It has been three months since Typhoon Yolanda destroyed parts of Central Philippines. Immediately after the storm, church leaders began searching for the full-time missionaries who were serving in the hardest hit city of Tacloban. Within a few days all were accounted for, but because of the destruction and loss of apartments and clothing, the missionaries were divided up and sent to other missions until further notice. We received 13.
One is missing in this picture - Elder Burton - who was recovering at the MRC in Manila. He arrived a few days later.
Our job was:
To love them - EASY
To help them feel welcome - EASY
To purchase new clothing for them - EASY
To treat them like one of our own - VERY EASY
To learn from them about strength in trials and commitment - EASY
To keep them for a season and then return them to Tacloban - DIFFICULT!
We knew three months ago that this time would come, but it is still hard. Each one of them are dear to President Tye and I. Within the last three months in Cavite, two of them have been blessing us as Zone Leaders. Three others are serving as District Leaders, and four are currently training newly arrived missionaries. Our hearts are aching but we understand the need to have them return to where they were first called to serve. It is in Tacloban that they are needed to assist in the rebuilding of the community and offer peace and hope to others through the Gospel.
One of the Tacloban elders, Elder Johnson, asked me if I would make him one more home cooked meal before he left. So a small group came over to the Mission Home and we had a good-bye dinner before they headed to the airport.
Elder Banawan prepares for the 'hold to the rod' promise.
The promise is complete!
Although we will miss them dearly, we are thankful for the chance we had to enjoy their great leadership qualities. Paalam!