For Luke things started around 9am. I was sick so I stayed home with Emily. Luke took the kids and headed down for our church service at 10am.
Can I stop right here?
I have to say one of the biggest blessings was that all this happened on a Saturday during our normal meeting time. When the quake hit we didn't have to wonder where everyone was. It is very difficult finding people. No one is in there homes and everyone is sleeping outside or where ever they can find some sort of shelter that won't fall on them if it hits again.
They had just started the Bible Study and Luke was speaking. The quake hit and they all dove for the ground. They pushed the kids under the bench. Luke started praying, everyone was praying out loud, scared the building would fall on them. Wikipedia says the quake lasted only 20 seconds, but definitely the longest 20 seconds we have ever experienced.
The second it was over they ran outside to an open field nearby.
Luke left the kids with our church people and ran to see if I was okay. That is when he took me to the field near our house. I'm on the blanket right in the middle.
This wasn't even 1/4 of the people that were around us.
It was hard being away and apart from one another during all the aftershocks, but I knew we were in God's hands. I still cannot begin to describe how God answered my simple plea for help, "God give me peace". The amount he gave wasn't "just enough" but an overflow.
After 4 hours the tremors seemed to be somewhat spread out so they felt it was safe enough to bring the kids to my field so we could all be together. It was such a relief seeing my kids.
During some of this time Luke and one man from our church went out to help in some of the nearby areas. They found some men who were on motorcycles as the quake hit and a wall had fallen on them. They didn't make it.
They were able to buy some water and cups and pass it out to those around us.
Soon we decided it wasn't safe to go back to the house for a while and that we were definitely sleeping outside. Luke went to our house and grabbed our earthquake survival kit (which I am so thankful I made), some more blankets and a handful of things.
After some walking we found a place close to our house that we could stay at.
These 2 spots were ours. We had 13 people with us 9 adults and our 4 kids.
It had bamboo poles and a tin roof. Bamboo is actually very strong in an earthquake because it already has a lot of natural give to it. We were so thankful for the roof as it rained quite a bit while we were outside.
This is how we slept for 3 nights. I am further back in the picture with the pink top. We had 9 adults and 4 kids sleeping on a queen size blanket and a twin size blanket turned sideways. I'm so glad we could all be together. It was a big comfort being surrounded by people that we loved and with people that loved us.
We had about a 4 hour break from tremors. We settled down to sleep and a big tremor came. Before people were in shock now people just had fear, every time one would come everyone would scream and yell "aiyo, aiyo" "it's coming, it's coming". That first night we had tremors every hour. The kids were terrified. One time one came Abby, she was sleeping next to me--but I couldn't grab her in time, she lunged into a stranger's arms next to us and wouldn't let go. He just held her and rocked her. Everyone was so jumpy. Luke stayed up all night with one of the other men from our church so he could grab us if needed. It was hard.