Sami singing the song she wrote

Monday, March 15, 2010

Information from one of Sami's house mates

Since Sami did not send us any real details about what being in the earthquake was like, I got permission to post information that one of the other sister missionaries, Hermana Knapp, sent to her family. So in the words of Hermana Knapp:
'I first woke up to the sound of grumbling and shaking (a noise I’ve never heard and could probably never replicate) and awoke the rumbling and swaying of my bed, still lying down on the top bunk next to the window in a pitch black room, I hear Hermana Rodriguez yell "terimoto, terimoto” I’ve never heard that word in Spanish and I think you’ll agree it seems better suited in the Chinese Language.  I sat straight up and quickly leaned over to look down to try and see my companion (legs still tucked in covers) and as I leaned over the swaying of my bed grew with intensity and I literally was flung out of my bed and landed on the back of my companion (she still today has no recollection of that) I remember and can literally still see everything as if it just happened five seconds ago.  I got up and tried running towards the door but kept running into the three bodies in our small little room trying to fumble into the right spot (my companion fell to her stomach and slid under our little dinky iron bunk bed) hermana Rodriquez jumped out of her bed and sprang into the arms of hermana Smith as hermana Smith tried to hold onto the top bunk for stability.  Our door to our room wasn’t opening so I being ... almost pushed back and forth or swayed back and forth as I was tugging at the door, it finally opened and I tried hitting the lights a dozen times and looked into the living room to see our fan light swaying with such intensity I was sure it would fall violently... I stayed in the door and contemplated what or where we should go next, I really didn’t expect it to last for so long and I couldn’t hear that well with all the noise of things falling, the fan, and the sounds grumbling the sound of running water and some other weird crackling noises or scratches.

 I finally heard or zapped out of my thought and her my companion yelling from under the bed to watch out ( I had been under the door for a minute by then) she said to look up and I saw the cracked glass above my head, so I hesitated a second to think of which way to go but I ended up sliding under the bed with her and that’s where things really got freaky... my body didn’t fit with our suitcases being under the bed plus us two so as I half stuck under the bed I braced myself for I thought was to come, really thinking the house was going to fall on top of us... this is where I just started praying out loud.  I don’t think I can say I’ve ever used the atonement so fully and received so quickly His peace, it was as if you could literally feel his arms stretched over you protecting us.  I remember praying and pausing in certain moments with just this...  i dont know shock of I can’t believe this is happening I’ve never felt something like this ever in my life.   When it ended we tried to get out of the house as soon as possible knowing there are usually aftershocks just as strong, we grabbed what we needed to call our zone leaders and members of our church, jackets flash lights, food, scriptures, our water bottles with filters and headed for the church, (this is where I started recording on a tape for you fam), being 3:30 everything was still dark, the street in front of our house was filling with water, the wall which separated our house from the train tracks and the once which is the ghetto of san Carlos fell completely, as we walked to the capilla we tripped over something and realized it was part of a house, every block we saw more and more damage of the adobe houses that had fallen... but most houses are not made of adobe (our house included is not made of adobe it’s just a very, very old cement apartment, there are just cracks in the walls, don’t worry every house in san Carlos has cracks from this earthquake, the safest is the wood houses).

The only family in the church when we got there was Josefina, I call her my mission mom her and can’t tell you how glad and reassured I was to see them!  As we walked myself and Rodriquez were trying to make people feel comfortable that were out in the streets telling them they had a second home in our church giving them pictures of Christ and trying to do all we could, but you could still see the fright in the eyes of everyone, including hermanas Smith and Torres who were very responsible and wanting to make sure we took care of all safety things first. So that’s sufficient enough to explain even though everyone could go on but this is a novel already....  over the week we saved water in every available source we could (I knew we could survive because we had water bottles that could filter water, it was more or less how many other people like the family of Josephina and Javier could survive)we didn’t have water for about 3 days and I don’t quite remember when we got electricity, but San Carlos was tremendously blessed, our church was fine with just some fallen lights and cracks and we had gas in containers (not much gas runs through pipes here).  We camped outside for 3 nights and the next days we felt safe enough to go inside the church to sleep.  The city put a curfew of 9pm to 6am for everyone in the city to try and make sure they could identify everyone in the streets (looking for Chillan prisoners), we made a plan for saving food and 23 people put everything they had together and acted as one family (law of consecration), the grocery stores didn’t open up until this past Friday, I remember those yellow survivor books saying you can go two days without water before dying and 7 without food, so looking at our plan it also brought peace.  The day after we were simply doing service and going inside of the fallen house to retrieve things for people but trying to be safe not knowing when the replica was going to happen (still not knowing everyone has an internal fear kind of looking over your shoulder for the next replica).  We worked with the red cross, we helped anyone and everyone, I gave away some of my food to families with children that would come (had to be careful to make sure they knew not to tell others and that this was literally all we had, usually only sufficient enough to feed the small kids), we put together kits of food and supplies that our Church made, we shared with people that would let us (couldn’t believe people were still so hard within their hearts)  lines went around blocks to receive the free food from the city, lines of people with buckets trying to get water throughout different streets.'

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