On June 5, the skies were dressed in gray in some cities of Argentina and Chile. The Chilean Volcano “Puyehue”, located near the border of Argentina, erupted spreading volcanic ash and affecting the nearest towns, including Villa La Angostura, Bariloche, Junín de Los Andes, San Martín de los Andes, Trelew, Osorno, Puerto Varas and Rucatayo Alto. Most of these places are now isolated as air and road transportation was interrupted due to the eruption. The ash cloud also affects areas farther away, such as Buenos Aires, so that several international flights from Argentina’s capital had to be cancelled. Currently, volcanic activity has decreased, so the populations of the most affected cities are starting to leave their homes to begin cleaning the cities. However, the authorities remain on maximum alert and local governments are developing precautionary measures: they recommend not driving on the highways and roads, administrative activities, schools and flights remain suspended, and there are no electricity services in several cities. Today, the main fear is the possibility of an earthquake. One of the pioneer ministries of YWAM Argentina is located in one of the most affected cities, San Carlos de Bariloche. Its volunteers did not wish to stay enclosed in their center – they went out to be light in the darkness! For this YWAM location, the work began on June 6 when the ash rain stopped and it was safe to go outside. The first thing they did was assist people in downtown Bariloche (the most affected area) to clean their houses, especially the elderly. One of the YWAM volunteers, Graciela, made contact with the local municipality and offered to cooperate together with them in all tasks that required volunteer labor. The YWAM center is located on a farm on the outskirts of the city, with 13 staff and a team from Colombia composed of seven others. The ash rain reached them, but not as badly as in the center of the city. So far, none of them has any health problems.
As in other affected areas, electricity is not working and telecommunications are experiencing interference. Drinking water is still flowing, but there are concerns because the ash combined with rain, is contaminating the water. Although the situation is under control, they are taking the necessary precautions.
In the midst of these difficulties and fear, this YWAM team is working to be light in the city. They ask your prayers that, through their testimonies of love and service, many others will come to know God.