Monday, March 30, 2015

Mud Mud Mud and Miracles

Hola amigos y familia,

This has been probably the most interesting week on the mission.

We heard rumors that it might rain this past week, exciting news for the driest place on earth.  Tuesday came with some thunderstorms and light rain.  We took photos and played around for a bit thinking it was over.

Not even close.

Rain poured and quickly accumulated.  Wednesday morning we received a call to stay in the apartment and not to leave except for lunch at our mamita's house.  Little did we know the downtown was being destroyed by the overflowing Copiapo River that hadn’t had a drop of water in it for over 17 years.

One fortunate may I say miraculous event was that our Church flooded with water and mud, but only on the tiled floors in the hallways and classrooms.  No mud entered the chapel where it is carpeted.

For our safety, we’ve been stuck in the apartment for 5 days with nothing to do.  We live on a hill on the outskirts of the city--once a bother and now a blessing! We are the lucky missionaries who have water, electricity, and no damage. But we can’t drink the water.  It’s mixed with the sewer water now and to reverse that, its like half chlorine.  Taking a shower feels like I just got done with swimming practice. Luckily the government is supplying bottled water very inexpensively to drink.  There are some missionaries in other areas that have been moved out of their cities for a while because of the destruction.

Outside it’s been a little like an end of the world scenario (not as extreme, of course).  Lines of hundreds of people trying to get gas.  Trash piling up on all sides of the streets.  We went to a mini super market to try and buy bread.  The whole store had been turned upside down with food strewn across the floor and the shelves empty. Everything gone except the beer (that’s a first!!).  I’m still waiting for the zombies to show up haha.

We did the service we could, trying to collect materials for other members and put up refugee locations in the chapels.  Church was cancelled so we visited a few widows to give them the sacrament.

We finally received permission to go down into town again to buy more food.  It was pretty hectic with streets filled with mud and stressed out people.  Goodbye shoes!  They were limiting how much food you could buy and had military guards walking the aisles.  Then was the 45 min walk back through the foot thick mud up to the apartment.  We are all pretty beat from the trek.

Interesting week, right?  But it has given me time to read, think, play with water guns (we got desperate), and see what happens when everything goes wrong.

Conclusion:  we never know what will happen.  NOBODY here thought the dry dry dry river would one day flood the town with water and mud. But it did. The members here who followed the prophets’ counsel to have food storage and financial reserves weren’t only just fine but they could help other people.  We must be prepared for the floods of life even when there isn’t a cloud in the sky.

I’m safe and well and very blessed.

Everything is awesome, SOAKING WET, AND MUDDY!

Elder Phillips

Mud, Mud, And More Mud

Downtown Park

Outside of LDS Church

Inside Hallway at Church

No Mud In The Chapel!

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