Ecuador's Cotopaxi Erupts; Locals Pray for Miracle
Ecuadorans are on edge as an active volcano known as Cotopaxi begins to erupt. While thousands of people face danger, Christians are praying for divine intervention.
Cotopaxi is one of the most dangerous volcanos in the world. Part of the Pacific Ring of Fire, it's located just 30 miles south of Quito, Ecuador.
The volcano has erupted more than 50 times in the past 300 years. Because it is active, people living nearby are under constant threat, with 80 percent of churches in the path of possible destruction.
Pastor Felipe Quispe and his wife, Teresa Bastidas, are packing away musical instruments used by their church praise band. They started the Breath of Life Christian Center 35 years ago, and now they're forced to evacuate.
"As a human I'm pained, yes, after all the efforts that have been made because the truth here -- we've had tithes, offerings, and we've had no outside help at all," Bastidas said.
Pastor Quispe and his 300 church members are trusting God to keep them safe.
"We know that God will free us from the risk of death; He will care for us," he said.
CBN News travelled around the outskirts of the volcano and found evidence left behind many years ago.
We visited Chilintosa, a rock dating back to the 19th century -- the last time Cotopaxi erupted. The huge bolder attracts both locals and foreigners.
"I've come with my children and grandkids to show them what it really means to be at the edge of the Cotopaxi," tourist Segundo Olmos told CBN News.
Despite evidence of past destruction, many residents still refuse to leave their homes.
"I am not afraid because there are many gaps where the lava can go," local resident Alfonso Bastidas said.
Others, however, are packing up their belongings.
"Since I heard about the Cotopaxi, I have been concerned for my family, my husband and daughter," said one evacuee named Maria.
While some people have left the city of Latacunga, many Christians remain. They have launched a prayer campaign called, "I Pray for My City."
"We call for the Church to wake up and hold prayer in Cotopaxi, in Latacunga, and in the whole country, as well as people in other areas not directly affected to help us pray too," Latacunga Pastor Isaias Tapia said.
Despite their fear, some local citizens attended a recent rally to pray for God's protection.
"We're praying for God to have mercy on our city and province," attendee Pablo Herrera said.
"Nothing is impossible for God," rally Mauyuri Pozo said.
Cotopaxi Christians are trusting God for a miracle. They say they will hold more rallies and pray until the volcano becomes dormant.