Tzu Chi begins rebuild project after earthquake in Ecuador
On March 10, in Ecuador, Volunteers of Taiwan Buddhist Tzu Chi Foundation held a groundbreaking ceremony in Canoa for the reconstruction of a church destroyed in the earthquake last year. Archbishop Monsignor Lorenzo was in attendance to bless the event held and thanks to the efforts of Tzu Chi and local residents, a wonderful celebration was brought to fruition.
Under the bright sun, nearly 500 Canoa residents and special guests are attending the groundbreaking ceremony for church reconstruction. That means the beginning of Tzu Chi’s long-term project in Ecuador.
Rosanna Cevallos, San Vicente’s mayor, shared that: "We never lost our faith nor hope, from the bottom of our hearts, we thank Tzu Chi. We also must thank God for giving us the opportunity to gather together like this. The most important thing is we must recognize that without Tzu Chi's assistance, we would have never been able to rebuild the church this quickly."
Manabi Province’s Archbishop Monsignor Lorenzo led the crowd in a prayer uniting western and eastern religions to bless this land. Monsignor Lorenzo, Manabi Province’s presiding Archbishop, said that: "Tzu Chi volunteers told us they hoped to rebuild our religious center as they believe the path to rebuilding the community begins with spiritual healing which can aid an individual or a family's recovery. Only in helping one another, can we spread happiness throughout the world."
Helena Hung, Argentina Tzu Chi volunteer, shared that: "In building a church here, it’s not only a Catholic church, but a symbol of Great Love and helping each other despite religious differences."
Martin Kuo, US Tzu Chi volunteer, mentioned that: "They once saw us as a Buddhist emergency response crew to now becoming a group of volunteers who are doing this out of our hearts and without asking for returns. We have been accepted as one of their own. Here we're no longer Buddhist people, but we're family. This is what truly moves me."
"The residents have seen our presence here since last year. They chant long live Tzu Chi because they want to feel this peace and security within their hearts." Said by Debbie Chen, US Tzu Chi volunteer.
Anita Alvarado, Canoa resident, said happily: "I want to thank Master Cheng Yen, though I know she's not here today, we know in our hearts that she cares for us and has kept us in her mind. In this beautiful moment, we must thank her for all she has done for us, and though we may never meet in person, she will always remain in our hearts."
The rebuilding of the church in Canoa a year after the earthquake has also helped local residents rebuild their confidence in the following days.
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