Massive Flooding In Rurrenabaque
Most people like the rain; the moisture of rejuvenated landscapes, the scent that emerges when the liquid mingles with dry earth. Rain, the majority of the time, is considered a blessing. Except, of course, when torrential downpour provokes landslides in the mountainous Beni district of Bolivia. When the rapid swelling of the river floods dozens of scantly built one story houses with inches of murky water. When storm debris obliterates the dirt roads as to isolate the village making it impossible for aid to enter or for the refugees to escape.
When lives are lost and families shattered, rain becomes a problem.
Presently the small town of Rurrenanaque has, housed in make shift shelters, thousands of survivors of what has been one of the most impacting natural disasters the county has ever seen. Confused, tired, and left in the agony of an uncertain future, the irony of the present situation simmers in the minds of those who have left everything. Water had been the ruthless enemy that had driven them from the their homes and now in an almost cowardly manner, water had hidden.
The pipes that provided drinking water to the inhabitants of Rurre were severely damaged and impossible to repair for 15 days. One can only truly appreciate this predicament when they’ve been faced with a burning thirst that can’t be quenched, when no meal can be prepared for hungry children, and when hospitals are bombarded with the sick and wounded who can’t receive proper care. The exiled had come from a desperate situation to face an even more dire fate. But He whose faithfulness is unbounded and with whom there is no variableness neither shadow of turning had already made provision for his distressed children.
Familia Feliz is 13 kilometers (8 miles) away from the main village, and save a few puddles, was not severally affected by the storm. His promise reads true, “When thou passest through the waters, I will be with thee; and through the rivers, they shall not overflow thee..For I am the Lord thy God, the Holy One of Israel, thy Savior.” Isaiah 43:2-3.
Three months ago, through God’s providence and the generosity of our donors, a well was dug that has been a constant provider of drinking water to the students and staff of Familia Feliz. Now, the privilege was ours to give what we had so graciously been given.
Truckloads of water was pumped out of our well and driven to the grateful people of Rurrenabaque. Hundreds of men, women, and children ran behind the truck with buckets, bowls, and everything in between to receive the precious liquid. We provided water to homeless shelters and thousands of liters to the hospital. And there, in the pouring of water into a child’s outstretched hands we were able to show Jesus. Witnessing is an action more powerful than sermon. By showing Jesus to them, we were able to more clearly see His face, thus fulfilling, in the smallest and grandest of ways, the purpose of our mission.
*There is a small army base in town and I want to acknowledge the soldiers who worked tirelessly in their search and rescue efforts. I also want to honor the valiant man who lost their lives following the very example our Savior left us: “Greater love hath no man then this…”