HELLO TO ALL!!! It's been the craziest past few weeks. Words can't even
begin to describe the things that have taken place but I am grateful to
report that I am safe, and those in my area are now safe as well. I
haven't been able to email because the power was out and I am now in an
area with power and internet.
Let me try and begin to explain the things that have happened...I'll
just start with the last time I emailed, last Monday....but I will say
sorry in advance because I don't have much time and didn't bring my
journal, but here it goes..
Monday, July 14th - We heard from our neighbor in the morning that
there was a typhoon coming the next day. We texted our zone leaders
right away and they contacted the AP's. From there, news spread that
there was a typhoon coming and we all prepared for the worst. They
said it was supposed to be a signal 4 and it would hit that night
until the rest of the day. We prepared and returned back to our
apartment around 4 pm. Rain started to fall but not too hard. We
stayed in our apartment for the rest of the day. They said so far, the
storm was only at signal 1 out of 5, so everything was okay.
Tuesday, July 15th - They kept us updated with the news of the storm.
Wind and rain started to get really hard around the afternoon. We
stayed in our apartments and watched the damage for the rest of the
night. Around 6 the typhoon hit our area at a signal 4 out of 5. It
stayed for what felt like ages. Words can't describe really the
feeling of sitting there in our house with nothing to do. I knew that
we would be okay because our house is strong, but my heart really
ached for those in our area that I knew had very weak houses. I have
never prayed harder in my life than I did that day, multiple times. We
watched the storm as it COMPLETELY destroyed everything around our
house. The wind was hitting so hard that it broke the glass windows
all around us. Water started coming through and all the sudden it got
REALLY REAL. All I remember hearing was a sister screaming at us "grab
everything you need downstairs and come back up as quick as you
can!!!" It's like when people ask you that question "If your house was
on fire, what would be the first things you would grab?" Yes I lived
that but typhoon style. It was a scary feeling and I am thankful that
the storm wasn't bad enough that it flooded, but there was a time we
thought it was going to.
Around 7 again the storm hit really hard. This storm was pretty unique
because it came through and hit hard twice, usually it only happens
once. The damage was horrible. We watched as the three houses behind
our house completely collapsed and fell through. Luckily a lot of the
people had evacuated from their houses to local safe spots. There
weren't any deaths that I heard of, but everything in the path of
typhoon Glenda was destroyed. That night it was hard to sleep because
water was coming in everywhere and I just couldn't focus on anything
but those in our areas. I started reading my scriptures and opened to
a verse in D&C 6, and verse 36 immediately caught my eye. It says
"Look unto me in every thought, doubt not, fear not." OKAY those were
words coming STRAIGHT from the Lord for me in that specific time. I
desperately needed to feel that comfort knowing that He is in control of these people's lives, no matter how scary this storm was for them.
After many prayers and a little bit of sleep, we woke up the next
morning to clean up the mess.
Wednesday, July 16th - We woke up at around 4 and started cleaning and
cleaning and cleaning. Everything everywhere we looked was destroyed.
The trees were destroyed, along with windows, houses...everything. We hurried and
cleaned in our area and went straight out to our other areas to visit
our investigators and members. To see the horrible damage to their
houses and everything was just so heart breaking. To hear their own
personal stories of what happened brought tears to my eyes every time
for one reason: their faith. All told us stories of how scary it was
for them, but as they cried to us about this trial in their life, as
their houses were gone and their clothes and everything was destroyed,
they praised and thanked the Lord that He kept them safe. Goodness I
learn so much from these people every day that I'm here.
Well, for the rest of the week we went area to area all day cleaning
and washing clothes and helping them in any way that we could. I have
really learned the true meaning of service being here amongst these
incredible people. I have seen these strong members, even though their
houses are completely destroyed, go out and serve others FIRST. Again,
words can't describe the things that I have learned from this
Sunday came around and I don't know why...but there was something about
this Sunday that I'll never forget. I watched as all of these people
came up to the church, just going through one of the strongest storms
in a while, when they could have so much to complain about and so much
they needed to do in their own homes...all come gather together and
give thanks to our Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ. In the middle of
Sacrament meeting, we all stood as we sang "Because I Have Been Given
Much." Those words to that song will forever remind me of the people in
the Philippines and just how giving they are. I may or may not have
cried through every single word I sang, as I really felt the truth of
each and every word in that song. Goodness I could go on and on about
these people and how much I've learned from them.
Another week passed and we continued to do more and more service.
Saturday came around and it was announced that I would be
transferred. This is the part of missionary work that isn't fun. To
leave these people that I have learned so much from and that I love so
much....may sakit talaga. But, that is life as a missionary. I am
grateful for the opportunity to serve in Tabaco and especially for the
amazing people I met there. I will never forget them or the
experiences I had. It will always be my home away from home :) I will
write more about transferring next week, and send some pictures :)
I hope you all are well. Thank you all so much for the prayers, during
this experience especially I felt your love and safety. I wish I could
explain and write more, but time is short. Just wait in about 7 months
and I will tell you all the stories and experiences of a life time in
I am now in my new area, Ligao. I arrived here this afternoon and we
were given permission to email since I hadn't emailed in a few weeks.
My companion is Sister Lesa, she is from Utah and is Samoan. We
actually got here in the mission at the same time so we already knew
each other pretty well. It will be a fun transfer and I know I have a
lot to learn from her.
I LOVE YOU ALL! Sorry this email is kind of all over the place. I will
do better next week but just wanted to update you all real quick.