Monday, July 21, 2014

Typhoon Rammasun - Glenda

 Last Tuesday afternoon, President and I were staring at the above map of the route of incoming Typhoon Glenda. The day before we had been told it would probably hit further north, so when we saw this projection - our hearts sank. It was headed right for us and would arrive Wednesday morning. What worried us the most was that Wednesday July 16th was transfer day and we would have over 150 elders and sisters on the streets; plus we were expecting 25 new missionaries from the Manila MTC, and sending 10 home. Now we had a typhoon arriving on the same day. President and I said a prayer and got to work. He made some phone calls and moved transfer day to Thursday (17th) and told all missionaries to spend Wednesday inside their apartments and wait out the storm.

I woke up during the early hours of Wednesday and the storm was raging. The electricity was out and I could hear trees blowing against the house and limbs breaking outside. I peeked outside at 3:00am and the street in front of our home was a mess of branches and leaves. The neighbors potted plants where blown over and one of ours was rolling across the street. By 7:00am the storm was almost at its peak. We hoped that the new missionaries coming from the Manila MTC would stay in Manila for an extra day, but the MTC was crunched for space, so at 7:30am all 25 of them showed up at the Mission Office. The drive was difficult for some of them and a few were sick when they arrived at the office. I still cannot believe they were sent out in the storm - a few of these new missionaries were from the Tacloban/Leyte area, and the memories of last November and Typhoon Yolanda were still fresh in their minds. No wonder they became sick. 
 The neighbor's tree fell on our patio, blocking the kitchen exit. Not bad though - it gave us that "jungle feeling." haha
 We lost a branch off of our mango tree - I love those mango's! It was so nice of it to fall away from the house.

President Tye and I were stuck in our home and luckily Elder and Sister Davis were at the mission office to take care of the new arrivals. Our subdivision is filled with trees and every street was covered with broken branches, uprooted trees, and leaves. As soon as the storm passed, residents started to cut branches and remove the debris. By noon we were able to find a passable way out of our neighborhood and we headed towards the mission office.  
 Main road blocked and power lines down
Car path
Oops! Turn around, this way is blocked by trees
 Right in front of our home.

On our way to the mission office we saw power lines down, street lights bent and detached from cement casing, water in the streets, and some businesses with damage. But the children we saw were happy - as always - and playing in the water. The damage from this storm was minor compared to Typhoon Yolanda that hit the Philippines last November. We only had a few missionary apartments with roof damage and flooding. 

The mission office was without electricity and when we arrived the front door was open to allow some air flow into the rooms. When I walked in, no one was around. I wondered, "where do you put 25 missionaries and keep them so quiet?" I walked to the back of the office, towards the conference room. I was carrying food, but I stopped and set it on the floor when I heard their voices. Elder and Sister Davis had been reading scriptures and playing some games with the new missionaries, but at this moment they were singing. I stood at the door to the conference room and for a moment no one noticed I was there. I was overcome by the Spirit and having just driven through the debris and chaos left in Glenda's path, I cried as I listened to the words of the hymn they were singing:

Master the tempest is raging! The billows are tossing high!
The sky is o'ershodowed with blackness. No shelter or help is nigh.
Carest thou not that we perish? How canst thou lie a sleep
When each moment so madly is threatning, A grave in the angry deep?

The winds and the waves shall obey thy will: Peace, be still.

Whether the wrath of the storm-tossed sea
Or demons or men or whatever it be,
No waters can swallow the ship where lies
The Master of ocean and earth and skies.
They all shall sweetly obey thy will; Peace, be still: Peace, be still.
They all shall sweetly obey thy will: Peace, peace, be still.

The faces of the missionaries lit up when they saw President and I. It was one of those experiences that I will never forget. What a comfort it is to know that the Master is mindful of us all, and even though the storms of life will continue to rage - He will always offer peace. 

1 comment:

  1. Thank you for the great pictures. We're so grateful everyone weathered the storm. Your last anecdote made me cry.