Monday, December 12, 2011


Beautiful Stained Glass
Earthquake damage to the church.

Wall Mural
My first week in Chipangcingo we visited a elderly couple up on their hill. They hadn't gone to church in two or three months. We asked why and they told us it was because they were visiting his brother Thomas that was sick with cancer in Acapulco every Sunday. We challenged them to read more of the Book of Mormon and to continue praying. End of visit.
9 Dec 2011
Wake up ready for a great day ahead of me. Service project with the whole zone. This means we “have the privilege” of wearing street clothes almost all day. I slip on my jeans, stripling warrior superman shirt and am ready to go. We leave at 7:30 to take two vans over to the other side of Chipo. We arrive at the church and then go with the other twenty elders and four sisters to a park to do service. The tools were not there yet so we started to play a huge game of Hacky Sack. At about 10:30, and hour and a half hour later, the bishop calls. I stopped playing my elementary school game and step back into real life. “You two need to go give a blessing to a man that is dying.” The bishop told us. “ok” Elder Johansen said. We started to look for a taxi to get there as quick as possible. The bishop forgot to give Elder Johansen the name and address, being the great mouse detective that I am I said lets go find a pay phone first, so we found a pay phone and got that info.

After about a 25 minute ride through the maze of Chipancingo, over the hill and through some dust we arrived. Hopped out and a hermana was outside waiting for us. She pointed behind us and right when we turned around it hit us both who we were really visiting. We started power walking up the dirt road and reached the wooden home. “¡Buenas Tardes!” we yelled. We tried twice. Stubbling throught the door the hermana appeared. “Pasenle.”(come in or pass) She said. We enter….

We hear the hermanos voice. “ya afeicio” (just died). So in the moment we get to the house he dies. Interesting. We get into the house and I don’t see anyone lying down on a bed sick. In the back of the front room a door swings open and I see the hermano in the bathroom with plastic gloves on. He moves to the side and I see these twig like legs. I move closer to the door, it finally hits the hermana that she has a dead man in her house and she starts screaming frantically. I offer her a hand and tell her to calm down. (Nicely). I took a deep breath and told my self to man up. I asked for plastic gloves, put them on and jump up the step into the bathroom.

Now seeing all the dead man. His stomach didn't look like he had one. I could see his rib cage, my eyes moved up to his face he has a cancer beard. Basically looks like rocks with red holes. He is slumped down in this goblit like chair. They had been bathing him to get the blood of his chest. The smell was horrible. Later I found out it was the medicine they were using to clean him. A prep for death. We were moving fast now, drying him off. The hermana was back in, helping put his pants on. His head rolling around the back of the chair, mouth wide open. Next the shirt. The hermana had an easy time with the left arm but I could not seem to get the right one through the whole. (It was good practice for my future children.) Finally he was dressed. We went out of the bathroom and right outside. Hermana wanted to bring him out and place him on the ground.

I found what was once this mans bed, taking off the blankets I found an old sleeping bag. I take it off the wood and mattress and lay it on the ground. Elder Johansen straightened it out. Going back into the bathroom I discussed with dead mans brother how we should carry him out. I suggested lifting up the chair. It didn’t fit through the door. We sat him back down and I suggested to carry him like a baby but Elder Johansen took the inititive and grabbed his legs. The hermana grabbing under the right arm pit, me on the left. Hermano could not fit through the door so I grabbed hold of the other arm pit too. We get out the bath room and I look down just as the mans head drops back and his eyes lids open. I could see his glazed eyes rolling back. We get through the door and position ourselves to lay him down. First the feet then his mid section, putting my hand under his head like a baby I lay him down. The Hermana is frantically running around to find something to cover up the body. She finally comes out with a rainbow bed sheet. Elder Johansen helps her put it over the body.

We discuss with the dead mans brother what we could do and he said to say a prayer. So we all gathered around in the living room and calming the hermana down I said a prayer. We then left and went on with our day.


We cut our language study short to go the funeral at 11. We walk again up the dusty road to the house. When we arrive everyone is eating soup. We move through the house to where we laid the man down the day before. He was then in a, what seemed to be a cardboard casket, maybe it wasn’t. It was black and gray, a box with a pyramid like thing. There was a 3 inch by 3 feet plastic cover to look in to see him. He was still in the same clothes and the rainbow sheet was still over him. We then asked if there was anything we could do. They in turn, asked a question , would you like to eat lunch? Are you hungry? So we ate soup and then left. Nothing else to do there.

That night after having a Joseph Smith and John Tanner movie night with the family of Victor we went to the privada to eat dinner with Hermano Jose. I had a feeling we should talk to the bishop so we knocked on the door and were invited in. Sitting down we started telling the story of the dead man in the bathroom. All of a sudden the room started to shake a little. I thought it was just a huge truck passing by. Then the next thought I had was that we were in the privada, no trucks pass here.

The bishop then hops up and starts yelling “FUERA” really loud. It gets worse. Elder Johansen and I are trying to look for safe spots like they taught us in elementary school but the bishop insisted really loudly we get out of the house. I climb up the stairs and walk past the table my hand guiding me to the kitchen. I reach the kitchen door when the lights go out. The walls start swaying back and forth. I get through the back door and think about what would Dad do in this situation. Elder Johansen calls my name in front of me and I run to join the group in-between two houses.

After the earthquake everyone was trying to make calls to family members and friends. I have heard a lot of stories from members that were in JC PENNY and in the movie theatre.

I am just happy to be alive. Apparently it was the biggest earthquake since 1985. What an amazing weekend it was. We are now awaiting the after shock…if there is one. A hermana in church got really emotional over the pulpit and started declaring repentance. It was the topic of the day.

Other than that I did divisions with Elder Hancock, he plays receiver for Air Force. Yeah, I didn’t enjoy doing exercise next to him. WOW. We found a lot of people this last week and are really this area is really progressing.

Btw, Happy Guadalupe day.

Love Elder Chadwick

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