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Mill City Church Acapulco's Hurricane Otis Aftermath

Standing with Acapulco’s Afflicted in Hurricane Otis Aftermath

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“What do we do first? Do we first get a little group up for our church and get them together and pray, or do we first help rebuild homes one after another or buy mattresses? The needs are overwhelming.” – Laura Ruiz

In the early hours of a Wednesday morning, Hurricane Otis unleashed its wrath on the western coast of Mexico, its ferocious winds tearing through the heart of Acapulco. The Hurricane Otis aftermath was devastating with meteorological instruments near Acapulco Bay clocked an astonishing wind gust of 205 mph, ranking Hurricane Otis among the most powerful storms ever recorded on Earth​1​​2​​3​​4​. The catastrophe left behind a trail of destruction and an urgent call for solidarity and action.

The Ruiz family, our missionaries in Tixtla Guerrero, are about an hour from the epicenter of Hurricane Otis’ wrath in Acapulco, Mexico. Their dedicated ministry at ‘Iglesia Cristiana Bautista ‘La Gracia” and their outreach in Acapulco places them in a critical role to channel immediate relief and spearhead the long-term recovery efforts following this natural calamity.

Laura Ruiz highlights the contrasting reality of life amid such turmoil. While the loss is incomprehensible, the absence of fatalities among our mission community is a glimmer of hope.

Can you describe the initial impact of Hurricane Otis on the community in Acapulco, particularly around the area where your mission is located?

Laura: “The whole neighborhood where we have the mission there is literally destroyed. Anybody who didn’t have a house made of cement and a roof of cement lost everything. Everything was lost, everything.”

What was the extent of damage among the families affiliated with your mission?

Laura: “Our church there has basically eight faithful families and six of those have nothing left because their homes were made of basically boards for the walls and the tin roof. Everything blew away. Additionally, the mattresses were completely destroyed because of being soaking wet.”

How have the people been coping with the loss, especially given their limited resources?

Laura: (Many of the residents in that area) “were able to retrieve possessions off the mountainside, like chairs and tables. Some of them have taken the tin roofs that were salvageable and made themselves little shacks in the meantime, and they’re cooking with campfires.”

In the aftermath, can you briefly discuss the challenges around necessities like food, water, and shelter?

Laura: “Everybody’s totally without food because all of the stores were completely raided, but there is food from the government coming in. There’s also water purifier from the government, but the lines are just, oh, you could not imagine the lines…in that way, they’re good there.”

Could you share more about the Churches’ mission’s physical infrastructure post-Hurricane Otis?

Laura: “The little mission we do have. It was one little cement building with a single cement room that had a tin roof over where a person could sleep or a children’s class would in, but the adults met outside underneath a larger tin roof… (but) all the tin roof blew off of both the cement room and the outside area where they met. The stuff that was in there there wasn’t a lot, just chairs, tracks, and stuff. That all got destroyed, but I think the chairs are salvageable.”

What specific actions did the families take for safety during the hurricane?

Laura: “Those whose homes totally blew away realized how bad the storm was. They fled and literally broke into an empty cement home…so they barged their way in as they felt they would have safety in that home.”

You mentioned that some families could salvage materials to create temporary shelters. How about the six families who lost their homes?  How are these temporary arrangements holding up, especially considering the basic living conditions?

Laura: “Actually, they’re all still staying together in this one cement house that no one was living in…In the day, they go over to their old shelter, where they lived, and cook and spend their time. But at night, they sleep still in that cement house…they have water in that little area because they get water from a spring. They’re not actually getting water from the city, which is really good.”

How are those in the mission who had cement homes?

Laura: “Those few families who did have a cement house, their homes are OK, but they have the same problem: they don’t have food.”

The online reports suggest around 50 people died. Based on your observations and interactions on the ground, can you provide a more accurate insight into the human toll?

Laura: “The news does not speak the truth. There are hundreds of missing people. There are 50 missing ships or vessels that were out to sea. I don’t know how many people were on each ship, but they never showed up. So, that in of itself has all those missing people. Besides, many people just haven’t been accounted for. They’re not sure if those people are buried or just weren’t there, and for a lot of those, we probably won’t even know for a while because there’s so much debris everywhere.”

The aftermath pictures on the news show a lot of debris on the streets, but it’s hard to grasp the full extent of the damage. Can you describe the current state of the streets and the challenges this poses for the residents and relief efforts?

Laura: “The streets look like a snowstorm, and someone took a snow plow through it, but it was a mud plow. The sides of the streets are just all the debris piled up, including cars, roofs, and even refrigerators.”

As you navigate through this aftermath, what questions or dilemmas are currently on your mind?

Laura: “What do we do first? Do we first get a little group up for our church and get them together and pray, or do we first help rebuild homes one after another or buy mattresses? The needs are overwhelming.”

What prayer requests do you have that we can lift up for you and the mission?

Laura: “#1, pray for effort of wisdom and that God would give us wisdom and provision as he wants it to be fit. And that people get saved and that people’s hearts wouldn’t grow harder, but will grow softer as a result.”

We will be praying for you, and thank you for letting us know what was going on.

Laura: “Thank you for your prayers; Thanks for your support.”

The experiences shared by Laura Ruiz bring us closer to the reality faced by the communities in Acapulco. The needs are evident – food, shelter, clean water, and spiritual support. Our missionaries, the Ruiz family, are doing commendable work with their church, and they need our prayers and support more than ever.

Let’s come together to pray for wisdom and provision for the Ruiz family and the community they serve. Your prayers and support can make a significant difference in aiding those affected by this calamity.

Read more from Laura about Hurricane Otis Aftermath.


  1. Hurricane Otis Preliminarily Produced A 200+ MPH Wind Gust, Ranking Among Some Of Earth’s Strongest
  2. At Least 27 Dead And Four More Missing After Hurricane Otis Ravages Acapulco, Mexico
  3. Hurricane Otis Generates Record-breaking 205 mph Gust, One of the Strongest on Record
  4. Hurricane Otis produced 205 mph gust, among strongest ever measured

Paul Luna

Paul Luna is a pastor, husband & father of four in Oregon. He's passionate about faith, family, & community, he enjoys painting, hiking, & tech.

All stories by: Paul Luna