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Promptings and coincidences, part 2

January 18, 2011

An acquaintance of mine from BYU sent me an email with a link to an article written by a mission president’s wife regarding preparing missionaries for a potential earthquake. Sister Lacock reported waking up in the middle of the night with the thought (“prompting,” she called it) that her missionaries needed to be ready for an earthquake. Then wouldn’t you know it, there was an earthquake, and the missionaries had enough food and water.

It’s important to consider probability when hearing about such stories. Chile is located on  tectonic plate boundary and a subduction zone called the Peru-Chile trench. Seismic readings have shown that Chile has continual earthquakes year-round, some much bigger than others. In the course of a year, the average Chilean experiences “tremors,” or small earthquake shakes. Therefore, when Sister Lacock writes that she woke up with the thought that there would be an earthquake, and then an earthquake happened where earthquakes are common, this is not particularly miraculous. Also, I suspect that most mission presidents do some kind of emergency preparedness training. Our mission president held such training for the missionaries in Moscow, Russia, yet the missionaries who received that training experienced no natural disasters or major events for the remainder of their missions. But such stories are not reported or shared because they do not promote faith.

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