Greetings all,

I can’t begin to explain in this short email what the last 4 days have been like. First of all just to let you know that our foreign missionaries including myself were evacuated by military Hercules yesterday to a city to the south. Friday evening our time at about 6:00 an earthquake of the magnitude of 7.7 hit the city here where I was working.

I was driving to our boys dorm when it happened and the car felt like it was going out of control. I returned immediately to the mission home where I was staying to find out that all power was out. Our mission home was still standing but outside, the fences were all flattened, and the house is no longer safe or livable. Many houses, hotels, and other buildings have been flattened. There is no electric, no fuel available, and food is now becoming unavailable, too. Of course, no way to get money either as the economy in town has completely collapsed.

The next day we tried to account for our whole team of missionaries, national coworkers, and all our school children in town. Praise the Lord we are all safe – it is a miracle that none of us were killed as we were all scattered about when this happened. We are now working on evacuation of our school children and national coworkers. MAF, NTMA, & Helivida, all missionary aviation services, are there to begin evacs today to get them out. Please pray that this can go smoothly as there is a mob mentality there now and planes that land are being stormed as people fight to get on to get out of town. We are meeting here in about an hour for beginning of debriefs with our team. The situation on the ground there changes by the hour so it is hard to plan and anticipate.

Another earthquake of 5.3 hit again last night in the middle of the night – there have been over 100 aftershocks and they continue. We will appreciate your prayers as this is the worst disaster we have ever been through – we need the Lord’s wisdom and as for His protection on all our people and that they will get out safely. Your prayers are definitely appreciated. Thanks so much!!

May the Lord guide, help, and protect,

Ed Casteel