“Nicaraguan Saints Rebuild in Spirit of Brotherhood,” Ensign, Mar. 1973, 66
As the people of Managua, Nicaragua, recover from the shock of losing most of their city in an earthquake two days before Christmas, “There is no doubt in the minds of members and missionaries that they were preserved by the hand of the Lord,” according to President Quinten Hunsaker of the Central America Mission.
In a special report to the Ensign, President Hunsaker said that many people are moving back to the outlying areas of the city. It was originally thought that the entire city of 400,000 persons would have to be razed, but now some 200 square blocks of the downtown area are being cleared and the remainder of the city will be repaired.
“The government is clearing away all debris, getting down to the bare rock,” he said. “Most of the members’ homes were completely destroyed. However, the Managua Branch chapel can be repaired. Most of the walls are down, but the roof stayed up because the beams and supports held. It will be a matter of rebuilding the walls and replacing some of the damaged furniture. So far, local authorities have not given us permission to meet in the chapel, so the members are meeting on the lawn outside. The house used for a chapel in the Managua Second Branch was destroyed, and the members are meeting in the branch president’s home.
“We are still providing the Saints with food and other supplies they need, and we may have to do so for many months to come, but now that the initial shock has worn off, the Saints are getting together to help each other rebuild their homes. They are working together in real gospel brotherhood. We will have to maintain our food supplies because no stores are open—they were destroyed—and the only other sources of supply are the government and the International Red Cross.
“In the outlying areas,” President Hunsaker continued, “some factories are reopening, so some people can go back to work. Of course, when everything is organized and the funds are available, the reconstruction of the city will provide a great deal of work.
“From what we found out, no active members sustained deaths, and there were few injuries. The injuries we know of were slight except for one sister, who sustained a broken back.”
President Hunsaker said that the Lord had truly blessed the Saints. “Many of the missionaries and local Saints had a premonition that something was going to happen, and they had slept with their clothes on. The homes of members and some of our investigators were damaged or destroyed, but the members themselves were saved, while on either side of them many of their neighbors were killed. The Saints and missionaries here have held testimony meetings, and their stories are remarkable. This has been a terrible ordeal for them, but their faith has been strengthened, for they have seen the Lord protect them.”