The life is starting to get back to normal here, well as normal as it can get with half of the hills burnt away. Studies started up again, therefore there aren´t quite as many people serving in the hills like before. Most of the burnt debris has been brought to the bottom and now we are in the process of constructing little houses called ¨Media Aguas¨, which are one room homes with enough space to put two three men tents. There is no bathroom, but it´s mainly there so that the people have an acual roof over their heads. The reconstruction of the houses will take months and months, but the people needed shelter for the rain that comes with the winter. Most of those who lost their houses have gone relative´s houses but there are still many who won´t give up their land, therefore they have been camping out ever since the fire. Truly dedicated to recovering their life.
I want to share a little story about one family who lost their house. The mom, Brenda, is a member of the Church but had been inactive for MANY years. She now has two daughters, one of 12 years and the other of 5. On the night of the fire, she and her two daughters ran to the only place of shelter, the chapel. She said that it was pure chaos outside, but once she entered the building´s doors peace was found. Nothing could be heard from outside and she and her daughters slept peacefully. The next morning they stayed for the sacrament meeting and were comforted by all the members. Her brother and his family, who are strongly active, took them into their home and cared for them the entire week. During the week, we began passing by and teaching Macarena, the 12 year old daughter. Now she has a baptismal date for the 4th of April and her uncle will baptism her. We also began teaching Brenda more and helping her put her life back together. She is expecting another baby and plans to be married with her boyfriend by the end of the year. Even though she literally lost all her physical possessions in the fire, she says that right now is the happiest time of her life. She can not remember any other time when she was more happier. The Lord´s purposes are unimaginable. We can always rely on Him. There is no trial too tough that will lead us off His path. Everything depends on our own decisions and how were exercise our agency.
Yesterday at 9 p.m, all of the residents of Valparaiso ran out of their houses clapping their hands in thankfulness for those who sacrificed time and talents in repairing Valparaiso. A moment that I will never forget. Shouts of thanks were heard from every single hill.
Love you all!
Photo: My dirty face after a day of service.