By John H ParK
Yesterday I had a problem with my e-mail, and it did not go out, so I am resending it today in a separate message.
Even after living through two weeks of Mitch and its aftermath and seeing all the horror and misery, nothing has brought it all home to me as has the news which I received yesterday afternoon. One of my former parishioners, a young man whom I had trained as an acolyte, whom I had sent to our Technical Institute in Tegucigalpa, and for whom I had often been a surrogate father, was making his first voyage as a crewman aboard the 4-masted tourist schooner Phantome, which was lost during the hurricane with all the crew aboard. I had known of the loss of the ship and crew, but I had not known that Jesus was one of the crew. Suddenly the tragedy that the people around me have been living became mine as well. Jesus leaves behind a wife and two young children.
We have still not been able to communicate fully with our churches in El Paraiso. We know that all of our clergy and lay pastors have survived, but we also know that some of our parishioners have had damaged homes and ruined crops. Beyond Ojo de Agua roads and bridges are washed out so that we cannot get accurate reports on the damages.
The former diocesan office in Comayaguela, the twin city of Tegucigalpa, which most recently has been the office of the El Paraiso Deanery, was flooded up to the second floor. We already knew that everything in the building was ruined, including all of Fr Roger Hurtubise's personal goods.
It is in the area of Comayaguela that is still flooded by the dam which the Choluteca River formed against one of the bridges, so we have still been unable to enter the building. We have been informed, however, that only the front and rear walls of the bulding are still standing and that the end walls are huge holes. It seems that the building itself is a total loss.
In Tegucigalpa people are beginning to return to their homes, which is not necessarily a good idea. Many of these homes are in unstable area, and more mudslides could occur. Pray that they be kept safe.
In San Pedro Sula we have been packing and distributing food to those who need it. We buy the food in bulk and then put it in smaller bags. We then make up family-sized food packages to deliver. Each bag contains 5 lbs rice, 5 lbs red beans, 4 lbs corn flour, 1 lb coffee, 5 lbs sugar, 1 lb spaghetti, 1 can tomato paste, 5 lbs flour, 1 lb shortening, 1 pkg baking powder, 1 pkg salt and 1 bar of soap.
We are helping to feed thousands of people, and we need your help.
Please see the Diocese of Honduras' disaster web site at http://www.episcopalian.org/honduras/.
The Episcopal Diocese of Honduras is accepting monetary donations via the South American Missionary Society of the Episcopal Church (SAMS, PO Box 399, Ambridge PA 15003). Checks should be marked "Honduras Relief".
Donations can also be made to the Diocese of Honduras via SAMS using MasterCard or Visa at the following web site: http://mall.pacific-coast.com/cornerstone/honduras.tpl
Canadians may send cheques to SAMS-Canada, P.O. Box 21082, Barrie, Ontario L4M 6J1. Checks should be made out to: SAMS-Canada and marked: "Hurricane Relief - Bishop Frade" or "Hurricane Relief - Roger Hurtubise".
In the United Kingdom please send contributions to: Amos trust, All Hallows on the Wall, 83 London Wall, London EC2M 5ND. Please mark your cheques for "Honduran Relief."
Donations of material may be shipped to:
Please fax a detailed list of the donation so that we can obtain authorization to release the shipment from customs to 011-504-556-6467.
The following items are considered to be relief priority and will enter duty free:
El Venerable John H. Park