Memories fresh 32 years later

November 08, 2017 at 6:00 AM

earthquake.jpgA man looks at the remains of his home after an earthquake in Jojutla de Juarez, Mexico, on September 21.  Photo by REUTERS/Edgard Garrido.

(Editor’s note: Dr. Jose Luis Guerrero is the Luke Society regional coordinator for Central America and the Caribbean. He also serves as the director of Vida en Abundancia de Mexico in Jalapa.) 

Memories fresh 32 years later

By Dr. Jose Luis Guerrero

Thirty two years ago in 1985 I was a young doctor studying his residence in family medicine in “General Hospital Benito Juárez” in Mexico City. On Sept. 19th at 7:19 a.m., the city was hit with the worst earthquake in its history.

Thousands died in just one minute.

My beloved “Hospital Juárez” collapsed completely, burying hundreds of doctors, nurses and patients.

God in His infinite mercy, had arranged I was on vacation that week and saved me from an almost certain death.

Exactly 32 years later on Sept. 19,  I was driving on a road from Metapan to San Salvador in the Republic of El Salvador, accompanying Dr. Wrede Vogel and Dr. Greg Kuiper in my role of Regional Coordinator to Central America and the Caribbean of the Luke Society International. I received through a Whatsapp message on my cell phone that in an incredible coincidence that same day, Mexico City had been hit by another terrible earthquake.

At that hour there were already hundreds of dead and dozens of buildings and houses had collapsed.

The first images I saw on social networks seemed to have been taken 32 years ago. They were identical to those that were still in my memory from 1985. I couldn’t believe it.

Immediately, I called home to ask about my family living in Mexico City and people of other areas of Mexico. I learned that everyone in the family and ministry were health and safe.

My heart flew immediately to Mexico, but I would have liked to fly in body too and join my hands to thousands of hands that in that hour were looking for lives among the rubble. My duty in that moment was in El Salvador.

A couple of hours later, Dr. Vogel told me with a great heart, “If you wish, you can go back immediately to Mexico.”

But in that moment, God brought peace to my heart and I learned that even while I was occupied in the issues of His Kingdom thousands of miles from my family and people, He will take care of them. Trusting in that truth, I decided stay there.

A couple of weeks later God allowed me to go to a one of the most harmed cities called Jojutla in the State of Morelos – about 100 kms from Mexico City. I was able to bring help and comfort to some of my compatriots.

Those moments in El Salvador were tough moments to me, but once again it confirmed the call and faithfulness God expressed in His Word in Isaiah 41:9-10

I took you from the ends of the earth, from its farthest corners I called you. I said, ‘You are my servant; I have chosen you and have not rejected you. So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.”


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