The Santiago Temple Stands Firm During the Chile Earthquake

03/01/2010 Update: New York Times Photo Gallery of the Earthquake

I thought you all might be interested in this—an account of the Chile earthquake from the Santiago Temple President’s wife.

…we heard from our Santiago Temple President, Tom & Cheryl Lyon, written by his wife, Cheryl:

Thanks to all of you who have emailed your concern for us. We can state unequivocally that we’re fine. We can also state with the same emphasis that riding through that quake in our rocking fourth-floor apartment was for me the scariest experience I’ve ever been through!

I was sure we were about to die – that either the ceiling would fall on us or that we’d collapse through the floor. It truly was an emotion I’d never experienced before. My whole body shook for the next two hours, and after that I couldn’t stop crying.

We didn’t even have the presence of mind to get out of bed during the quake. I felt paralyzed, staring at the ceiling and wondering when the earth would stop rolling. It was the longest two minutes of our lives! We could hear things falling out of cupboards, and pictures falling off the walls. But the sound and the movement was the worst.

Our sturdy building held up fine. Just lots of dust and a few broken dishes. But elsewhere, as I’m sure you’ve seen on the news, people didn’t fare as well. Lots of damage. Virtually no stores open. Most parts of Santiago still have no electricity. Collapsed overpasses have closed major highways. The airport is closed because of damage, and planes have been rerouted to northern Chile or to Argentina. Our new missionary doctor was to arrive this morning, so I don’t know where he and his wife have ended up.

What a joy to walk into the temple and find it in perfect condition. We just had to close a few drawers and straighten a few crooked pictures. It felt so good to be there in that peaceful refuge and find normality. Moroni did lose his trumpet, however! That was the only noticeable damage.

How grateful we are for how well the Church takes care of us. We’ve often thought the 24-hour emergency lights in our building were excessive, but we were surely thankful for them at 3:30 this morning as everyone was evacuating the building – including the missionaries downstairs in the MTC. It was so disconcerting to get out of bed in the dark and stumble over fallen items in the bathroom. We got just a taste of what the Haitians have suffered, though their damage and deaths have been so much more devastating, even though their quake a weaker one. So far here they’re reporting 123 deaths, but we assume the toll will climb.

We had to decide what to do about the temple. We had every session booked for the day, and wondered if people would arrive. We met with one of Tom’s counselors – who had arrived at 5:00 for the early shift, as faithful as ever – and our registrar. We knew it would be difficult for the employees and workers to get to the temple and there was not electricity at the time. One faithful laundry sister came a great distance to help, but there was no gas for the dryers, so she had baptismal clothes from last night lying out all over the laundry.

The temple has an emergency generator which roars into action the second the power goes out. But we learned that it runs on petroleum which lasts only four hours. By 8 a.m. we knew we were about to go dark again, so we made the decision to simply close the temple for the day. Then, just in the second that the lights began to dim, the power came back on! (We’ve learned since that we’re the only section of Santiago that has power yet.) So then we decided to hold just one session, since we had three out-of-town couples staying in the hospedaje who were expecting to receive their endowments and be sealed today. We mustered all the missionary couples, along with a group of faithful sisters who work the late shift on Fridays and then stay over for the Sat morning shift. We had a most moving morning. The quake had brought such a sense of unity to workers and patrons, and the Spirit was amazing. I’ve seldom had such a moving experience at the veil – with three consecutive young sisters who were receiving their endowments.

Right now we’re sleep-deprived, and Tom has already gone back to bed. The stress has left us exhausted – but we’re alive and well! We’re still feeling aftershocks – called “replicas” in Spanish. They’re reported about 25 of them. One just rolled by as I was writing this.

So, that’s the report. After some rest we may venture out and about to see what we can see.

Thanks for your love and concern.

Tom and Cheryl
President of the Santiago Temple

The Parables of Christ

In my institute class we are going through the different parables of Christ found in the New Testament. Below is what we have documented, but there are disagreements among bible scholars on the official count of the parables. Anyway, I asked the teacher to email me the below handout for the benefit of everyone else. All the scriptures are linked to the scripture database at May you find your precious coin as you read these.

