So, last week when I wrote about the boating accident, everything was still so new and we didn't really know very much. Since then, so much has happened and I have shed lots of tears with many dear people. Last Sunday, the 29th, the Navy did a dive into the boat and was able to recover 3 bodies. Two were from our community of Lucinda and the other one was from Rio Coco (the community at the end of the road about 25 mins past the hospital). They were brought by road from the nearest port directly to the cemetery, arriving about 10:20pm. After much grieving for about an hour, they were laid in their above ground graves and topped with cement. All ended about 1:30am. It was a very sad, very exhausting couple of days as we waited with the families for any news of life or death. Many people didn't sleep from Wednesday until Monday of the next week. Many people stopped eating. Many didn't want to do anything.
Yesterday they did one final dive to see if they could recover any more bodies to give these families closure. They were able to recover 3 more bodies and found 2 more that they were not able to bring up for a total of 5 found yesterday. So, all the 8 people that were missing have all been found. One of them was also one of the 5 missing from Lucinda. He was brought right to the cemetery and buried about 12 midnight last night.
The hope of the families has been crushed. Many hoped that their loved one had escaped alive. Many hear the horror stories from the survivors of how their loved ones seemed to be screaming for help in their last minutes of life. But, despite all the tragedy, despair, and hopelessness, they are seeing hope. They are seeing love. They are living one day at a time.
I don't think that it's coincidence that just about a month before they left and died, that we had started having church services at our friend Elias' house. He had welcomed us with open arms and was so excited to host us in his house. He was excited to use his house to glorify God and to have opportunities to invite his family and His wife's family to join. This is a community where there is no current church, so we have been able to come in in the midst of this tragedy after already having been established for a couple of weeks and meet people in their despair.
The hospital has started a Fisherman Family fund to help the families of those who lost their loved ones in this tragic accident. Any funds donated will go directly to the families for food and building projects to make the homes they live in safe. (Most of these young men were sole providers for their families, so with them gone, it is going to be really hard financially) Many of them went to sea to make money for a specific project...providing for schooling for their child, finishing their house, buying property to start building a home, etc.
If you're interested in sending donations to help these families please send it to:
Global Outreach International
P.O. Box 1
Tupelo, MS 38802
In the memo line please make sure to write "Pirkle Fishermen's Family Fund" The Pirkles are another missionary family here at Loma de Luz who will continue to make sure the money goes directly to the families.