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They Do Not Give Up!
The words were written in big white letters on the rear window of the car driven by the man in Santiago, Chile. A journalist approached him and asked him: “Is it true? Chile does not give up?”  “Of course not!” he answered.  “Chile does not give up or give in. It never has and never will”. The man drives away with a hopeful smile on his face.

Since the earthquake, people in this devastated country have organized  themselves, helping each other in any way they can.The people of Chile have learned many lessons from each catastrophe and tragedy endured throughout their history.

There were two cousins: One lived to tell the story and the other one simply floated away with the sea. It happened on the small island across from the city of Constitución. They almost lived in paradise – a place called “Cancun”. About 100 Chileans lived there, all relatives—cousins, brothers, sisters, wives, and children. They had taken up residence there last December.

When the 8.8 magnitude earthquake hit Chile at 3:34 a.m. on Saturday, February 27, 2010, Osvaldo did not think it was a good idea to stay on the island. He gathered his family and started boating them out  the ten-minute boat ride to Constitución. He had to make two trips. Though it was a short distance, the trip seemed endless in the dark night and strong currents from the river that separated them from land. On the last trip, Osvaldo crossed paths with his 37-year-old cousin who was helping him transport people in another boat.

The River was Gone

Once in Constitución, Osvaldo tried to get back to the island, but the motor on his small boat simply gave out. He took a look under it and all he could feel was mud and rocks. The river was gone. Seconds later, he looked up in time to see a 30 ft. wave coming toward him. His cousin was in his boat on the crest of the 30 ft. wave.  Osvaldo desperately ran to safety on the nearby hills. He never saw his cousin again.

“If the mud and rocks hadn’t stopped my boat, the water would have dragged me out, too" says Osvaldo.  "But I saw the wave and I was able to run to safety.”

Stories like this one are familiar throughout Chile. There are many unknown heroes like Osvaldo's cousin that gave their lives away trying to save others. Heroes who, after hearing the call of duty and honor in their hearts, came to rest in peace with a smile on their face. They gave their lives on behalf of their fellow countrymen.

This is that attitude of not ‘giving in or giving up’, something well taught many years ago by the humble Carpenter from Nazareth.

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By Chari Torres. Copyright © 2010 by GraceNotes. All rights reserved. Use of this material is subject to usage guidelines.

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