Real Men Standing Firm in Devastation – Please Pray!
The following messages are from our dear friends, Mike and Pam Richardson, missionaries in Mexico. Their area has been devastated by Hurricane Alex, some dear brethren losing their entire source of support, their orchards. We thought you’d want to be praying for them and would also enjoy hearing about how Mike’s sons have stepped up to the plate and are doing men’s work in this crisis.
Thank you so much for praying!!
Hal and Melanie (comments in italics are ours)
Hurricane Alex Report
When we started hearing about Hurricane Alex, on Wednesday, I was not concerned. I was up in the mountains and felt safe. Samuel was flying out of Monterrey on Thurs. and Mike decided to leave on Wed. night in case the roads were bad. Sometimes when it rains, it is hard to get through the mud. Little did he imagine that on Thurs. the roads would be washed away, along with many orchards…
Pray for [Mike] as he meets with officials to get things moving out here in the valley. One person told me the people here were the “olvidados” before we came. That is the forgotten ones. I told her you were never forgotten by God. One precious couple who lost their entire orchard reminded me that it was God who met her needs not the orchard. What a wonderful reminder that God is good and HE does care for our needs..
In our lives tragedy often runs along side great joy. There is so much to be thankful for.
Please remember the people here.That they will see the goodness of God in the land of the living.
Pam, July 4
This morning, I corresponded with Mike and he sent us the update below. He also told me that they are in desperate need of a four wheel ATV – the roads are completely impassable for nearly 14 miles that must be cleared. He also said that their generator has stopped working and it is too cloudy for the solar panels to work – they have no other sources of electricity.
Many of you already know that Hurricane Alex came through northern Mexico where we live. I wanted to share an update on our current situation.
I was in Santa Catarina (near Monterrey) when hurricane Alex hit. I witnessed firsthand the devastating effects of the water’s powerful grip in that area. But Hurricane Alex did not only have an overwhelming effect in Monterrey it also reached its powerful hand into many of the outlaying areas of Arteaga-the ranchos and villages.
Here are a few pictures from Monterrey.
While we do not live in Monterrey, I was there and these pictures will help you get a better overview of the destructive force of the hurricane.
Pam and six of our children were isolated when the roads were damaged in the fairly remote area of Arteaga where we live. She wrote, “I went to sleep on Wednesday night and slept well. I was aware of the rain, but it seemed nothing major. I woke up to a roaring sound. I thought it was wind, but I looked out and the trees were not moving. It sounded like a big roaring river. It WAS a roaring river. We are high up in the mountains. The water was rushing down the mountain and the low spots were filled with very rapidly moving water. The destruction was shocking. Whole orchards were swept away. It is hard to tell where the road used to be. There were many rock slides and mud slides. There is no way to get out either direction.”
While Pam and children are cut off in the valley that runs from San Juan de los Dolores to Baratillo and then on to El Alto, there are many other areas with similar devastation. Arteaga is putting all its available resources and efforts into the opening up access to this valley. Pam and twenty-five other families have been isolated since last Thursday.
I have been meeting with the Presidente, the director of Public Works as well as other state and local officials. We are trying to get machinery into the valley in order to open up access to the valley. The Lord has been opening doors for me to help the public officials with their planning. I have been able to help them document the damage to the roads, orchards, houses as well as delivering food to the people who are cut-off by packing it in on donkeys. It has been my pleasure to offer my services to them-helping in any way possible.
After finally getting out of Monterrey, we put together enough food to last the people three days. I drove the food in as far as possible and then with the help of neighbors, we delivered it by donkey to all the families in the valley.
Three days later, we were able to quickly pull together enough food to distribute to the families who unable to get in or out. I was also able to have a short meeting with the Presidente Municipal. He told me that he would be in San Juan late this afternoon and would see me there. Upon arriving in the valley, I left Isaac in charge of making the food distribution. After a short wait the Presidente and the state Public Works official came to San Juan. He had a brief meeting on the side of the road with about 25 of the local men. The Presidente then turned to me and said, “Mike let’s ride to the next valley over and look at it. I would like to hear your opinion about the situation.” After seeing situation the Presidente has agreed to send tractors to both ends of the valley to begin the digging out process.
It has continued to rain so the damage has gotten worse but all the people are safe. Isaac, our 14 year old son, has been with me the last two days and has proven himself a man who is up to the task set before him. Today Isaac stayed in the valley to help while Joshua, 12, went with me to check on the machinery and meet with the Presidente.
This is the road into Baratillo, not a stream bed!
I was able to get through to the next valley and visit Marcelo. He and a few other men had shovels and were trying to clear a small path through what used to be the road. A rear leaf spring on the van broke into two pieces. Since this is the only vehicle from our valley that is not stranded by the washed out roads, I spent three hours at the shop getting it replaced. When I arrived in the mountains the promised tractor had not arrived. Then it rained all afternoon, causing more damage.
Not much road left…
I was asked today to travel through the valley again-this time to review the damage to the orchards and take additional pictures so that the Presidencia can document the damage in the farming communities.
After nearly week of meeting and checking on others, I was finally able to make my way to my house and spent the night. While it was nice to be home, I will be heading out the following morning to continue working on getting some normalcy back to our valley.
Our valley can be reached from both ends. The government sent equipment to the far end yesterday. They are going through the valley “opening” the road. “Opening” means clearing enough debris and filling in enough holes to make the road barely passable. They have the road open to Don Santos house now. I drove down that way today. I had to stop for about an hour while a lot of us guys helped free a truck that had gotten stuck on the “barely passable” road. When the tractor got to the worst area in our canyon they left and decided they should go work in another canyon that was not as bad as ours. The tractor began work this morning on the San Juan end of the valley.
In addition to praying for the isolated families and the Richardsons please be in prayer for our upcoming conference. It is scheduled to take place in less than five weeks.
Mike wrote yesterday that over 1350 apple trees have been washed away in the half of the valley they have surveyed. The folks of the Baratillo area depend on the apple orchards for their living.
Several people have asked what kind of help we need. Prayer is our biggest need right now.
Mike and Pam: That God would use their lives to be a light in the dark world.
Our elected officials: That they will be able to coordinate relief efforts.
Isaac: That God would use him in mighty ways during these uncertain times.
Josue: That he will be able to shoulder the responsibility of being the “man of the house” in the days to come.
The Church at Baratillo: That the members will be encouraged in the Lord.
The stranded families: That they will have sufficient food and that God would use these struggles to draw them to the Lord.
Beyond prayer there is much else that can be done right now by those living outside the area. The government is covering the cost of opening the roads and we have sufficient resources in hand to get the food to the people for the next couple of weeks. However, once the roads are open then we will begin the restoration process. I am unable to give you an estimate of the cost but I can say that without doubt it will be very high and that there will be great need.
Thank you for your continued prayers. I will try and keep you informed.
If you would like to contact us, Mike can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org and Pam at email@example.com.
Mail from the USA can be sent to our US mailing address:
Mike & Pam Richardson
1001 S 10th St., G-529
McAllen, TX 78501
Mail from Mexico can be sent to:
Mike & Pam Richardson
Saltillo, Coahuila 25000
We have known Mike and Pam for 12 years and have seen their faithfulness in ministry to the church of Baratillo and to the homeschoolers of Mexico, as well as Spanish-speaking homeschoolers worldwide as the publishers of El Hogar Educador. We hope and pray that you will pray for them and the people of their valley and help in any way you are able.