A Change of Plans

Tabasco Under WaterMondays are usually a low-key day for the Godzwa family. The day after ministry is usually reserved for catching up on household items or replying to correspondence. I had a post planned about the evangelism seminars that we have been leading. But a telephone call from Paul, our mentor missionary here in Mérida, broke the routine. “Dave,” he said, “the situation in Tabasco has gotten out of hand…” The situation he was talking about was the flood that Mexican President Felipe Calderon now calls Mexico’s worst recent natural disaster.

If you have not had the opportunity to see the images of the Mexican state of Tabasco that CNN has been broadcasting, please understand that the inhabitants of this area, which is located about 300 miles from our current location in Mérida, are dealing with a true disaster. Due to unseasonable heavy and continual rain, several rivers have flooded their banks inundating businesses, homes, schools, and churches. News reports put up to 80% of this low-lying state currently underwater. Calls to church leaders in this district have returned reports of lower lying areas completely underwater, of many homes and churches with more than five feet of water in them, and of flooding so high that even people who live on the second floor of a building have found shelter elsewhere because there is no access to their homes.

So to one side moved the household chores and unanswered went the correspondence for one more day so that I could hit the phones to see what I could do to lend a hand to the relief effort being planned here in the Yucatan.

The situation in Tabasco is being described as the Katrina of Mexico. The center-city of Villahermosa is a complete disaster and as a result, those who have been forced to stay behind have nothing. The residents of Tabasco need drinkable water, powdered milk, towels, diapers, canned food, and lots of other basic items. The people of Yucatan are changing their plans to pitch in. Instead of buying food for their family, they’re buying supplies to donate as schools churches and government buildings have opened their doors to accept donations.

Specifically, the church leaders of Tabasco have asked for medical personal with medicines and vitamins to come and offer care. This is extremely important as the floodwaters begin to recede and diseases resulting from contaminated drinking water and inadequate services begin to appear. To respond to this request, God is calling on still others to change their plans. A relief corps of Christian doctors and nurses from Mérida are organizing now to travel in order to provide first-hand relief and the peace of God to those caught in the middle of this crisis. All of these health professionals are sacrificing family-time and their personal goals as they prioritize the needs of their countrymen.

I’m happy to report that my change of plans brought about some tangible results, but a need this great calls out for so much more to be done.

How about you? Do you feel God leading you to be a part of the relief effort?

Comment or email us and we’d be glad to help you with your change of plans.

Photos courtesy of: http://www.flickr.com/photos/kubricka/

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4 comments

  1. Kelly’s avatar

    The kids brought home information concerning the needs in Tabasco today. After discussing the situation and needs at the dinner table, we found out what was on our kids’ minds. Rebekah wants to help in the way of clothing. Joseph wants to dive into the houses that are submerged to rescue people, and Jonathan is concerned about the babies and wants to make sure they have enough milk. (We did explain to Joseph that his idea, although valiant, was not the realm of possibilities . . .) During a crisis such as this, I’m glad to see our kids stepping up to the plate.
    Kelly

  2. Tona’s avatar

    I’m so glad to hear you guys are able to help. My dad, grandparents and most of my extended family live in Villahermosa. Fortunately my grandparent’s house and my dad’s ranch were spared flooding, but my uncle’s church is severely flooded. They’re all kind of stuck without access to food and water, but praise God they are safe. God will provide what they need. Corey and I, along with a large network of prayer warriors are heavy in prayer for Villahermosa and all of Tabasco and Chiapas.
    ~Tona

  3. Dan V’s avatar

    Wow. I just ran a story on AG News about the flooding in Tabasco. I would like to recommend that you consider advising people to perhaps give through the Convoy of Hope (www.ConvoyofHope.org). The reason I believe this would be more effective is that through the organization’s connections, for every $1 given, they get $5 to $8 worth of relief supplies. In other words, you might be able to buy 100 gallons of drinking water for the money you give, where Convoy of Hope could supply 500 to 800 gallons of drinking water with the same gift. Anyway, I know they are actively working with partner organizations in the area. However, I think the harsh reality is that until the water subsides somewhat, access to many people will be near impossible…meaning the need will be desperate by the time help can arrive. Well, if you need to contact Convoy of Hope in person to make a connection (learn how to coordinate efforts with them perhaps), contact info is on their Web site or you could just call them (417-823-8998).
    Dan

  4. Dave’s avatar

    Tona,

    I had no idea that your family lived in Villa. If you can send us an address we might be able to get them some necessities. If you are in contact, let us know where we might reach them.

    Dan,

    Thanks for opening up the forum for suggestions. Let me tell you what I know so far.

    Paul and Sandy Kazim, our fellow missionaries here in Mérida, are planning a trip to bring medical care and supplies to Tabasco. We’ll be leaving on the 19th with them to take a team of doctors and nurses along with all of the supplies that we can fit into three vehicles. If you’d like to support this trip, you can take a look at the information on http://www.mexicoag.org

    Convoy of Hope is receiving a shipment of dry goods in Veracruz, bound for Tabasco in the coming days. As well, they will be coordinating with the group from that will be traveling from Mérida in order to distribute the items that have been shipped. So if you would like to help in that way you can make a contribution the the Convoy of Hope’s International Disaster Response Fund at http://www.convoyofhope.com

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