Until this week.
I was literally waiting to hear someone announce on a big megaphone saying, "The end of the world has come." And then say, "Told ya so, Sister Seastrand!"
First of all, every single one of our investigators ran away from us. haha but really...No one likes us anymore.
Second, we had the largest typhoon ever in the history of... ever. Clearly I didn't watch the news, but we got texts from fellow missionaries in our areas telling us about the devastation in Tacloban. So much loss of life and so much destruction. Seriously, the saddest thing ever.
In spite of everything
that has happened with the typhoon, no sleep for a straight 48 hours, and all
our investigators running away from us, I learned more about my Savior and
Joseph Smith than I have my whole mission so far.
Over here in San Pablo? Oh, we had just a little bit of wind and rain. When I say little, I mean A LOT. I'm pretty positive the ocean just decided to give us a nice big bath or something. I was about ready to find a modern day Noah, and ask him to just build me a nice big boat and take us safely to the mission home. I'm pretty sure we had enough rain that I wasn't sure if we were in Noah's day or ours. Along with the rain, we had wind that was uprooting and taking everything into the ocean with it, including our laundry and shoes, haha. We were instructed to stay in our apartments for two days because this typhoon was coming our way, and would be here to stay for awhile.
Our ZL's gave us a call to make sure we had enough candles, water, and food for our 72 hour kits... OK let me just say that "food storage" in America is A LOT less stressful than it is here in the Philippines, mostly because we can work on building up our food storage and it's good for the next 5-20 years. Yeah, NOT HERE. The food here doesn't have any kind of 'shelf life', not to mention the items here are so much different than America... We really are the promised land. We've got it all. My heart starts to palpitate a little faster every time we talk about these 72 hour kits cause I'm tellin you, the typhoons here are insane. (Not to mention scary.)
We got all of our buckets filled with water and candles lit, and just sat and listened to the intense wind, making guesses that if we dared walk outside what country we'd land in..... or the ocean. We just sat there, thinking of our families and homes, but mostly everyone being affected by this terrible storm. There were a few highlights/journal moments for me and since we were confined to our house for the next who knew how long, we just studied and wrote letters. (Oh, and read the Book of Mormon AND Bible three times, cover to cover. NOT. If that had happened, I would probably be the scriptorian everyone assumes me to be.)
What really happened: I actually read a talk about the Atonement by Elder David A. Bednar. What a guy. He gave me some really great insights that I think everyone should consider. He talked about how most of us think about the Atonement in terms of "cleansing and healing the sinners."
Here's a fun fact: The Atonement does so much MORE than that. It enables us and gives us POWER. Man, I don't know about you, but I never even thought about that part. Elder Bednar was saying that both the enabling and cleansing powers work together to fully cleanse us and make us into better and better (and finally, the best) people. This life isn't just about becoming good to better, or even bad to good. It's about becoming our absolute best for the Lord. We do that through both the enabling and cleansing power of the atonement. What an amazing thing to think of and thank our Heavenly Father for!
After I read every single Liahona issue from 2010-2012, we all got our mattress pads in the living room and slept on the floor, together 'as sisters in Zion'. This whole experience was so interesting and different and hard, but had some great moments I will never forget. We woke up on Sunday and looked outside (after enduring the last two days of straight wind and rain) to behold the earth around us. Everything was not where it used to be. Not even some trees, or houses. It's a good thing we're even alive and safe. I've never been more grateful for the house we have, that protected us and kept us safe even in the midst of what seemed like the end of the world. We were so protected and watched over by the God that created us all.
|District Meeting (before the typhoon)|
How grateful I am for that wonderful prophet of God who restored this gospel knowledge. And how even more grateful I am for a loving Savior who shows me infinite love and mercy every day of my life.
Missions are really hard. But I would not trade this experience for anything. If you're thinking about serving a mission and wondering if you really should, then call your bishop and tell him you want to set up an appointment to start your papers. The badge you will wear and the badge I wear everyday is the best piece of plastic ever made.
In spite of everything here, I hope everyone is continuing in patience and hope in the gospel. I know I am! Come what may and love it!