Reyes reports on Madrid attack
by Mario Reyes, Major –
Many of us here in the U.S. have been praying for the people of Madrid as they respond to the terrorists’ train bombings in their city. I recently received information about the Army’s ministry in this disaster from two fellow officers, whom I met last year when I was given the privilege of attending the International College for Officers (ICO). One is Major Ambrosio Aycon, territorial youth secretary and secretary for public relations in Spain, and the other is Major Attie van Wagtendonk, editorial department, The Netherlands.
Major Aycon was part of the Army team that responded immediately to the tragedy. He answered my inquiry with a letter thanking us for our prayers and encouragement. He says, “I still feel affected…when I mention it to someone I feel tears coming from my eyes.”
He remembers all that occurred, from the first day at the hospital, which also served as the information center for those seeking loved ones. He writes, “One could see a lot of panic, desperate people, many crying and waiting for some news of their loved ones. At first, you could read the list of the people that were arriving at the hospital, but then you could read the list of the dead. It was an awful time.”
He described the work the Army did to help, stating, “The next day we went to the funeral home. Everywhere we did what we are used to doing: helping and counseling. Both officers and soldiers did all they could—loading lorries, speaking with people, serving food and drinks. We are so pleased that we have been able to help…thank you for praying for us.”
Major van Wagtendonk shared her thoughts in a letter to the ICO. She was thinking about Aycon, and called headquarters in Madrid a couple of times to see how everyone was doing. She writes, “The Salvationists and officers are now working in the area, where they are identifying the bodies. They try to counsel the families of the missing and the dead; sometimes they can only listen to their crying…The volunteers need our prayers—our friend Ambrosio is involved and we pray for him by name because we know him, along with all the others doing this important work.”
Throughout the world Salvationists volunteer to help those who are hurting and in need; we offer prayers both for those who minister and those being ministered to, and we place our faith in God and the healing power of his love.