know where the hurricane hit and they didn’t know where any of us were. They were all praying for the United States and they wanted to come help.”

(Locator: Moss Point, Mississippi)

(Sound of saws and home repairs)

Leaving their homes for the first time, five young missionaries traveled to Mississippi.

Secundino Ramiro Catari Apaza (through translator), Mission Team Member from Bolivia: “When I saw the destruction, I first thought of the people. All these things they had, their houses, their possessions and all of the sudden there’s this hurricane and it takes everything away. And I really felt and thought about what kind of pain they must have been feeling.”

A team of 15 church members and Bolivian missionaries spent nearly two weeks repairing homes in some of the most devastated areas.

Homeowner Elaine Jones is grateful for the helping hands and the kind spirits of those who traveled so far to help.

Elaine Jones Patterson, Home Repaired by Volunteers:

“Oh, I think they’re a miracle. Cause you don’t get too many people really helping, I think. Maybe this will open up a lot of younger people’s heart up and let them know what life is really all about.”

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For more information on United Methodist Mission Programs in Bolivia, contact Sue King at the California-Nevada Annual Conference, 916-374-1582 or the Board of Global Ministries for the United Methodist Church at 1-800-UMC-GBGM or 1-800-862-4246.