alrighty! where to start... so many details to include! We came here to Taltal on teusday in the morning. we arrived at about 9 o clock to haveexchanges with Elder Fakahafua and Elder Walker up here. the night before it had rained in chañaral but it was one of those 10 minute rains that just left lots of puddles because we arent prepared for rain here in the north. so we had a good day. learned lots. Elder Walker is awesome. he is a super super special Elder. like an angel. He loves everyone. the whole day was cloudy and we ended up walking almost all day because nobody wanted to listen to us, but we took advatage of our time in the street to talk to lots of people and set up a few appointments for them during the week. got back to the house and almost immediately it started raining. itwas a normal amount of rain... it was a lot for what it rains here but it wasnt like some of the rain that i felt in mexico. we went to bed like normal and called it a day. when we got up in the morning... it was still raining! and there was a ditch size stream of water running down the road by our house. we called the elders in chañaral to ask how our house was there... it was fine. the Sister missionaries in the branch called us to tell us that their house was full of water and so we went into action mode to get poeple help and we left ourselves to go work. we went to an old ladies house that was full of water and built her a little canal to make the rain go out the door insterad of go all over the house. so she was ok. then it was 9 o clock and our bus was leaving at 10 so we ran back to the house got changed got ourstuff together and got down to the bus station and the other elders went to the sisters house to help them out. while we were helping the old lady the phones had cut so we were without communication... and we went down to the bus station that was all closed up, also full of water. and waited for a while jsut in case the bus was coming. it never did. so we were lost in this city without a phone, keys to the house or anyone that we knew... we decided after a bit to go up to a members house that the elders had showed us and try to find it... and as we were passing a bank a lady called out "goodbye Elders of Israel" YYYYYYAAAAAAAAAAAYYYYYYYYYYYYY salvation!!! we talked to her and she gave us a map to her house wehre we found her husband who helped us out with a place to leave the bag and a place to change clothes. and a map to find the siters house to get back together with the other elders!
we hleped out the hermanas for a while and got them moved out of their house where the roof was falling in. and had the opportunity to go on a ride on the upper part of the city where the rain had caused quite a bit of erosion but all was well. the phones finally kicked back on in the afternoon and thats when we learned that Chañaral was destroyed. the river of water and mud that had come down had filled up the downtown part of the city, and destroyed porpoerty and many houses. as well as ruining basically anything that was downtown, like a few of the stores of members here. wow.... that was really hard for us to hear. but thats how it was. we wanted to get back to our city to hlep them all out... but the roads were all destroyed form the water. we talked to president dalton and he told us we needed to stay put in taltal... darn... so we went to work. at the end of the day we got invited to drink hot chocolate in a members house and we took a break to drink a bit to warm up from the wet clothes (the rain had stopped in the afternoon at like 6). we left to head back home and as we left the house the firemen announced that there was more water coming down and that it was going to flow down this street so they needed to move their cars. then we went over a hill and saw the same thing happening. as we crossed that street we saw that the wave of muddy water (more mud than water) was coming down. about a block away but it didnt seem to serious so we just kept going home. the next morning we got up and worked like normal went out to try and find people and by food becaus ethey had told us that the roads were gonna be closed for 10 to 15 days... so we went and got food as fast as we could to be able to survive for that amount of time in case of emergency. no body really wanted to listen and in our search for people we came over a hill to see what that tiny wave of mud was last night... the entire entrance of the city was a moving piece of mud. sooo much. there were trucks and houses eaten by the mud. carrying things down it. here in the north everybody used to build in the valleys next to the sea so they had fresh water and the ability to fish for a living and have a little bit of agriculture from the river to feed themselves. the rivers have been dried up since the mines came around but the river beds are still there. and when it rains a lot thats what fills up. but what had happened its that they had built these giant dams to take in the major part of the water so that it didnt destroy the city. but they got clogged by the litter and stuff that people had sent up their and they broke, and sent waves of mud and water down towards the city. i have some videos and pictures of that... madness. so the next day the mud flow had stopped enough to be able to cross the city and we went to town imeediately to start getitng mud and stuff out of peoples houses... i dont have that many pictures because... i was a littel busy and dirty. but we had a party. i was TIRED!!! plus... we had only brought a pair of sweats, slippers, an extra pair of socks and undies and what we had on... so i was wearing crocks... and Elder Fakahafuas clothes hahaha. but the crocks just got stuck everywhere so i had to take them off and carry them... mnaaaannnnn my feat were so sore. i have baby feet and i was walking on.... it hurt. i got to the house. washed my feet and just layed down from relief because it hurt so bad. but we made it. that was the biggest day of work. and we got to eat peruvian food with the branch president here so that was super happy! yay. then that night president dalton showed up with his wife in two trucks full of food! and he gave us a little biut of money for emergencies. and the next day i bought some really cheap tennis shoes with it... that was also heavenly... then on sturday we worked again in the morning and in the afternoon another truck chuck full of food got here from antofagasta... i forgot to say this... we have light here, but we havent had water since thursday night. which was a blessing from God. because we got back from working took showers, and washed clothes... the few that we had. and then there was no more water. i was so happy. on sunday President Dalton came to our church on his way to Chañaral and we had to speak in church... they let us know about 5 minutes before. so i was really greatful for moms advice on how to prepare a talk. it turned out really well i thought. i was able to throw out a REALLLLLLLY rough outline. and just kinda follow the spirit haha. but it was a good talk i felt like. then we went to work organizing the rest of the stuff and sending it out to the people who needed it or the rest of the afternoon. and ate with an hermana that i love just because she gave us such good food and really just pampered us even though there was no water. i was really grateful to her.
and today we finally got cell phone coverage back in chañaral so i was able to talk to them again... and presidnet called us, he was gonna take us out of the zone and send us to another place for the next few weeks... which would have been nice on one end... but the branch president in chañaral se puso choro y le dijo que no no mas. teniamos que volver y que el mismo iba a venir a taltal a buscarnos... is coming to get us, we get to go back to chañaral on wednesday!!!!!! yayayayayayayay! im so happy. we are gonna have a lot more work to do there because they are way worse off but im so happy to be bale to go over there and help out my peeps.
im grateful for the blessing that i have recieved. i feel like we needed to be here tal tal... for a lot of reasons. but especially just because we were able to communicate with the people in chañaral because they havent had cell phones until today. i was able to call a member who by soime miracle had service and could give me updates. it was important for us to be here. God has a perfect plan for all of us. i have said it before and i will keep saying it forever.
Have a great week! dont worry about me! there is lots of work to do but the situation is under control! plus, in chañaral they have water and electricity. and we dont have it here. so now we are anxiously waiting wednesday! love you!