Typhoon season is coming for sure. For the next 6 months. Beginning this week with Typhoon Glenda. It was really scary, actually... scarier for me than Typhoon Yolanda. Santa Cruz, my area was hit the worst is what we heard from the other missionaries. The wind was over 115 miles per hour, and all four of us took out the windows in the other sister's room because the pressure of the wind was so strong; strong enough to break out these windows. And we wouldn't want to have shattered glass come speeding toward us! Then we moved their bunk bed to the window to help the pressure. We got our 72 hour kits and slept all of us in Sister Dadivas and my little room and sang some hymns by candlelight, but couldn't even hear anything accept the wind and rain. The storm started at about 11 pm. Of course we had early curfew because we were Signal 2 (which means you need to stay inside). So Sister Dadivas and I taught one lesson and got home at 6 pm. We couldn't sleep at all that night since the storm went until the early morning. We finally fell asleep around 5 am, and the storm was over. We enjoyed the silence of the storm being over. We all woke up at about 10 am. It definitely was a rough night for us.
We looked out the windows and saw the damage... we quickly ate some rice and then went out to visit the members and investigators to see if they were hurt or anything. NOTHING could explain the feeling of humility I felt as I rode the tricycle, looking at the damaged town. The roofs on houses were gone, houses were completely fallen over, poles were in streets and in some houses, and the worst, the "budget lane" sign had fallen on our church roof.
In spite of everything I saw, the greatest thing I saw: people were up on their roof trying to fix up their tiny little bamboo house. Most of their things were just gone, but still trying to fix up what they had. I've never seen a stronger people than these ever in my life.
This past week has been a rough one... some of the people had to evacuate because the storm became a Signal 4 storm which means EVACUATE NOW! After we visited the members and checked up on our investigators, we had no electricity. So for the past week I've washed my clothes on my kitchen floor with candles, planned by candlelight, and sweated more than I ever have in my life because it's so hot. I've learned to do many things in the dark..haha!... You should try it sometime! It's been a learning experience. When we got our electricity back, I felt like a rich girl on Christmas. :) I ran upstairs and said, "Sisters! wake up! We have electricity!!!!" (this was like 6:15 am because I woke up early to take a bucket shower since our water is low) Let's just say I've not really slept that well this week. We also have had an earlier curfew because there's no street lights so of course it's not very safe to walk. But we have flashlights. :) There's a projected time line of no electricity for one month. We just barely got our electricity on our street, but not everyone has electricity yet. We spent all day today looking to see if there was a cafe shop with internet and we finally found one! I'm so lucky to be able to communicate to you guys right now!
In spite of my trials this week, I know we are so much more blessed than our investigators and other people trying to salvage their homes. I just want to cry because of the level of humility I've been brought down to. And yet on Sunday, people still came to Church. WE ARE SO BLESSED. Never waste ANYTHING!
I'm happy to say I'm still here in Santa Cruz! :) YAY! Which means still working with Willmar, and Alex. The two highlights in my mission! Willmar came to church AGAIN with Jennifer and their little son.. I love Willmar so much. This week we taught him again the Gospel of Jesus Christ. In the lesson when it was my turn to teach, I just asked him this question: "Willmar, how does it make you feel to know that you cannot enter the kingdom of Heaven unless you are baptized in the name of Jesus Christ? What do you think about that?" His response: "Well, then I better just do it." I loved that so much. I'm not sure if I will be here to see him be baptized since he needs to get married still... but I know he's ready. The Lord has given him to me because of two reasons A: He is prepared and ready to enter the covenant of baptism and B: He's our only progressing investigator in this area. Heavenly Father gave me that as a tender mercy so that I wouldn't be so down and out about the work here. :)
Anyways... things are good. I'm glad you had all had a good week! Also, Congrats to Grandpa Seastrand!! WOW! He's the best. The backyard reunion sounds like it was fun. I miss those activities. Maybe we can do it again in about 7 months? :) It's quite the life, the life of a missionary. I love it. I don't want to change it. I like what Jessy said about not going back to how you were once you get home. It's so true! I must admit, I love being a missionary. No matter my trials that are in my life, I love teaching, I love the Philippines, I love Willmar and Alex. I love it all! Even the 'no water, no electricity, and big typhoons' :) It's a good time for service. Unfortunately, I didn't feel that it was appropriate to take pictures of the damage, especially as a foreigner. There is a lot of sadness. But I will never forget the images I see. I will share them with you when I come home. I will miss it in 7 months. I can't even believe how fast time is.
I hope you have a great week this week!! Just know I love you all so much. I'm doing alright :) We will survive and get back to normal. :)