Every missionary in the Chile, Santiago East Mission will eternally treasure our shared memories of the 8.8 magnitude earthquake on February 27, 2010. We will never forget the feelings we have had and the lessons we have learned. Because of this experience, will never be the same.
We now understand with even more clarity, the necessity of listening to and heeding the voices of warning which come to us in our lives through the Lord's chosen leaders.
We now give thanks with even more gratitude that the Lord's chosen leaders will always offer us His counsel that will lead us to safety.
We now believe with even more surety that the Holy Ghost will always whisper what our Father in Heaven wants us to know.
And finally, we now feel with even greater intensity the desire to act with diligence and speed, once we have received necessary life-warnings from the Lord's chosen messengers.
Because we possess the marvelous gift of agency, it is up to us to live so that we can hear the voices of warning which are available to all of us. What a miracle!
On the Friday before the Saturday quake, we visited our Elders in San Jose de Maipo and extended to them the invitation to "be prepared." They accepted, and report to us that they are prepared...both physically and spiritually. What a miracle!
Elder Osborne is prepared. He has chosen to accept the invitation of his leaders, and the promptings of the Holy Ghost.
His spiritual life is prepared and in order.
His "go-bag" is stocked with necessary items and rests by the front door of his pension. What a miracle!
Elder Afeaki has also accepted the invitation to "be prepared." He has his "go-bag" ready, and he has chosen to continue to live his life so that he will be prepared to meet God when that time comes. What a miracle!
(Ask your missionary to share with you the Elder Afeaki earthquake experience.
We love to hear him tell it! His experience brings a smile to all of our faces.)
One of my personal favorite earthquake memories will always be Elder Hansen with his Scout handbook. He came to the mission prepared. He had received special warnings before the mission that he would have "unique" experiences on his mission. He chose to heed those warnings. He brought his Scout handbook with him so that he would be able to serve others and help them in times of great need and in times of natural disaster. He has chosen to be prepared...in all ways. What a miracle!
The boxes in the photo below are boxes filled with love. This is just one of the chapels in our Mission where so many donations have been collected for those in need of relief because of the earthquake. What a blessing for us to participate in and to be witness to this type of love. Many of those who have donated have so little in terms of worldly wealth, and yet they have accepted the invitation of our Savior to share whatever they have with their brothers and sisters who are in need. Truly, we will never be the same because of the miracles, large and small, that we have experienced. We could share picture after picture of earthquake memories that have strengthened our lives. Someone mentioned to me the other day that God must have been very angry to have caused this awful earthquake to happen here in Chile.
Through all of the destruction and tribulation, I can honestly testify that I have only felt His overwhelming love. I know He loves us. We are His children. He allows us to pass through sorrow so that we may know true joy. Through our greatest trials, He refines us and teaches us. Then He invites us to become more like His Son, Jesus Christ. What a miracle!