To help my children process the traumatic event of living through a major earthquake, this week we are doing an earthquake unit study. Part of that study is for them to tell their story, thus giving them an opportunity to voice their fears and vocalize their experience.
On April 25th, Saturday 11:55, my mom, brother, a few new kids that came, and I were doing class at our church. Mom was teaching about Moses and the burning bush. Suddenly the ground started to shake and I said,” Mom!” She stopped and looked at me questioningly. Then we all felt it. Now we had nothing to hide under so Mom told us to get out to the next room.
When we came out the whole church was twisting and turning. I ran for cover under a plastic table, the best I had at the time, and held on to two young girls close to me. Their I was a little scared during the earthquake. I guess I didn’t have time to think about it. I simply said,” Keep us safe God. Keep us safe.”
When the ground stopped shaking for a minute, we ran out of the church; I didn’t have time to grab my shoes. I ran down the stairs and out the door. All I could see was a big cloud of dust. By the time the dust settled, the ground started shaking again. We headed to a safe spot, away from buildings and power lines.
I looked down and saw I still had my Bible in hand. I knew I would make good use of it. People were out in the fields crying and moaning. My heart throbbed to go and talk to them and comfort them in any way I could comfort a non-Christian. Dad saw people searching for something and went to help them; but when he found out that it was a cow, we went in search for people in real need.
As we went down the street, Mom asked me if I needed to use her shoes because my feet might get cut on glass in the road but I said no. I’ve always gone barefoot outside. We reached a house and started helping, well, they did. Dad said for Gabriel and I to sit down near a tree. It was then I deemed it time to read His Word. I remembered a memory verse we had memorized, Nahum 1:7,” The LORD is good, a strong hold in the day of trouble…”
(Picture from a village beside ours.)
They continued helping until found some people under the rocks. Mom brought us to a place where we could not see those who died. After, we returned to the church and Dad went to help more people who needed to go to the hospital. We sat and waited for him to return. Ben and Isahaak went into the church quickly to get our stuff from inside the church. Some of the people I saw sometimes from the window in our church came and I spoke to them to pass the time. Ben and Baktha went and got some Raman noodles for lunch. When Dad returned we got in the car and left. All around there was destroyed homes and buildings. When we got home, we saw our house seemed normal and all the houses nearby. Our dogs, Chief and Momo, were very excited to see that we were ok. The earthquake alarm, which we had installed a week before, was going crazy. I was very thankful when Dad said that we were going to sleep outside; I was very scared by the thought that we might be sleeping inside. That night Dad slept on his recliner which he brought outside and Mom on the patio swing. We kids slept in the car. I got around five hours of sleep, while everyone else got some 30 minutes. Give me a pillow and blanket and I CAN sleep!! It was ONLY by God’s everlasting and wonderful grace that my family and I are still living today. It was ONLY God’s grace that our church is still standing today, and our home is able to help those in need.
(Footnote... just so you don't think I am a terrible mommy, I did end up forcing her to take my shoes, I took the shoes Gabriel had on, and Ben carried Gabe. :-) )