Time is really limited right now. I have special permission from President to write for a couple minutes today because this week was so weird.
First of all, we didn´t even feel the Earthquake here in Arica. We were totally safe and everything. They did evacuate all of Chile though. Like literally all of Chile. The south got hit a lot with the Tsumani´s but here we didnt feel it. There may have been a little earthquake but no one felt it. The evacuation caused some panic though. Because the city shut down all the phone lines for a little while and just sent out a mass evacuation notification to all the cell phones. So then the alarm went off and everyones phones were buzzing. And we all evacuated to the giant hill and met up with the ward and our bishop and everything. But we couldn´t even go and get our emergency bags, so we literally had nothing with us. I felt so unprepared. After a couple hours at the evacuation point another bishop from the other Stake came and picked all the missionaries in our stake up and we all converged at another chapel. So we all sat in the chapel until midnight and we could go home. That was about all the excitement though. Ive never been evacuated from a Tsunami before. It was an interesting experience.
After that though Arica hasn´t had to deal with any other repercussions, though we continue to pray for the people in Coquimbo (the epicenter).
The week continued like normal for a bit, but then we werent allowed to proselyte on the 18th or the 19th because everyone was partying for Independance day. So we hung out with the members a lot and had a fabulous ward party. We had 11 investigators attend and I played a lot of games. And one of the members lent me a traditional dress of Chile to wear so Hermana Scalise and I had dresses and it was just a really cool cultural experience, I can actually dance The Cueca pretty decently. And I also was force fed about a billion empanadas, a ton of soda, and corn products.
Really fun though.
And then yesterday on P-Day, we went to Lago Chungara, the 7th highest lake in the world at the foot of a volcano and you could see Bolivia from where we were. But also it was REALLY high up. Two of the sisters full on passed out an twitched for a couple seconds. That was a little scary. But just the altitude got them. But I got to tell you, having someone pass out in your arms with their eyes open and twitching, is one of the weirdest experiences that you will ever have in your life. Because Hermana Scalise was one of the sisters.
It was a really beautiful place and there were a ton of Llamas or Alpacas (I cant tell the difference). But for 6 hours in the car one way (the car broke down so at certain points we could only go about 10 mph for extended periods of time) and the headache it caused (literally) it wasnt all that people made it out to be. It was really nice to see water in a lake, snow, actual mountains, and green again though. And parts of the places here actually look a lot like central/southern Utah.
That was basically the week though. I will leave you with this one last little message. When we were evacuated all I could think about was the people in my life that I loved, and how unprepared I felt without my emergency bag and the things that I had prepared for an emergency such as this. And the fact that I DIDNT HAVE IT. Please everyone if you dont have an emergency plan, get one. At least have a bag with water, a change of clothes, and granola bars. You never know when something might happen.
And on the spiritual side. Think of the future. If life ended for you right now, would you be prepared? Would yo be found lacking the basic things in your spirit? Do you have your bag of necessities? Bread and Water of life that is the Atonement of Jesus Christ. Are those the things that you have stored in your soul for the time when you need them the most?
I thought about my friends and family at the top of that hill while I watched the city below me evacuate. I held a little girl as she cried because she didnt know if her mother could come to the hill because of her health problems. How are we going to feel at that last day? How are we going to great our families? Are we going to be able to use our emergency bag and last through the storm? Or are we going to fall short?
Love you all. Sorry I can´t do individaul emails today. I love you. Be safe and be prepared.