This last week, there were a lot of missionaries missing and hadn't been accounted for and I kept thinking about Sister Bogenschutz and Elder Murdock (who i was really close with in the training center) and no one had any information. I kept getting this sick feeling that maybe something happened. Then yesterday, we received information that all missionaries were alive and accounted for and were being evacuated to Cebu and Manila. So this morning, I saw Elder Murdock at the temple and it was such a happy moment to know he was safe and alive. My goodness! It's incredible.
Last night, I just cried thinking about all those people and wishing I could have been there to help. I feel selfish too. I have thought so many times how I wish I were there. I wish I could have traded places with people. ah it hurts.
We have been packing thousands of relief good truck fulls of sacks, I was on national tv last night... I'm so sore and exhausted but ready to keep going.
Please pray, and do what you can to help my people here. Please, appreciate life and be righteous. I find comfort knowing there is a Heavenly Father that visits His children in their afflictions. I'm impressed and humbled by the country's faith and response to help their suffering brothers and sisters, "lifting up the hands that hang down and strengthening [their] feeble knees". May it so be with us in all walks of life.
Love you all,
REUNITED with Elder Murdock
I really don't know what to say. Cebu is ok, we weren't hit bad at all. Thankfully, Mormon Helping Hands has given us amazing opportunities to serve, packing rice and canned foods and sugar, and packing truck-fulls of relief goods for Tacloban.
We're just now starting to realize how bad the storm was.
Each bag can feed 18 families for about two days...it's still not enough!
The following is a letter written by Elder Carling who was serving in the Tacloban mission. He writes home to his family for the first time since the devastating storm:
We first heard warning on tuesday evening as we met in Tacloban as Zone Leaders to discuss mission stuff. Our President as well as most of the world that time didn't understand the magnitude of the storm. We were told to inform our zones, or missionaries that we are in charge of, and tell them to prepare. This included buying rope charging anything with a battery and buying extra phone batteries. The storm came. Friday at 6 am we only had high winds at 6 am but found out that that wasn't even the storm. The assistants said Tacloban was already being beaten up and the storm would fall by 8am. We were told to call Tacloban if anything bad happened to our 16 missionaries in our zone. We called our areas, or tried, only to find that there was no cell service in their areas. We considered that a problem and tried to call back to Tacloban to let them know the problem.... but they too had no service. The winds and rain ended in our zone by 2 PM. Our area was not too bad. Fallen signs and some damage to homes. Broken glass and bald trees, but nothing too crazy in our area. On Saturday we rode around to check out the damage on our zone and see if our missionaries were ok. Sunday's services were very humbling as we met in a shack with no electricity. Our Branch President made hand fans for everyone out of cardboard boxes. Monday came and we still had no way to contact anyone. By this time we had heard a bit of info about Tacloban and we were scared. Our mission president had no contact with us for 4 days. We had no idea what to do so we bought a new cell phone service card to try and contact others. Miracles happened and the Zone Leaders who neighbor us had service the whole time! They were able to contact manila church headquarters. They relayed info to us to gather our missionaries and send them to Ormoc City with 2-3 days of clothes and stuff. More miracles happened that I wish I could explain but I'll leave out for time sake. we got ALL 60 missionaries in 3 zones to Ormoc in 24 hours with 4 cell phones. We booked a boat to Cebu as directed from manila. It is honestly the craziest, most tiring, unbelievable, and spiritually uplifting experience to be apart of this mass evacuation. It blows my mind that four 20 year old young men with the unmistakeable help of the Lord were able to coordinate such a drastic evacuation. We all made it here to Cebu. We were given undies and other things needed to get by. I've been misty eyed all day just feeling all the prayers from around the world. I'm also broken hearted. I want to go back to our mission and help but there is not much we can do. Our area, which was moderately affected, won't have electricity till March. Food is in short supply. Gas is being sold at ridiculous prices because of the shortage. We can't live there. We got word that at 8:30 we will be flying out to Manila. The amount of time we will be there is still indefinite. We will wait there as the church discusses possible re-assignments for Elders and Sisters and as more information unfolds. It's a very humbling feeling to not be in control of tomorrow or the next 9 months of my mission. Everything I've known as a missionary will change in a few days. I don't know what the Lord has in store but I know it will be good for me. "The winds and the waves shall obey thy will." He is in control, "Peace be still, peace be still."