"I feel the earth move under my feet"!!! But luckily right now it is only about every 8-12 hours and not super strong. Turns out that we had about 3 minutes of seismic activity in Santiago at about an 8.3, considering the epicenter was an 8.8 that is pretty strong. All of the missionaries in all of Chile are accounted for and well. Currently I feel like I'm reliving the hurricanes from the past couple of years as we in Quilicura (and the only community in Santiago in such a situation) are without electricity, water, and communication through cell phone, Internet, and telephone fijo (regular phone line). Yesterday we had some pretty big problems with several of the supermarkets getting robbed and the PDI (basically FBI) and caribineros (police) were running pretty good. Last night Chile brought in the military and put us under martial law until this morning, when we left for the center it looked as if they had cleared out for the most part.
Structurally in Quilicura there isn't a whole lot of damage like in several other sectors of Santiago, but we are expected to be without utilities until tomorrow, at least. So, I got a not so nice e-mail in my inbox today from someone who reads my blog and apparently doesn't like the way that I write my e-mails to my family. I sent it to you, hope you enjoy. It is amazing how dumb and childish some people can be.
I saw the letter from Hermana Lyon, that is amazing. If there is one thing I've learned in the mission so far (especially with all of this) it is that the Lord really does work miracles! Just goes to show that the work of the Lord doesn't slow down for anything, not even an 8.8 terremoto.
Sorry it took so long to get a letter out to you. We had permission to e-mail real quick yesterday if we could find Internet, but I'm sure you can imagine how that search went. Fun to hear that Ryah got stuck in something fun too, a blizzard. Bet you didn't imagine that 2 of your children would be away from home having their own sort of fun at the same time. And just for the record, I didn't jinx Chile... Elder Arave did when he wished for an earthquake the other day!!!
The only thing most of the missionaries here were worried about was whether or not our parents were freaking out, and when they started seeing the news. I've been hoping that international news hasn't been showing Quilicura to the world as there have been quite a few problems there with murders and stuff like that, but not it is mostly under control.
Good to know you got my letter in the mail and finally received some pictures, I've been trying for a while. Also there should be another letter in the mail pretty soon. Did my camera memory card get there safe, and have y'all been able to get it fixed (hopefully without loosing the pictures)??? Glad you think I look good, but for the record, I'm a little bit lighter than Patricio.
The State Department sent me an e-mail reporting that the death toll in Chile is over 700 right now, but that still isn't anything compared to Haiti (even though the quake was smaller). I'm sorry to report that even though my package may be coming fast than it would on the slow boat it is going to have a few roadblocks. Right now the only aircraft coming into the Santiago airport are military, so all of the aircraft are being rerouted to Northern Chile or Argentina. Also the office of the mission looks like it has some structural damage, so nobody is sure what is going to happen at this point with that. Luckily we can still travel, but several of the entrances and exits to our community are down, as they are all over-passes/bridges. Fun times, fun times!
In Santiago there aren't any really big relief efforts like there were in Haiti, but I think the Church probably has more help to the south. We are currently working in proselitismo and service until 8:00 PM every night until further notice. All of the relief efforts are local and involve mostly helping people finish destroying so they can start rebuilding when utilities and supplies come back. Needless to say we did not have cambios, and none of the missionaries (6) that were going to be leaving today get to, nor are we receiving more missionaries from Provo until further notice.
Apart from the earthquake, I'm not sure we have any exciting news here. We are only trying to keep working and keep steady while all of the temblors keep passing. They are saying they will be strong for about a week, with possible replica (aftershock), and still able to be felt for about a month. But Chile has temblors all of the time anyways, you just normally can't feel one except for about every couple months.
I think that's all I've got from Chile for now. Keep all of the people here in your prayers as the recovery efforts continue and we begin to rebuild.
I love you all and I love this added opportunity that we have to serve in a different way to help people come unto Our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.
¡Todo mi amor y cariño! Your prayers have been being felt!!!
-- Elder Todd