|   Posted: March 01, 2021

James and his family lost everything when a landslide filled their house with mud.

Rising from the Rubble

James and his family lost everything when a landslide filled their house with mud.

Three smiling boys gathered in window looking out

In the remote community of Olmedo, in Ecuador’s southern mountain range, the winter is fierce. Intense storms carry large amounts of water accompanied by strong winds and thunderous lightning.

This year, the storm season was even more devastating than usual, causing landslides and floods throughout the community.

One afternoon, six-year-old James and his family were getting ready to have dinner when they heard rain hitting the weakened roof of their house. Little by little, the sound grew louder.

Suddenly, James’s father noticed that water was pouring into the house from under the door.

“Everything happened very fast. The house started shaking; we felt like a lot of mud was coming in from all sides,” says Fernando, James’s brother.

An avalanche of mud and water came down the slope, carrying everything in its path. James and his family didn't have time to remove their few belongings. The avalanche of mud quickly covered everything as the frightened family ran from their house, seeking refuge in their grandparents’ home.

“I was terrified because the mountain was falling on us. The kitchen and the beds were under the mud,” says James.

The following day, the panorama was bleak.

Boy kneeling beside a chare in front of a fire

James’s family was homeless.

Paola, his mother, was crying. She takes care of her young children. And the youngest, Mateo, has cerebral palsy and needs constant attention. James’s father Manuel works in the fields all day, earning only enough to survive one day at a time. How would they rebuild their lives?

A few days after the tragic event, Pastor Byron and his church team from the local Compassion center visited the family and realized their great need. The family was struggling physically but also emotionally since the children were feeling sad and hopeless.

Three boys kneeling on the ground close to gether in front of a fire
Three boys posing with two goats
“The situation of this family was critical. They had nothing, and we couldn’t allow the children to sleep on the floor any longer,” says Pastor Byron.

The local church, supported by Compassion Ecuador, provided mattresses, bedspreads, clothes, shoes, pots, dishes, drawers, tables, food and funds to rebuild their home. Members of the church team rallied together to hand out supplies and provide emotional and spiritual support, caring for and protecting all the family members.

“I’m happy because my brothers and I finally have a mattress to sleep on,” James says.

Currently, James, Fernando and Leonel are doing very well. Compassion provides them with food every month. They all receive spiritual guidance and support from the church.

These brave children are full of energy and dreams. Despite living in poverty, they make an effort every day, studying, taking care of their animals and helping at home. They demonstrate that, even though situations can be complicated and may feel as if a mountain is coming down on us, the light of Christ is with us and never leaves us alone.

Help Compassion staff across the globe provide additional care during disasters by giving today.