SEATTLE — Enio Aguero had never been to Oso, Wash., before late last month. But he recognized the faces.
“Faces of hopelessness, trying to find out why or how this could happen,” said the 53-year-old chaplain from Northern Virginia, a veteran of disaster relief in Moore, Okla., where a tornado last May obliterated entire subdivisions and killed 24 people.
“When a disaster like this happens, it touches the deepest part of our being. At one minute, there was everything; a minute later, there was nothing,” said Aguero, a chaplain coordinator for Southern Baptist Disaster Relief. “There’s no way we can make sense of this, except that God is in control.”
People of faith, ministers and chaplains have responded to the deadly March 22 mudslide as a calling. They’re on the ground in Oso, Darrington and Arlington, Wash., trying to help shocked survivors pick up and go on. The transition from overwhelming loss to healing will be slow and difficult, they say.
“I’ve been ordained 38 years, so I’ve seen a lot, but I’ve never been a part of something this dramatic and all-encompassing,” said the Rev. Tim Sauer, pastor at the Immaculate Conception Catholic Church in Arlington and St. John Vianney in Darrington.
“There is a heightened sense of numbness, at least initially. It’s been two weeks now, so the realities are starting to kick in.”