Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Damage in Lanekal on Tanna from the Cyclone

Smith's Journal Entries from Cyclone Pam

Cyclone Part 1

So I'm writing to you because we may not have any more internet access for a while, and a lot happened this week.  So I thought I could write you and let you know all the details.  So as I told you in the email, a cyclone was developing in Northern Vanuatu, but we hadn't seen any signs of danger.

On Tuesday,  we went to the airport and dropped off the perspective missionaries to go to the airport so they could prepare their visa applications and other things for their missions.  Then we studied at home but Elder Pearce wasn't feeling well so we waited a few hours before we went out to teach.  When we went out we taught our new investigator Pascal about the plan of salvation and he was amazed!  Everyone is amazed at the plan of salvation we know so much through the fulness of the gospel.

Afterwards we taught a group of policeman from Port Vila and we taught a brief message of the restoration and got their numbers and sent them as referrals to the missionaries in Port Vila.  Then that afternoon we had a little family home evening activity with Mama Ilia and her family.  We taught them about the apostasy and how Jesus Christ built up his church which fell down.  And then we went home for the night. 

Wednesday we went to whitegrass and had district meeting there and afterwards we met with the sister training leaders to plan out all assignments for zone conference.  Afterwards we started walking back to Lenakal until a truck passed by and brought us back.  Then we went to a restaurant to organize a cater service for zone conference.  Then we checked up on appointments that cancelled and then we just went contacting for the rest of the night.

Thursday morning we received a phone call from President Brewer warning us about the cyclone.  Cyclone Pam he said has the potential of striking the island on Friday or Saturday.  He said to get the elders out of Saet Siwi and greenhill because they are the furthest areas away and we need them to come in in case anything happens.  He didn't worry about the sister missionaries because they are close to town.

 He said that the cyclone was building strength and that we needed to find a concrete building or a safe place for the missionaries to gather in case the cyclone hits.  Elder Jensen and Elder Godfrey arrived and we went of splits.  Elder Pearce and Elder Jensen went out and taught a new investigator named John.  Then we went home and Elder Oli and Elder Tauke from greenhill came and then we called the Mission President about any updates.  He said that the cyclone was building strength but it looked like it would change course and head east towards Fiji.  He told us to call him again the next morning so we could plan what we should do.  Then all of us Elders stayed the night here in Lenakal.

Friday morning we called President Brewer and he said that the cylone was moving slowly and he still needed time to see what it would do.  So we did our weekly planning and then called him back.  He said that the cyclone would most likely hit us and he told us to get the sisters out of their area.  And to get to a cement building.  We then found out that the cyclone was no longer a cyclone, but a category 5 hurricane!!!  So we talked to a friend of ours named William he's the Principal of a school up the hill from our house in Isangel.  He said that here were dormitories that we could take shelter in.  We asked him if others would come but nobody was worried, they didn't think the storm would hit us.  He let us stay in the boys dorms on the north side of the building, and the sisters could stay in the girls dorms on the south side. 

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