I want to thank everyone for their prayers for my trip to Croatia to help with earthquake relief. It’s a disaster, and they need our prayers and help.
I got a message from pastor Zoltán, my Baptist partner in Serbia. He said Hungarian Baptist Aid was organizing a trip to Croatia to take relief supplies to the earthquake victims. Would I like to go?
The arrangements were made, the necessary documents printed for us to cross the border.
I met Zoltán in a small town outside of Budapest, called Bicske. His daughter lives there, and she cooked us dinner. They had an opportunity to visit.
We left the next morning and met our friends and colleagues at HBA Logistics Center. We loaded supplies, talked about safety, and circled around for prayer.
We drove to Croatia, me, Zoltán and two young guys from his church in his van and the HBA guys in another van. It was dark when we arrived, but you could see evidence of the destruction.
We spent night in Grabovac Banski, a small village about 30 km south of the capital city, Zagreb. We stayed in a guest house provided by a local farmer. The area that was the epicenter of the quake is mostly dairy farms.
Over the next 4 days, we distributed necessities: hygiene products, simple tools, and food. And we gave people an opportunity to share their feelings/stories. It was heartbreaking. The quake had been two weeks before, but many people were still in shock.
In some places it looked as if a tornado had gone through. There was major damage. Homes and buildings had been turned upside down. Like in so many disasters, the poor and the old seem to suffer the most. The older the home, the less likely it would survived the quake.
We had an opportunity to work on a house that will be home to three families through the winter. The government had come through and inspected, labeling houses with color-coded stickers: green—stable enough to repair, red—condemned. In some places, the government brought in portable housing units; in other places, families were trying to repair the salvable homes and live together.
While we were there, a report on TV said 30,000 homes had been damaged, 13,000+ inspected, 5,000+ condemned. These numbers will continue to grow.
Pray for the people who’ve lost everything and don’t understand why. Because like in a tornado, one house was destroyed and one next to it only had minor damage.
Pray for those who lost loved ones.
Pray for those that are trying to assist and share aid.
And pray that God provides other opportunities for me to return.