Wednesday, 3 March 2010

Letter from Santiago East Mission Pesident's Wife

Here's another amazingly spiritual experience to do with the Chilean Earthquake.  This one is from the Santiago East Mission President's wife. Again, it's been passed through the mission network.

Date: Mon, 1 Mar 2010 23:48:27 -0700
From: *****
To: *****
Subject: Santiago East Mission President's message

"Dear Everyone,

"I am writing to let you all know how very grateful we are for your
prayers, concern, and love. Please keep praying! We need the Lord's help
and guidance in order to do all He would have us do to learn what He
would have us learn from this earth quake tragedy, and to minister in
the way He would have us minister. During the past few days, we have
witnessed many events which serve to remind us that the Lord is in
charge and that as missionaries and members of His church, The Church of
Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, we are performing His work, and as
President Monson teaches, "When we are on the Lord's errand, we are
entitled to His help." I want to share with you a few miracles that will
help you to understand our profound feelings of gratitude.

"When we were set apart for this calling, Elder Scott of the counsel of
the twelve apostles taught us many important lessons. He spoke from
personal experience when he was a Mission President in Argentina. One
message that he shared with us is this: "At times, during your mission,
you will be awakened in the middle of the night or the early morning
hours with thoughts of specific things you should do for certain
missionaries. Do not ignore these thoughts. They are promptings from the
Holy Ghost who will communicate with you in the stillness of the night
or the peace of the early morning hours. He will speak to you then
because that is when you are still enough to hear." Elder Scott further
instructed us to keep a notebook beside our bed so that we could record
these precious promptings. He said that by the next morning, we would be
likely to forget the promptings if we didn't write them down.

"We have been astonished at the fulfillment of Elder Scott's prophetic
words. We have received many promptings in the exact manner that Elder
Scott described. We are so thankful that Elder Scott taught us how to
recognize and act upon these precious promptings. Had he not taught us,
we may not have given these promptings the attention they require.

"Nearly two and one half weeks ago, I was awakened at around 4:00 AM by
just such a prompting. I did not hear a voice, but the thought was as
clear as if it had been in the form of spoken words: "There is going to
be an earthquake. Prepare your missionaries." I sat up in bed and
immediately remembered Elder Scott's counsel. That morning I told Larry
what had happened. He immediately set to work organizing our
missionaries to prepare for an earthquake.

"In talking with our office missionaries to arrange for them to put
together a list of everything we would need to both Spanish
and English...we discovered that the Lord had also let two of our office
missionaries know of the possibility of an earthquake (in the form of
dreams) and the need to prepare our mission. We set a goal and arranged
our schedule so that we could visit every apartment in the mission to
check for safety and to review with our missionaries what to do in case
of an earth quake. What a wonderful experience we have had as we have
met with them and shared scriptures with them about being spiritually
and physically prepared. "...if ye are prepared, ye shall not fear" (D&C
38:30). We instructed every missionary to have a "go-bag" (36 hour kit).
We reviewed our emergency action plan with them of where to go and what
to do if they had phone service and in case they did not. We gave
everyone a paper with all instructions in English and Spanish, and we
reminded them that "this life is the time to prepare to meet God" (Alma
34:32-34). We shared with them our thoughts and feelings about the need
for spiritual and physical safety. Some of them became frightened and
asked us if we knew something they didn't know. We smiled and repeated
"...if ye are prepared, ye shall not fear." We didn't want to unduly
alarm them, but we did want to impress upon them the need to be
prepared. We tearfully reminded them of our recent transfer conference
where we had shared our feelings about our dear Elder McKay Burrows who
was unexpectedly called home in January while serving his mission in he was prepared in every way to meet God. We reissued our
challenge to "be prepared" in every way. Then we knelt with them in
their apartment and dedicated each apartment, asking for a blessing of
safety and security to be upon every apartment.

