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News Flash: Two Mennonite pastors report from Chile


From left to right: Daniel Delgado, president of the Evangelical Mennonite Church in Santiago, Pastor Roberto Sáez of Lota, with an unidentified youth.

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March 5, 2010
-Deborah Froese with reports from Mennonite World Conference, Mennonite Mission Network and Titus Guenther

WINNIPEG, Manitoba — Mennonite Church Canada today received news that Pastor Carlos Gallardo and his wife Monica Parada survived the earthquake. The couple’s newly built home on the coast survived with little damage.

Gallardo – not heard from since the quake hit – connected with Canadian Mennonite pastors in 2006 during Mennonite Church Canada’s 2006 IMPaCT program (International Mennonite Pastors Are Coming Together).

Gallardo serves two congregations in the Concepción area – the Puerta del Rebaño Anabaptist congregation and the Baptist church of Chiguayante. Gallardo said the towns of Coliumo and Dichato were at the epicentre of the Feb. 27 quake – close to where the Gallardo family recently moved. There is no electricity and water is being drawn from a rain barrel.
Gallardo mentioned that the nearby Dichato hotel, where they have held church workshops and retreats was destroyed.
Titus Guenther, who has served with Mennonite Church Canada in Chile on special assignments, was also able to connect by cell phone with Pastor Daniel Delgado, president of the Evangelical Mennonite Church in Santiago. Delgado said that Mennonite Pastor Roberto Sáez in Lota and the members of his congregation survived the quake and resulting tsunami. Lota, with about 45,000 residents, is reportedly one of the poorest cities in Chile.
Approximately six Mennonite congregations in Santiago are preparing to send several vehicles stocked with supplies to Lota next Monday, but road conditions are expected to make the trip 2-3 times longer than the normal eight hours.