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Michigan Woman Survives Chile Earthquake


Overwhelmed by God’s providence—that’s how Carissa Elenbaas feels in the wake of the Chile earthquake, which she and two visiting friends survived in February.

Elenbaas, a member of Dearborn (Mich.) Christian Fellowship, a Christian Reformed church near Detroit, has been teaching English to business professionals in Santiago, Chile, since last July.

When the earthquake struck on Feb. 27, she and college friends Amanda Rose and Ben Nanninga were visiting the city of Dichato near the earthquake’s epicenter. Dichato was heavily damaged, and the cabin the friends were staying in was swept away, along with their possessions, in the subsequent tsunami.

After several harrowing days, with the help of many Chilean people, the three were able to make their way back to Santiago, and Rose and Nanninga returned to the U.S.

“God’s hand was really evident,” Elenbaas said. “We had so many close calls. It was the middle of the night when the earthquake hit. If we had stayed in our cabin we probably would have drowned. But God placed us with Chilean friends who knew what to do.”

Back at work in Santiago, Elenbaas maintains a deep affection for Chile and its people, and has no plans to cut short her stay there.

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