"Being together is like catching a sunbeam; each new memory we make reflects light hinting there is more to see and know."

March 20, 2016

Week 56 ~ The Lord Knows Our Needs

Joe wanted to share a personal story about the Big One in 2007 as it is still very real for these people. We feel an earthquake in the office at least once a month. Even when we were touring the catacomb passages under the great cathedral, we had an uneasy feeling being caught in an earthquake. There was an earthquake measuring 8.0 that hit the coast of Peru on August 15, 2007. The epicenter was in Pisco, about three hours south of Lima, where 519 people were killed and 1,366 wounded. There were almost 60,000 homes destroyed. Here’s a personal story.

Earthquake 2007

We had asked our co-worker Miguel about Francisco Fierro who I sit next to.  Francisco’s son Francisco has been coming into the office the past few days to have his dad help him with an application to LDS Business College.  The application is quite extensive and, sometimes, complicated.  From time to time I help them interpret the language. We were trying to get some more information about Francisco and his family and life.

I knew that Francisco had been a mission president but didn’t know where.  Since he wasn’t there at the moment I turned to Miguel who knows a lot about everyone in the office and asked him if he could tell me a little more about Francisco.  I learned he was originally from Ecuador and had moved to Peru when He was called as a mission president.  He also had been a stake president.  He was the mission president of the Lima Peru south mission during the time Peru, the Lima area especially, was struck by a devastating earthquake in 2007.

At that time Miguel’s son was serving a mission in Pisco and Francisco was his mission president.  What a connection and one of the many reasons, I have discovered over time, that these people are so close and tender one for another.  They have traveled through some very great trials together. 

So the earthquake hit. It was a devastating experience and many, many lost their lives and tens of thousands lost their homes. Miguel related a story of how a family he is now very close to had three children, a young son, and two older daughters, of about 12 and 9 yrs. old in 2007.  The mother had just left the house with one of the daughters to do visiting teaching to a sister. She was taking over a birthday cake she had made for the sister's daughter, taking her daughter with her of the same age. She left the other two children home. She called her husband who was at the stake center preparing for a stake meeting as he was serving in the stake presidency. She told him she would be out and the two children would be home.

At 6:41pm, the earthquake hit with devastating impact.  Miguel said it was like the heavens opened and the earth fell through.  The children in the house (one 4 and one 9) were terrified as the house began to crumble around them.  They ran to the bedroom and scrambled under the bed, horrified as they knew their house was falling apart.  The earthquake lasted a total of three minutes . . . three long minutes.

Both mother and father were on an errand for the Lord when the quake hit, both were serving.

The father ran home as quickly as he could manage the rubble knowing the children were left in the house, fearing what he may find. The children were outside the home when he arrived. When he walked around the house, it was totally destroyed, every room where nothing could be saved BUT in the bedroom where the children were, it was as though nothing had happened. The pictures were still hanging straight on the walls, vases and other things still as before the quake.  There was a large, old-style TV on the dresser that didn't move. That was when the little four-year-old boy said to his father, "There were two men who came to our room who were dressed in white. They told us to stay where we were and we would be safe."

Even today, the children relate how in the midst of that terrifying day, two young men, dressed in white, came to them and comforted them. In the midst of the noise, terror, and shaking and in the darkness and dust, they looked out from under the bed to see the two men dressed in white.  .  

As Miguel told us this story he shed tears along with us.  He knows the family well and says that they are still as humble and faithful as always.  I was privileged to talk with Antonio Bello a few days later and hear the story in his own words. As he spoke, I could feel the love of God flowing through his words to us. Our Heavenly Father is very aware of his children and is always there to help us.

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