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!
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.
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