Thursday, March 26, 2015

Our Zone safe and sound in Port Vila

Port Vila Week 1

Thursday March 26, 2015

Dia famle blong mi we mi lavem tumas,

I finally have the chance to email again!  I will try to explain everything as best as I can, I tell you what, I will send you a letter with the journal entries I wrote, I've been writing it for awhile but
haven't finished quite yet.

So Friday March 13th we had already been warned by the mission president about the cyclone and we had already prepared a place of refuge in case we needed it.  Mission president had us bring all the Zone out of their areas and take shelter in "Isangel Shool"  Isangel school is where our house is (just east of lenakel) and the school is right up the hill and we took shelter in some dormitories there.

The Cyclone hit us at Mar. 14th, 6am (Chances birthday)  Chance sorry I didn't get the chance to email you to tell you happy birthday. Happy late 15th birthday! I love you so much and I wanted to
email you but we couldn't because of the cyclone. 

Well it hit that morning and water flooded in the dorms and we nailed windows shut and the wind was very strong.  There was a time where we ran to the sisters dorm and the wind lifted me up and blew me a few feet forward.  I've never felt such powerful wind like that before!  I heard that the winds from it blew over 200 miles an hour!!!  None of us got hurt when we went to the sister's dorm and stayed together as a zone.  There was a point to where the winds stopped for a while and then it continued on.  The eye of it passed right over us!!! The Cyclone probably went on until 3pm and that's when we surveyed the damage.

Everything was destroyed!!! Gardens were destroyed, trees blown over, power lines were down, no power whatsoever, houses were flattened,  The strongest cement houses held up but the roofs blew off and there was debris everywhere!  All the phone networks were down, there was no communication between tanna and port vila after the cyclone hit.

After it hit the first night many people stayed at the school.  Nobody in tanna believed that the cyclone would hit, so the people were not very prepared for it.  A chief of police stayed at the school and told the Elders and sisters to prepare devotionals and every morning and afternoon, we'd share some scriptures and share small spiritual thoughts with the people.  And everyday we would clean up, do service, and help anyone in need.  We just tried to help our brothers and sisters here as much as we could and they were glad that we were there.

There wasn't much drama after the cyclone, because nobody died in Lenakel.  Very few people died.  The total confirmed deaths there was 8.  Everyone was okay, protected, but just everything else was demolished!  The Cyclone itself was a MIRACLE!  If a cyclone hit anywhere else or even the USA, 100's or thousands would die, but the lord protected his people, everything was destroyed, but so little
people died.  The lord has a plan and this country will really prosper!  I know the lord protected us and the people here, his hand was reached out protecting us in that Cyclone.

We stayed in Tanna until we called the mission pres on march 18th.  He said on the 19th, the church would charter a plane to fly us out of there.  On the 19th the plane came but late and they could only take the sisters, so we stayed in the Whitegrass house by the whitegrass church, and on Friday the 20th, we flew to vila on the first flight there.  I didn't want to leave though, I wanted to stay and help the people. 

We arrived and went to mission presidents home where he gave council, and they fed us, and he told me to call President Pearson, of the the quorum of the seventy, he told me how he talked to you as well dad!  I didn't know how many people were worried!  He said the apostles even prayed for us and soooooo many people prayed for us, and after just reading all your emails, man were you all praying!

Thanks for all your prayers!  I've been praying for you as well, even to send the spirit of comfort with you while we had no contact after that storm, and my prayer was answered and I am glad you weren't doubtful or too worried.

Me and elder pearce stayed with the AP's and we unloaded tons and tons of food and supplies for members and non-members at the district here. The Elders and the members of the church unloaded trucks and trucks full of rice, flour, tin meat, soap, salt, sugar, noodles, crackers, and tons of other foods! And we stayed with them a few days and now all the missionaries are just doing service for the next few weeks, and each week we will do a district and Zone Service each week.  We actually did one today, we cleared out someone's yard of debris, trees, and just cleaned up his place!

I didn't email you on Monday because Mission President sent me and Elder Pearce to Tanna with a special assignment.  We and the district president of Port Vila President Basil, and John Bennion(who
looks over all church housing) went and found all the branch presidents and district presidents and we met with them in Whitegrass Church to find out all their needs and plan for what the church can do
to help.  Mine and Elder Pearce's assignment was to survey the island and listen to the meetings and find out the needs so he could have a report of the island.  President Basil's report would be given to the Area Seventy.

But going back there, it still wasn't good, it was so dry (there hasn't been any rain since the cyclone) and people are starting to struggle with water. School will most likely be closed until next year there. The people are eating once every afternoon, they only have manyoke and bananas to eat and they are starting to go bad so in a few weeks they will be out of food.  The power was still out, no phone network (It actually just came back up yesterday) and we could see that if nothing is done, it could become a crisis, but I know the Government here and the church is sending help as soon as possible.

I think they will help by sending food, water, tarps and tents for shelter, clothing, and tools for gardening, so everyone can plant and prepare their gardens for food in the future.  Tanna because it's still in it's customs and it's still "manbush" will need a lot of help from others to help it be sustained.

We came back on tuesday and we had a big meeting with all the missionaries from tanna and efate that mission president set up. We found out that 22 missionaries will be transferred out of the
country in the second week of april.  A few are already finishing and anybody who should have been finishing in may are being released honorably. And everyone who should have finished in June will be transferred to their home countries to serve there before they finish.

The mission is basically being down-sized for now.  And the original plan of setting up a stake in april will be post-poned.  It will be set up in the lord's time. After the meeting we reported to president brewer of tanna and he came to the conclusion that Tanna won't have missionaries staying there for 6 months!  It's too dangerous because of diseases that could be received and it will take a while for it to rebuild and prosper.  It will however be a great chance for priesthood leaders to work together and grow.

I want to go back to tanna so bad and I don't want it to be that way and I want to help my brothers and sisters there, but I know the lord has a plan and all will be well.  I will continue to pray for them and show my love for them as much as I can.

Now I'm staying with the Zone Leaders Elder Leva and Elder Dakunimata in the South Efate Zone. Elder Mastin and Elder Matu are staying with us as well. (many missionary houses on Efate got damaged too). Elder Pearce is staying with the North Efate Zone Leaders. I assume we will be staying like this until the april transfer is decided. I am so grateful I will be staying in Vanuatu!

Well know that all is Well, all is well and I'm so blessed to be here! I love you all so much and thanks for all the love and prayers you've shown.  I hope to email you next monday and I will try to send a
letter of my journal entries about our experience with the cyclone.

Mi lavem yufala koko, ful spid no gat brek!!!

Love, Elda Beynon

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