Parables of Christ in the New Testament

  1. Barren Fig Tree – Luke 13:6–9
  2. Chief Seats – Luke 14:7–11
  3. Empty House – Matthew 12:43–54; Luke 12:24–26
  4. Foolish Rich Man – Luke 12:13–21
  5. Friend at Midnight – Luke 11:5–13
  6. Good Samaritan – Luke 10:25–37
  7. Gospel Net – Matthew 13:47–50
  8. Great Supper – Luke 14:16–24
  9. Hidden Treasure – Matthew 13:44
  10. King’s Warfare – Luke 14:31–33
  11. Laborers in the Vineyard – Matthew 19:2720:16
  12. Leaven – Matthew 13:33
  13. Lost Coin – Luke 15:8–9
  14. Lost Sheep – Luke 15:1–7
  15. Lost (Prodigal) Son – Luke 15: 11–32
  16. Man Taking a Far Journey – Mark 13:34–37
  17. Mustard Seed – Matthew 13:31–32
  18. Pearl of Great Price – Matthew 13:45–46
  19. Pharisee and Publican – Luke 18:9–14
  20. Pounds – Luke 19:11–27
  21. Rich Man and Lazarus – Luke 16:19–31
  22. Royal Marriage Feast – Matthew 22:1–14
  23. Sheep and the Goats – Matthew 25:31–46
  24. Shut Door – Luke 13:23–30
  25. Talents – Matthew 25:14–30
  26. Ten Virgins – Matthew 25:1–13
  27. Treasures New and Old – Matthew 13:51–52
  28. Two Debtors – Luke 7:36–50
  29. Two Sons – Matthew 21:28–32
  30. Seed Growing Secretly – Mark 4:26–29
  31. Sower – Matthew 13:1–9, 18:23; Mark 4:1–8, 14–20; Luke 8:5–8, 11–15
  32. Uncompleted Tour – Luke 14:25–30
  33. Unjust Judge – Luke 18:1–8
  34. Unjust Steward – Luke 16:1–13
  35. Unmerciful Servant – Matthew 18:21–35
  36. Unprofitable Servant – Luke 17:5–10
  37. Wheat and Tares – Matthew 13:24–30, 36–43
  38. Wicked Husbandman – Matthew 21:33–46; Mark 12:1–12, Luke 20:9–18

Parables of Christ in the Doctrine and Covenants

  1. Twelve Sons – D&C 38:26–27
  2. Labors in the Field – D&C 88:51–61
  3. Nobleman – D&C 101:43–62
  4. Woman and Unjust Judge – D&C 101:81–91

Hope Arises from the Ruins of Haiti

I’m not sure who to credit for recording these tender moments in time. This article truly is a great example of how the Lord gives light to his children in their darkest moments! ~Paul W.

Much of Haiti lies in rubble. Collapsed roofs lie at angles, smashed against the floor below them. Cinder blocks slant in heaps along the roads. Some streets in Port-au-Prince look like old pictures of bombed-out Berlin after World War II. It’s a horror, an apocalypse.

Yet, amidst a shoddy neighborhood stands a jewel, the Croix-des-Missions LDS church and sounding through the air is a hymn: How Firm a Foundation.

It is a particularly well-chosen song in a land whose physical foundations could not stand the earth’s tremors, but whose Latter-day Saints have proven to be remarkably resilient. They know that though all but a handful have lost their homes, their foundation is in the gospel of Jesus Christ and that is firm.

Attending the 3-hour church block on Sunday felt remarkably normal to us. There were the Saints dressed well, many in crisp, white shirts that looked newly ironed. The deacons wore their white shirts and ties as they reverently passed the sacrament.

How can this be? Without homes, they are living on the street in hastily-assembled, makeshift shelters on any flat land that is available. Their walls may be sheets hung over ropes or pieces of cardboard. Their beds are concrete or hard earth. Everything they owned—and that already wasn’t much—has been stripped from them by an initial quake that lasted about 45 seconds and after shocks that continued for days.

Haiti, right now and for the foreseeable future, is a land sleeping out. People fill the church’s courtyards at night—and instead of woe, they laugh and talk. They have shanties on the median strip between two lanes of riotous traffic.

We asked member after member, how can you be so beautifully groomed on Sunday, given your conditions? They answered that because most everyone is now living in the street, they are indeed dirty during the week, plagued by all the ills that befalls a newly-made street person, but, they added that though they had no water to drink, they had water good enough to wash their clothes.

So there they were singing about what really is their firm foundation and looking like any other LDS congregation across the world—except they are homeless.
Their Lessons and Talks

That is not all. Their lessons and talks were sophisticated and scripturally based, as if they had a library and computer at their fingertips to prepare instead of the side of the road.

The sacrament meeting began with strains of “Come, come ye Saints, no toil, nor labor fear, but with joy wend your way.” For most of us who come from other nations, we would be hard-pressed to find joy in impoverished and broken Haiti before the earthquake, let alone now, but they sang like they meant it, “Happy day, all is well.”

They prayed, “We are all thankful to be counted among the living. We are grateful to know of thy truth. There are many outside the walls of this church who do not have this truth to sustain them through the trials. We know we were kept alive because we have a mission to complete. Bless us all that we can be strong and take care of each other.”

We listened tearfully. The sacrament was passed and each of the seven children sitting on the row next to us took not a single piece of bread but a scoop each. They are hungry.

Then we heard a talk, a surprising, enriching talk from France Nathalie Desir—so beautifully done.
She told the audience:
“For some of the adversity we face, we can place the weight on our own shoulders because we are not obeying God’s laws. That adversity we can control, but there are some kinds of adversity we can’t control like the earthquake. We didn’t do anything to attract it. We all had friends and families who were killed. A lot of people are discouraged and have lost faith, but we as members of the Church now have a mission.

“We know why we have adversities. They are to make us stronger. We have the freedom to either let them overcome us or to make us strong. Just as we send little children to school, the Lord has sent us here for a school.

“Our big enemy is our pride that keeps us from loving our neighbour and obeying the commandments…Since January 12, we all have experienced sleeping outside. As I was lying in the courtyard looking up at the stars, I knew this was the time to manifest charity and mourn with those who mourn, give food to those who need food.

“We have a certain joy, and the joy is knowing these things are temporary. The trials we are given on earth are for us, and the Lord knows everything we are going through and they are to augment our faith and bring us to God.”