The earthquake. That happened in Coquimbo, which is close to Viña del Mar. It is a few hours north of us, and we heard that it was a 8.4, which very powerful, even for Chile, and between that and the tsunami, caused a lot of destruction in the north. Where we are though, we heard that it was a 7.1 or 6, and the only destruction that I have heard of was a broken window. In another country, an earthquake that strong would be completely devastating, but here in Chile, if it didn’t fall down in 2010, which was a 8.9, it is pretty strong and not very likely to collapse. In fact, it has to be stronger than a 4 just to make most people react. We actually didn’t feel it right away, and my comp didn’t feel it at all. We were walking on the street right when it happened, and on the street, you don’t notice tremors so much.The only reason that we noticed was because of the people leaving their house to panic in the streets. People are pretty tramatized from 2010. The ground shook, the fences shook, the power cables shook, the dogs howled, but it wasn’t all that scary. We just kept walking and got to where we were going without any problem. I did see one lady that was out in the street, looking up at heaven with here hands raised, chanting, “No, no, no, stop, stop, stop, please, please, please!” which was kind of dramatic. Amazing how getting scared makes people remember God.
That being said, we have been thinking a good deal about the emergency plan of the mission. There are worse pensions are far as preparedness, but ours is still lacking. I am storing up water with the other Elders and searching for what I need to have my emergency backpack ready. I taught the district today the importance of preparedness, and we discussed exactly what we have to do in case of an emergency: all the code words, where to go, what to pack. Elder Young was able to give testimony of the importance of being prepared in Chile.
The 18th of September happened again (the day of getting drunk and celebrating the birth of Chile). We ate at a BBQ with a family of less actives. It was fun, but they made so much food that took so long to cook that I felt a little sick after. One thing that did happen that was funny though: the 18th is the only time in the year that one is allowed to drink in the street, and many people take advantage of it. We had just left our pension, and we saw a guy ahead of us, obviously drunk. He had two beers in this hand and staggered a little while he walked. He saw us, and put his beers on the ground, stopping in front of us, obviously wanting to talk. Drunks do that fairly often, and general they have a purpose; usually to thank us and kiss our hand and throw us their two cents about God. He was of this kind, which was a little annoying, because they are hard to get away from. We were late, so I gave him a card of Jesus Christ, which they almost always like. He took the card, and said, “This is a beautiful picture. But it is just a picture. I, I am a beautiful man.” Then he looked at my companion. “And you, you have beautiful eyes.” And then he looked at me, “And you… you look like a good person.” I have never been so insulted in all my life. We laughed about it all night.
Yesterday, my comp and the companion of the other missionary, Elder Arrua, got sick, so Elder Arrua and I left to work and not waste the day. We went to a recent convert named Miqueas with a woman named Magali, who practices Reiki. Reiki is an alternative medicine, where “bad” energy is taken our and “good” energy is redirected. This happens over a series of sessions. It was one of the weirdest things that I have ever seen. Magali is Mormon, so she kept it within the bounds of reason, but it was hard not to laugh. What made it worse was that Miqueas an old, single man and has a crush on Magali. She would say things like, “I won’t touch you with my hands, because I think that that is intrusive,” and he would say, “Well, seriously, I don’t mind.” Weird. But funny. I took notes on how to do it. I would suggest looking it up, if you don’t know what it is. While I was taking notes and drinking my peach juice in the house, struggling not to laugh at the scene before me, it occurred to me just how much fun missionary work is.
Love you all.