Sunday, December 7, 2014

Here Comes Ruby!!

So, we were not expecting a letter this week due to Typhoon Ruby that is forecast to pummel the Philippines directly where Elder Nielson is located right now. Ruby is a class 5 "super typhoon" which is the same caliber as Yolanda that ripped through Tacloban a little over a year ago while Erik was in the MTC in Provo, Utah. Many people lost their lives in Yolanda and the area of Tacloban was devastated for quite some time. Erik has been through some other big Typhoon storms but nothing this size. And I am a mother that has spent her life worrying about everything that my children do that may be even a tiny bit dangerous or risky. Scout camp made me nervous!! But for some weird reason, I am not worried about my boy. I know that it will be a hard few days for him during the storm and it will mean very hard work for him cleaning up afterwards. But I really do not feel fear for his safety. This is very out of the ordinary for me. I guess I just know that my son is doing what he should be doing and he is living where he is needed right now. And I know that he will be protected and safe. I think Erik's Dad is confused because he keeps showing me the pictures of the storm and tells me how wide spread and dangerous it is - and I keep saying that I know all that, but that I really don't feel worried. I call it my missionary mom brain fog. I am grateful for it because normally I would be a gigantic wreck! :) Anyways, we got the following letter from the mission president (President Mangum) on Friday morning.

Dear Philippines San Pablo Mission Family,

You are probably already aware of Typhoon Hagupit, locally referred to as Ruby, which is off of the coast of the Philippines and headed our way. We have been tracking the storm for the past few days and have been working to prepare our missionaries for its arrival. The latest projections show it is tracking directly toward our mission and it will arrive sometime this weekend or early next week. The speed of the storm has been decreasing so it is difficult to estimate when it will reach us.

All of our missionaries have been alerted to prepare for the storm and have been given very specific instructions about how to prepare. We are working to relocate missionaries from coastal lines and areas that might be prone to flooding, mudslides, etc. We are being overly cautious and conservative in the approach we are taking to protect your missionaries.

Given the timing of the storm, you may not receive an email on Monday, which is your normal day to hear from your missionary. Don’t panic if you don’t hear from them. In July we lost internet service for a period of time following the storm and I assume we will have the same experience with this storm. I will allow your missionary to email home as soon as services have been restored. As soon as possible following the storm, I will send an email confirming that everyone is well and accounted for and give you a brief update.

Please continue to keep our missionaries and the Philippines in your prayers. Our hope and prayers are that the storm will weaken as it reaches us and all of our preparations will have been unnecessary. We are preparing for the worst while praying and hoping for the best.

Thanks for the amazing sons and daughters you have consecrated to the Lord’s service. It is Sister Mangum and I’s great privilege to serve them and serve with them!

President Mangum

We wrote to him anyways and were surprised to hear from Erik earlier Sunday evening!! Must admit I was relieved to get the following short message.

Hey I am still alive. I probably don't have much time to email you. I think the power is going off soon. We should be fine here. The storm is pretty strong but we will survive. The storm is just starting up - don't worry about me. Oh and yes I did get my Christmas packages. All of them. Well I love u lots. 

Elder Nielson

If you could keep Erik, as well as all of the other missionaries and people in the Philippines in your prayers that would be great. I am sure its pretty scary for all of them to go through a terrible storm like this. I am sure we will hear all about it next week if they regain power again by then. Thanks!!

We recieved this letter yesterday!

Dear Philippines San Pablo Mission Family,

I am happy to report to you that the core of the storm has cleared our mission as of this morning. Thanks to your fasting and prayers in our behalf, the typhoon was weakened to a tropical storm by the time it reached our mission. We had considerable rain creating some localized flooding, but did not have the high winds associated with a typhoon. We will be experiencing light to moderate rainfall for the next 24 to 48 hours as the tail end of the storm travels across our mission.

As of this morning, we are beginning to return missionaries to their areas as weather permits. I have instructed your missionaries to email you as soon as the services in their areas allow them to do so. All of our missionaries are safe and came through the storm in good spirits. About 50% of our missionaries were relocated to chapels or other missionary apartments in preparation for the storm to ensure they were in safe shelters.

We are thankful again for your fasting, faith, and prayers. Thanks for sending Sister Mangum and I such amazing missionaries. We cherish this time we have to serve them and to serve with them. They are an inspiration to us and we love them! We pray that all is well with you and your families and that you have a Merry Christmas as you reflect on the life and mission of our Savior Jesus Christ.

President and Sister Mangum

Then we recieved this letter finally today!! So glad he is ok!! Thank you for all of your prayers!

We are still alive and doing just fine. The storm was ampaw or just big and puffed up. It got bumped up to a category 3 storm just before it hit us and then wala. Nothing happened. It was no more then just a windy rain storm. Some super typhoon that was! I did get all of my presents. All 4 of them. Grandma Pat sent me one as well. You can except Jeff as a facebook friend ha-ha. He's harmless ha-ha. He is an RM in my ward. He is a pretty hard working ward missionary. We had 4 other missionaries sleep over for the last like 4 days. I am getting pretty sick of them. But hey, Elder Richards was one of those 4 elders. So we did have some good times. I still can't send pics. Sorry I don't know how I am going to send photos for the next few months. I will try my best. Well I am glad that everyone at home is still fine. Love you lots.

Elder Nielson 

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