Sunday, 28 February 2010

Quake Update From Santiago Temple Matron

I've received the following email through various networks.  It's very encouraging news, but obviously I'm still anxious about people in the neghbourhoods I served in.

Dear Chile Santiago West Missionaries:

The news of the past 24 hours has been shocking to all of us with the 8.8 magnitude earthquake.  After many phone calls, tweets, and facebooking I have been able to finally communicate with people throughout the mission as I'm sure some of you have also.  Please keep the Chilean People in your thoughts and prayers.  We know that our Heavenly Father loves them.  As you find out of any specific needs please notify us via the website and let us know how we can help.  Arriba Juntos!

I thought you all might enjoy reading a note one of our missionaries received from the Chile Santiago Temple Matron:

Hi Everyone,

We heard from our Santiago Temple President, Ted
& Cheryl Lyon, written by his wife, Cheryl:

Thanks to all of you who have emailed your concern for us. We can state
unequivocally that we're fine. We can also state with the same emphasis that
riding through that quake in our rocking fourth-floor apartment was for me
the scariest experience I've ever been through!
I was sure we were about to die - that either the ceiling would fall on us
or that we'd collapse through the floor. It truly was an emotion I'd never
experienced before. My whole body shook for the next two hours, and after
that I couldn't stop crying.

We didn't even have the presence of mind to get out of bed during the quake.
I felt paralyzed, staring at the ceiling and wondering when the earth would
stop rolling. It was the longest two minutes of our lives! We could hear
things falling out of cupboards, and pictures falling off the walls. But the
sound and the movement was the worst.

Our sturdy building held up fine. Just lots of dust and a few broken dishes.
But elsewhere, as I'm sure you've seen on the news, people didn't fare as
well. Lots of damage. Virtually no stores open. Most parts of Santiago still
have no electricity. Collapsed overpasses have closed major highways. The
airport is closed because of damage, and planes have been rerouted to
northern Chile or to Argentina. Our new missionary doctor was to arrive this
morning, so I don't know where he and his wife have ended up.
What a joy to walk into the temple and find it in perfect condition. We
just had to close a few drawers and straighten a few crooked pictures. It
felt so good to be there in that peaceful refuge and find normality. Moroni
did lose his trumpet, however! That was the only noticeable damage.

How grateful we are for how well the Church takes care of us. We've often
thought the 24-hour emergency lights in our building were excessive, but we
were surely thankful for them at 3:30 this morning as everyone was
evacuating the building - including the missionaries downstairs in the MTC.
It was so disconcerting to get out of bed in the dark and stumble over
fallen items in the bathroom. We got just a taste of what the Haitians have
suffered, though their damage and deaths have been so much more devastating,
even though their quake a weaker one. So far here they're reporting 123
deaths, but we assume the toll will climb.

We had to decide what to do about the temple. We had every session booked
for the day, and wondered if people would arrive. We met with one of Ted's
counselors - who had arrived at 5:00 for the early shift, as faithful as
ever - and our registrar. We knew it would be difficult for the employees
and workers to get to the temple and there was not electricity at the time.
One faithful laundry sister came a great distance to help, but there was no
gas for the dryers, so she had baptismal clothes from last night lying out
all over the laundry.

The temple has an emergency generator which roars into action the second the
power goes out. But we learned that it runs on petroleum which lasts only
four hours. By 8 a.m. we knew we were about to go dark again, so we made the
decision to simply close the temple for the day.

Then, just in the second that the lights began to dim, the power came back
on! (We've learned since that we're the only section of Santiago that has
power yet.) So then we decided to hold just one session, since we had three
out-of-town couples staying in the hospedaje who were expecting to receive
their endowments and be sealed today. We mustered all the missionary
couples, along with a group of faithful sisters who work the late shift on
Fridays and then stay over for the Sat morning shift. We had a most moving
morning. The quake had brought such a sense of unity to workers and patrons,
and the Spirit was amazing. I've seldom had such a moving experience at the
veil - with three consecutive young sisters who were receiving their

Right now we're sleep-deprived, and Ted has already gone back to bed. The
stress has left us exhausted - but we're alive and well! We're still feeling
aftershocks - called "replicas" in Spanish. They're reported about 25 of
them. One just rolled by as I was writing this.

So, that's the report. After some rest we may venture out and about to see
what we can see.

Thanks for your love and concern.
Ted and Cheryl
President of the Santiago Temple

Visit Chile Santiago West Mission at:

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