APRIL 12, 2019
Two powerful earthquakes struck Guatemala and Mexico in 2017. In December 2018, our brothers completed their vast relief efforts in the region.
The Central America branch began the relief work by organizing several meetings to encourage the brothers and sisters affected by the disasters. These meetings were held in the states of Chiapas, Morelos, Oaxaca, and Puebla, as well as in Mexico City. A total of 39 Disaster Relief Committees worked under the direction of the Branch Committee to organize the rebuilding work.
In Mexico, over 42,000 publishers from ten different states volunteered to assist with the relief efforts. The brothers and sisters rebuilt 619 homes, 5 Kingdom Halls, and 2 Assembly Halls. They also repaired another 502 homes and 53 Kingdom Halls. In Guatemala, an additional ten homes were rebuilt.
Among the Witnesses who received assistance were the Hernández and Santiago families.
The Hernández family lives in the city of Chalco, just 40 kilometers (25 mi) outside of Mexico City. The earthquake that struck on September 19, 2017, damaged their home beyond repair. Sister Ana María Hernández explains: “Throughout this ordeal, we never lacked a single thing. Our brothers took very good care of us. I still remember the site where our house formerly stood, with 50 or more volunteers working to build our new home. To this day, our neighbors are amazed at what our brothers did for us.” In addition to this practical assistance, a representative of the Central America branch visited the Hernández family and provided Bible-based encouragement.
The Santiago family, who lives in the city of Juchitán in the state of Oaxaca, was affected by the earthquake that struck on September 7, 2017. The damage to their home rendered it uninhabitable. However, in less than six months, relief workers built them a new home. The father of the family, Brother Victor Santiago, states: “I was so impressed by how quickly Jehovah’s organization provided us with support. I saw that Jehovah had everything under control.”
Brother Jesse Pérez, a member of the Central America Branch Committee, comments: “The destruction caused by the two earthquakes was widespread. However, the long-term relief work that followed provided an opportunity for brothers and sisters to show their volunteer spirit. Numerous publishers assisted, demonstrating their brotherly love. We rejoice that Jehovah blessed this ‘relief ministry.’”—2 Corinthians 8:1-4.