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Flood of relief pours in for Tijuana members

As water levels rose during recent severe storms in Tijuana, Mexico, a flood of relief poured in from Latter-day Saints in regions around San Diego, Calif.

From Jan. 8-12, members of the Church in the Escondido and Carlsbad regions of the Church collected about 30 tons of food and more than 2,000 blankets for victims of floods in Tijuana, located about 25 miles south of San Diego. In addition, a truckload of food from the bishop's storehouse in Colton, Calif., was delivered, bringing the total of food to 40-50 tons, said Elder Craig A. Bullock, regional representative in Escondido.The flooding here began Jan. 7 during heavy rainstorms, which deluged much of Southern California and the Baja California peninsula, Elder Bullock related. Pres. Arturo De Hoyos of the Mexico Tijuana Mission said water levels have reached up to about three feet on city streets. He said some 24 people have died, and about 10,000 are homeless. He reported there have been no deaths or serious injuries to members. But, he added, about 176 LDS families have been affected by the floods, with six homes of members seriously damaged.

Pres. De Hoyos told the Church News that a major repercussion from the floods has been the loss of transportation and the closing of businesses - which means a loss of income for residents. Tourism is a main industry in Tijuana, and, due to the floods, tourist shops have closed.

When Elder Bullock heard of the plight of members in Tijuana, he contacted Elder Lance B. Wickman of the Carlsbad Region, and they set regional welfare councils in motion.

"On Jan. 9 at 8 a.m., I contacted the chairman of the regional welfare council in Escondido. He contacted the other stake presidents in the region, and within 41/2 hours that region had collected and delivered to a Deseret Industries unit in Chula Vista, just north of the border, approximately 10 tons of food and more than 2,000 blankets." Elder Bullock related.

From there, he explained, a convoy of about 35 pickup trucks delivered the supplies to the mission office and to a stake center in Tijuana.

By Jan. 12, more relief supplies were needed, so the Carlsbad Region was contacted, and within 24 hours, about 20 tons of food were delivered to Chula Vista. From there, LDS leaders in Tijuana collected the supplies. The truck from the bishop's storehouse was delivered to Tijuana Jan. 17.

Elder Bullock said the relief supplies, other than those from the bishops' storehouse, were donated by members. He added that the supplies were used by priesthood leaders in Tijuana wherever needed - not only for members.

This relief effort succeeded, he explained, because of the bond that has been developing between members in Tijuana and San Diego as they prepare for the dedication of the nearly completed San Diego Temple.

Because Tijuana and San Diego are in different areas of the Church, Elder Bullock said there was little interaction before the building of the temple. "With the building of the temple, and with the assignments of five stakes in Baja California to the temple district, we've created a close personal tie with the leaders there," he said.

For the past 11/2 years, members from both areas have been working together on a temple committee in preparation for the dedication. It was through members of this committee that Elder Bullock heard of the needs in Tijuana.

Pres. De Hoyos related: "The LDS people here feel great because they know their brothers and sisters north of the border know them. The end product of the whole relief is a bond, made possible by the activity of the temple."

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