"When the earthquake came, we were prepared. We did not experience the
panic that many felt. We knew we were prepared. Because of the words of
the Lord's chosen Apostle, Elder Scott, we had listened and heeded the
quiet, but clear promptings of the Holy Ghost. We were blessed with
peace in the midst of chaos. We learned an important lesson: our
preparation helped us to avoid panic and fear, but the Lord, in His
wisdom, allowed us to experience enough discomfort to know that He has
all power. He is in charge. We are nothing without Him. We are dependent
upon Him for every breath we take. Only He can save us from death and
destruction. He is the way, the truth, and the life. He is our perfect
example. If we follow Him, we will be saved through obedience to the
laws and ordinances of His Gospel.
As the earthquake became more violent, the mission home groaned and
wailed. The power died, so the whole city was black. The windows made a
hideous screeching sound, and flying objects banged against swaying
walls. The printer/fax machine, books, book ends, and fifty-pound
television burst from the entertainment center and crashed to the floor,
cabinets emptied, drawers flew open, the refrigerator moved, water
sloshed out of the toilets, the floor jolted up and down as we ran
across it trying to hold onto the walls to keep from falling down, and
the piano toppled over like a small toy. As we made our way to the back
yard, I remember thinking, "God is all-powerful. He is our only refuge
from this horrible mess." I prayed and prayed for Him to still the
earth. When we reached the back yard, we watched in terror. By the light
of the moon we could see the swimming pool water form giant waves and
crash out onto the rocks. House and car alarms screamed into the
night...some from being crushed by falling debris and others I guess
from the bizarre movement of the earth. I am not sure if the intense
rumbling sounds came from the earth itself or from everything else that
was shaking so violently. Finally, it stopped. When the calm came, we
had to sit down because our legs were weak and unstable. My legs stayed
wobbly all day and night yesterday. Today the muscles in my legs hurt
like I ran a marathon. The aftershocks have been extremely unsettling.
Each one begins like the one last night started. We just close our eyes
and wait to see if it escalates or dies down. I have never experienced
anything like this!

We were awakened this morning by a very strong after shock. Larry jumped
out of bed and yelled, "Welcome to another glorious day in Chile!" We
just had to laugh. We moved a mattress into the floor in our bedroom and
made Landon sleep in our room. He was in his room with the door locked
the night before and we couldn't wake him up. He never locks his door,
but he was playing a joke on Larry because every morning Larry wakes him
at 5:30 AM for seminary by tickling him unmercifully. So Landon had
decided to stop him. When we couldn't open his door, in the middle of
the quake, we thought he was trapped, so we screamed and banged. Landon
thought that everything was falling off the walls because we were
banging so hard on the door. I think we scared him more than the
earthquake did!

Today, we attended a strong ward where Larry was invited to speak. The
entire chapel and beyond was filled. People were so humble and so
teachable. Larry taught the importance of doing the small things. He
taught about Jesus Christ and the opportunity we have to love one
another and to share what we have with others. It was a great blessing
for us to be with these beautiful Chilean people. Some have lost their
homes...or at least parts of their homes. But they are strong and they
want to serve the Lord. He taught of the scripture in Luke 21:11,13
which says, "and great earthquakes shall be in divers places...and it
shall turn to you for a testimony." He also welcomed the sweet young
woman who was in the congregation with the missionaries...her first time
attending church...and then he invited her to be baptized from the
pulpit. He asked her to please invite us to her baptism, and she said,
"I will." The Lord always knows what His people need. Landon was reading
in Alma 15:17 today. He said, Mom listen to this. This is what is
happening here in Chile just like in happened in Ammonihah. The people
were humbled and "checked as to the pride of their hearts and began to
humble themselves before God, watching and praying continually that they
might be delivered from Satan, and from death, and from destruction."

Our hearts are filled to the brim with gratitude for all of the
blessings we have received in the Chile Santiago East Mission. We see
miracles every day. In the midst of great pain and suffering, we can
always find our Savior. He stands with His arms open, pleading for all
of us to humble ourselves and come unto Him. He loves us. He invites us
to accept His gift...the atonement. He invites us to repent. He wants us
to love one another and to serve one another. He wants us to bring our
families and those we love to Him. We can do it. We can do all that He
asks, no matter how difficult it may seem. "With God all things are

OK, sorry this is so long. I will end now. We are having a devotional
tomorrow for all of our missionaries to talk about the last week of
Christ's life in preparation for Easter. We want to remind our
missionaries to teach and preach with increased vigor and animo of
Christ. Last Monday in our office meeting, Larry suddenly stopped in the
middle, and said, "During the prayer, I had a very strong impression
that March 2010 is going to be our best baptizing month we have ever had
in this mission." Now we know why he received that feeling. We are going
to prepare to bring many souls to the waters of baptism in March. Please
continue to pray for us and for the people of Chile. Please pray for the
missionaries to have strength and courage to do all that is being
required of them, even in difficult times.

We are so thankful that the tsunami did not turn out badly in Hawaii.
Who would ever think that an earthquake in Chile could threaten the
shores of Hawaii? Thankfully, the Lord is in charge. He is the one to
whom we must turn for refuge from every storm. He has the power to save us.

Con mucho amor,

President Larry and Sister Lisa Laycock

1 comment:

emilyaaa said...

i got an email from karina requesting items for a little town that was hit hard by the earthquake. she said that you're helping, too. i have some questions about this, but don't thin the email i have for you is current, so i stalked you through melissa's blog! :) email me at emilyaaa (at) when you have a minute. i want to help out, but i'm not sure the best way to go aobut it...
take care!!
emily ashworth