Tuesday, November 12, 2013

MASTER, THE TEMPEST IS RAGING...

The typhoon was so much worse than we thought. I don't even know how describe what has happened in Tacloban.  It's been an emotional past couple of days for me. I have seen the news and pictures and there are dead bodies everywhere-- in trees, electric lines, crushed under buildings. They show it on live television.  Over 10,000 people have died.

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,
Elder Sum

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."


Monday, November 11, 2013

SAFE IN CEBU CITY

News from Sumner has never been more welcomed.  We received a short email on Saturday informing us that he is safe.  (See insert below) Having said that, we are eagerly awaiting news from Tacloban where the worst of the storm hit.  There are still several missionaries unaccounted for, including thousands of Filipino people.  Further reports from other affected islands indicated dozens, perhaps hundreds more deaths as well.

Our hearts go out to the families and friends of all who have lost so much.  Our prayers are with the beautiful people of the Philippines who have become so near and dear to our hearts over the past 18 months.


ay momma!
 
Our president gave us permission to email our families and tell you that we're alright after the typhoon.  The wind was reeeally strong. There was a dog that flew into our apartment compound so now we have a new pet. his name is Yolanda.  j/k!
 We did a service project this morning picking up debris and trash n stuff. Everyone was smiling and happy at us.  So grateful!
ANYWAY, I'm all good and I'm safe as a button. Is that the phrase?

LOVE YOU ALL, email you on Wednesday
sumna boah
 
 Images from neighboring island. Tacloban City was devastated by this week's deadly typhoon.


Thursday, November 7, 2013

SUPER TYPHOON - YOLONDA

There is a Catagory 5 (the worst) typhoon headed toward the islands this week.  It should hit landfall by 8 p.m. tonight.  We are praying for the safety and protection of the missionaries in the Philippines and the Filipino people they serve.  We are tracking the storm on Typhoon2000.com

This is the message the missionaries just received from their president:

Elders and Sisters, we want to warn you about a potential Super Typhoon that may be headed our way. At present, the track of the typhoon looks like it will hit landfall on Samar-Leyte coast on Friday early morning. If it continues on the present track, it will probably pass to the north of Cebu, moving across the Mindoro Strait after traversing the Northern Visayas. It looks like it might be a category 5 typhoon, which could be a very destructive storm. We must be prepared in case the storm veers a little to the south and comes across Cebu and Negros. So be prepared!!

We want every missionary to purchase a supply of water and food today that will last for at least 72 hours. If electricity goes out, you will not be able to cook, so purchase some food that can be eaten without cooking. Do not procrastinate. Also make sure that you have some money on hand in case there is need to purchase supplies after the storm passes when you might not be able to withdraw money from an ATM.

This image provided by the U.S. Naval Research Lab …
 

Strongest Typhoon of the Year Slams Philippines

One of the most powerful typhoons ever recorded slammed into the Philippines early Friday, and one weather expert warned, "There will be catastrophic damage."
The U.S. Navy's Joint Typhoon Warning Center shortly before Typhoon Haiyan's landfall said its maximum sustained winds were 314 kilometers per hour (195 mph), with gusts up to 379 kilometers per hour (235 mph).
"195-mile-per-hour winds, there aren't too many buildings constructed that can withstand that kind of wind," said Jeff Masters, a former hurricane meteorologist who is meteorology director at the private firm Weather Underground.
Masters said the storm had been poised to be the strongest tropical cyclone ever recorded at landfall. He warned of catastrophic damage.
 
 
WE WILL UPDATE THE BLOG AS WE RECEIVE WORD FROM SUMNER -
THANK YOU FOR YOUR PRAYERS IN HIS BEHALF AND IN BEHALF OF THE FILIPINO PEOPLE - jm

SCREAM and RUN !!

He who hath eyes to see, let him read...

Sister Merry Ann was baptized by her husband on Saturday! They love the Church so much. They're getting ready to have a baby in a couple months and living the gospel is going to be the best thing they could ever do for him. What a blessing for their young family. In a year, they'll be sealed in the temple for time and all eternity. Greatest.
 

We had a Halloween ward dinner and the theme was "Pioneers" so every one dressed up and Kristal (our investigator) came. I explained to her that Pioneers were the first members of the Church in the 1800's who were forced to move and threatened just because of their beliefs. Kristal, with wide eyes, asks me, "If someone threatened to kill you because you said the Church was true, would you change your beliefs?" and i said "No never. Because I know it... what about you? What would you do if they threatened you?" and she replied "I would scream and run the other way!" hahaha
It was amazing to see how everyone dressed for Pioneer theme.  Apparently, their idea of what pioneers look like are a bit different.  There were a lot of pirate costumes at the party!  HA!
 

Sometimes we receive a Referral and the information is really vague, so we go to the general area and I feel like we're in a Bourne movie because we're looking around observing the signs and the people and the buildings looking for any indication for the person. hahah but when we find the person and they're willing to listen and accept us, it's the best feeling, because we know how it will bless them. I love serving here.
 
Let us live good lives and be sincere in our prayers, forget ourselves and serve old people and young folks, read uplifting books and eat delicious food, work really hard and seek inspiration.
 
Elder Mingus (from Columbia, Missouri)
Elder Mahaffey - (Chesterfield, Missouri)

Love you,
Elder Mahaffey