Monday, November 11, 2013

# 24 November 11, 2013 SUPER TYPHOON

Well, this week was sure different! I have seen many miracles here on the mission, but many more this week. Our mission president doesn't tell us a lot of the facts because he doesn't want to scare us, but we hear a lot more from the ward members.  We first found out about the storm in our zone meeting on Wednesday. Our zone leaders told us that we had strict instructions to pick up food and water after the meeting and make sure we have enough things to last us at least three days. We were to proselyte on Wednesday but finish early around 7:00 and text in that night that we were home safely, then we were not allowed to leave our house after that.  Because we have the largest house, 6 sisters, we were probably the safest. Some of the other missionaries had to leave and go to other apartments, but we were really safe because our house has a concrete foundation instead of just bamboo.  Thursday, the storm wasn't that bad, just raining all day and I really just wanted to go out and proselyte or go help all of our investigators find safety since their houses are just bamboo and leaves on the roof or sometimes if they are lucky, they have tin sheets for their roof. But I knew that there was more going on than they were telling us because President kept texting us things like, "the storm is growing, don't let the calmness deceive you..." And many more cryptic texts throughout the day. We didn't have power from wednesday until late saturday night, but we often have brownouts, so we didn't think anything of it. Then we got a text that told us the whole truth, that this was the largest Super Typhoon to ever hit the Philippines, and the eye of the storm would come over our island. Even then, we all had a calm feeling. We never got scared our felt nervous, only for our investigators. We knew the Lord would keep us safe. During the storm, we were mostly bored. After we studied so much our eyes hurt from just the candle light (it was really dark, the sunlight didn't really come through to us) we cleaned our entire house, we did all our laundry, we organized all our stuff, and we kept trying to find things to do, and we pretty much cooked more food and ate more food than I ever have in my life. (Hello early Thanksgiving).  Every hour almost, someone would get bored and cook up something amazing and full of unhealthy deliciousness.  Haha.  Even though we had no power, we had a gas stove. Also, we had to cook everything that would go bad without a refrigerator, because we had no power.  Finally, Sister Peterson and I (the only Americans) thought we better contribute something to the food fest, so we figured out how to make cookies.  They were definately not the best tasting, but I'm pretty sure we could perfect it before we leave.  Since I didn't have a recipe, I just tried to remember the estimated amounts and found a lot of substitutes. We finally finished the dough so that it didn't taste too bad, but then we had to figure out how to cook them.  We created an oven with a pot tipped over on top of a frying pan and tried it that way, but the best way was just to smush down the dough and make it like a pancake. Pictures are to come, but they are called: "Pan-cookies" They are delectible and a great end to a family FHE with the six of us sisters.

In all seriousness, even though we were staying positive and finding ways to keep feeling the spirit and keep learning, we were scared a worried for our investigators. On Saturday morning, we went out to work right away, and found minimal destruction. All our investigators had evacuated to the church or to the School, and a lot of our members as well, but their houses all remained in tact. Just a few repairs necessary.  The mountains here on the island broke up the Storm and saved our little town here in Pulupandan and a lot of other towns as well her on Negros Occidental.  Right now, our whole community is Saddened by the tragedies over in Cebu, so we have been teaching a lot of Lessons on the Atonement, prayers, fasting, and comfort. It has been amazing to see the strength and resillience of these people, and we have even found some investigators out of it. We were helping the Catholic Church clean up the front of their building, and we ended up talking to one of the leaders. He invited us to come over and talk about the gospel because he was kind of confused why we would spend so much time helping another religion. Then we were just walking to an appointent yesterday, when a women stopped us and told us that Father Ed had told the entire congregation at the Catholic Church that the Mormon Sister Missionaries had fixed their building.  She thanked us and almost started crying in gratitude. I know that people are always watching us, and I am so grateful we were able to be given such an amazing opportunity to show them that we are friends, and that we are all about Love. :)  (there are been a lot of rumors that we are trying to steal members from other religions and it kind of gave us a bad light) But I know the Lord is always providing us a way to do our work and to help our communities and to help His children prepare to live with Him. 
I am so grateful for my safety and for the safety of Pulupandan. Continue to pray for the souls who passed away in the surrounding areas and pray for gratitude that we were saved. I love you lots!

Love, Sister Smoot 

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