Elder Andersen Visits Mexican Survivors of September 2017 Earthquake

Contributed By MormonNewsroom.org

  • 27 February 2018

Elder Neil L. Andersen and other Mormon leaders pause for a photo with the Rojas family at their home in Jojutla, Mexico, on Wednesday, February 21, 2018. Much of their house was damaged in the September 2017 7.1 quake that struck the town of Jojutla, Mexico.

Article Highlights

  • Elder Andersen and other Church leaders heard stories of hope and faith as they toured damaged areas.

“Our heart just feels so moved by the many difficulties that people in this community have had—not just members of the Church, but all the people.” —Elder Neal L. Andersen of the Quorum of the Twelve

“One of the great satisfactions was being able to tell these wonderful members of the Church that I brought the love of President [Russell M.] Nelson, the First Presidency [and] the Quorum of the Twelve,” said Elder Neil L. Andersen of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles.

The Mormon Apostle was joined by Elder Lynn G. Robbins of the Presidency of the Seventy, Elder Paul B. Pieper of the Seventy, and local Church leaders to assess recovery efforts following the magnitude 7.1 temblor that struck the rural community, located south of Mexico City, on September 19, 2017. (See related story.)

“We are so grateful for good people, not just in the Church, but out of the Church, who would reach out to people in need and bring them some comfort in knowing we can rebuild our houses,” said Elder Andersen, who was able to communicate in Spanish during his visit to the city in the state of Morelos.

Elder Andersen and other Church leaders heard stories of hope and faith as they toured damaged areas.

Demetria Adan de Garcia, who lost her home in the quake, says she fell on the floor as she was escaping and could only ask God for protection.

Ernesto Contreras Ocampo’s home withstood the terrible destruction while the rest on the same block perished.

As a local Church leader, Bishop Armando Rojas Guzmán is not only taking care of the needs of his family but also the needs of his congregation and neighbors. “Here we are rebuilding this house in part with government funds but mostly with our own labor. We have to cooperate and help with our own labor and we will go on. … We’ll be able to finish this house.”

Elder Anderson also met with city officials who thanked him for the generosity of the Church in helping clean up damaged neighborhoods where many homes were destroyed.

On February 21, 2018, Elder Neil L. Andersen and other Mormon leaders visit families impacted by the September 2017 7.1 quake that struck the town of Jojutla, Mexico.

Some of the impacted neighbors, including Maria del Pilar Camacho Martinez, learned of Elder Andersen’s visit and came to meet him.

“I just want to thank God for sending [Elder Andersen] here,” said Martinez. “We needed so much help. In the name of all my neighbors, ... sadly we had to leave our homes, and rent places or live with other family members. I just want to thank you for all the help that you are providing us with. We are truly grateful.”

Bishop Guzmán was also touched by the Apostle’s visit. “To be able to feel his presence here, in our neighborhood, in the place where we have been born and after losing our homes has been an amazing experience.”

Those sentiments were shared by his wife, Blanca Guzmán. “It’s been extraordinary, something exceptional. Having a General Authority here is a privilege, something truly beautiful.”

Elder Andersen said, “Our heart just feels so moved by the many difficulties that people in this community have had—not just members of the Church, but all the people—who because of something they could not control, nothing they could help, that suddenly their houses fell down and they were without the few things they had in life.”

Elder Neil L. Andersen chats in Spanish with a survivor of the September 2017 7.1 quake that struck the town of Jojutla, Mexico.

On February 21, 2018, Elder Neil L. Andersen and other Mormon leaders visit families impacted by the September 2017 7.1 quake that struck the town of Jojutla, Mexico.

Building of new homes continues in the area of the 7.1 magnitude earthquake last September.

Building of new homes continues in the area of the 7.1 magnitude earthquake last September.