Monday, April 7, 2014

Letter 24: Earthquakes and Tsunami's

Dear Mom,

Well, it´s definitely been a crazy week for several reasons. I will try my best to include it all in this email, if not...I'm sorry in advance haha.
Okay well, from beginning haha, so last Monday we had our zone conference like I had told you and something super ironic is that Pres. Kahnlein talked to us at the very end about emergencies and natural disasters and told us to get all of our emergency food updated and our first aid and all that jazz. So, my companion and I went the next day and bought all of our food. Later that night we were teaching Elvia and her family and were JUST about to put a baptismal date when her phone rang. Her husband, who is working in Iquique (where all the earthquakes have been) calls and tells her whats going on. She turns on the T.V. and we see the news and photos of people running and everything because of the Tsunami alarms. Needless to say the lesson ended there. Within a few minutes the Tsunami alarms were sounding and many people were running to higher ground. Luckily the house that we live in is in the safe zone and so is Elvia´s house. But it was incredible to see people filling the streets all running for higher ground with their backpacks, kids, and whatever else they could carry. Finally we were able to get in contact with our district leader (the phone lines were up and down) and we went to our house. After getting ready our stuff to leave we left and went to several members houses to see if they needed anything. We were informed that we had to wait until 2 in the morning to see what would happen. The wave came but it was super small, so nothing really happened damage wise, just a lot of scares. 
Well, the next day (Wednesday), after working and doing the usual we went to bed at about 1130, only to be woken up and hour later from the sister missionaries calling us! The first thing I heard was more sirens. Then they told us how they had tried to call our district leader but he wasn't answering, so my companion and I put on our p-day clothes and ran all the way to their house, banged on the door and no one answered. Luckily we have keys to their house haha, so we entered went into their room, turned on their lights and woke them up. Both of them were so confused haha, it was pretty funny! But we told them all that was happening and that YET AGAIN, the sirens were going off. Again, the wave ended up not happening and the sirens fell silent about an hour later. The next day in the morning an hour or so before we had to get up, we were woken up by an earthquake. Our house was shaking and you could hear it, it was crazy, but seeing as how we had another 30 minutes to sleep...we just went back to bed hahah. Later that night as we went to bed we had another mini earthquake.´s been a crazy week and a little bit tiring. But everything is fine here in Los Vilos. Apparently they´ve done some tests and research and they are still expecting a big one up north, supposedly a 9.5. If that happens we actually will have a tsunami. But all is well, we have all our emergency stuff ready. Oh yeah, not to mention I´m an eagle scout hahah, (we all know how well that worked out with my car).

After all of this we were finally able to watch and listen to Conference. And sadly no, I wasn´t able to make crepes because NICHOLE didn't send me the recipe, but seeing as how we learned about forgiveness in the conference I have already forgiven her hahah. I miss those crepes and Tri-tip, I had a feeling you would cook it. We watched it in the chapel as a Branch (it was pretty sad to see that only about 25 people came). But we were able to watch it in English, Me, Elder Bush(the new Elder), Sister Macey, and Sister Shcramm from the senior couple. One of the more disappointing moments was when we went to eat on Sunday the members invited us to stay at the chapel and eat with them instead of going to our house. They then left several times to buy drinks, chicken, and food. RIGHT AFTER WE WATCHED CONFERENCE. I have never wanted to face palm so hard in my life haha. Keeping the Sabbath day holy is one of the harder commandments to keep here it seems like. One of the members got mad and some the sister missionaries because when they came to eat at her house one Sunday she asked them to go buy something and they said no. But ANYWAY, that's not the point, I'll move on haha.  Seriously, conference is like Christmas here in the mission! Haha to see all of the other members gathered there and thinking ¨My home!¨ Also seeing Brother Shafer in the choir kind of tripped me out too. And then I saw Megan Larsen there too singing in the choir, I had to double take. It gave me a huge flash back to when our ward was able to go to the conference center to sing for general conference and Nichole went as well. The musical part of the conference really brings and adds to the spirit of everything. I love to listen to the words and feel the spirit that comes with the songs. That being said, the best part is hearing our Prophet and Apostles speak. They spoke about several things, but there a few that specifically stuck out to me, as i´m sure happened with everyone. I loved the talk on gratitude, and that it is the gateway to ALL Christlike attributes. What an incredible statement. What an incredibly true statement, it was actually pretty interesting because Sunday morning I was able to have several minutes to myself as my companion showered. I took advantage of this time to offer a personal prayer out loud (I don't do my personal prayer out loud often, although I wish I could), and wasn´t really sure what to pray for, so I just started being grateful. After a few minutes I felt like the spirit was guiding my prayer and by the end of it I just felt so good. I could feel how blessed I really was and how amazing the future can and will be. I truly am grateful for a Savior who has paid the price for me, but not just me, my family as well. I also loved how they talked about the family should progress together. How the really simple things like family prayer, scripture study, and family home evening will bring much more blessings and peace in our life. I know that this is true. I have felt it in our home (the times we have done it) and it truly is a protection. I have seen and felt in other homes where they don't do these things...where maybe they've never even heard of these things. You can note the difference. One other thing that impressed me was the talks on love as well. If we have love as well as gratitude, it seems that all other things will fall into place. One of the things i´ve realized in the mission is that I have room to improve on both of those subjects! Conference is amazing because it is such a spiritual boost. I´m excited to continue studying and reading the talks. 

Deanna is getting married?? Well that´s new. Congrats to her! Haha. If she has a kid by the time I get home what would that make me? Second cousins? Orr....Cousin Uncle? Something like that. How is Cory doing? What is he up to?

Yeah, sometimes it really does feel like I just wrote. It´s crazy how fast the time passes by and yet how much stuff has been packed into that time. I can think back to my first area with my trainer Elder Hale and it feels so weird. I remember thinking I would never be not new on the mission. I guess I´m still relatively new...but you know what I mean. 

Don´t worry, I will not be eating from ANY street stand here in Los Vilos...ugh. I now think about that anytime that I eat meat now. Maybe one day I´ll try horse without knowing it, they eat that here too. 

Anyway, I'll leave you with an awesome experience that I had yesterday. 
Elvia and her daughter were able to make it to the final session of general conference and loved it. They said that they felt really good and it was very beautiful. As we were walking them back to their home to teach them Elvia told us of a dream she had. She dreamed that she was baptized into our church and that later she saw her grandson who had passed away. She told us that he was smiling at her and telling her he loved her and ¨thank you grandma, I love you, I´ve been waiting¨. Wow, the first thing that came to my mind was the temples and work for the dead. We are going to teach it more in depth today. Elvia wants to be baptized, the only thing we have to wait for is for her to separate herself from her old husband and get married to the man she has been living with for many years now. They both want to and it will happen. In the mean time we will continue teaching them and giving them help and support. This family is amazing. Luis, her boyfriend, comes back on the 10th and we will be able to teach him as well. His son is sealed in the temple and has been teaching him and he has gone to church 2 times already. This family is ready and i´m so happy for them. I hope that they continue on this path.

Well that is all for this week! Oh, the package I´m sure is here in Chile...probably sitting in the mission offices waiting. The zone leaders go to conference this Friday I think? And then the Wednesday after that we will be able to get our stuff (this system is the worst, I know), but I´m sure it´s safe, so no need to worry! I love you all so much, I´m so grateful for you all as my family and I hope you are all safe and happy! Thanks for your unfailing love and support for me. 

Till next week! Love you!

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