Church News reporter Jason Swensen covered the 2007 earthquake in Peru and recently visited the city of Pisco to talk to Latter-day Saints for their stories of rebuilt homes and spirits. His story appears in the Church News.
A significant rebuilding effort by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has returned a renewed sense of security for people in Peru.
Former Church branch president Wenceslao Conde has Wednesday, 15 August 2007, etched in his mind for two events. Conde had just returned home from his mother's funeral when the second event occurred, an 8.0 earthquake. It shook and brought down thousands of homes and buildings upon the residents of Pisco and in many other cities.
Pisco, located 160 miles southeast of Lima, was about 80% destroyed, and as many as 430 residents died there.
The Church not only responded immediately after the earthquake by delivering aid and relief but embarked on a major rebuilding project to help Peruvians realize home ownership again in structures more prepared for seismic activity. To date, nearly 350 homes have been completed with Church-provided materials and expertise.
The Conde family now lives in a modest two-level house constructed as part of the Church's home-rebuilding program.
"I feel so much gratitude to be able to live in a home such as this," he said, pointing to the many columns that support his roof and walls. "I have learned to have confidence in the Lord."