Thursday, April 23, 2015

View of Tanna from the plane
Cyclone Part 6

March 19th, 2015, Thursday, District President Nalawes picked us up this morning and brought us to the airport.  A chartered plane was supposed to come but we called the AP's on someone's satellite phone and they said it was delayed.  An "Air Vanuatu" plane had just landed but not very many people boarded so we called President Brewer to ask it we could just follow the plane if they had extra seats available.  Luckily they did and we flew to Port Vila.  We arrived and the AP's dropped us off at the mission home  President and Sister Brewer were very happy to see us. 

President had me call President Pearson of the Quorum of the Seventy and I told him a little of our experience during the cyclone.  He said lots of prayers were said, he said more prayers for you than you've every probably received in your life.  Apparently the Twelve Apostles were even praying for us!  He also said that he had talked to Dad (Marc) to ask him how he and mom were doing.  He said they seemed to be alright.  He said after my experience with all this "to keep up the faith, don't let anything get in the way of it". 

We all ate mashed potatoes and gravy for dinner that Sister Brewer made.  They were amazing!  President told us what things were like in Port Vila.  He said that the mission home flooded as well during the cyclone and that the powere went out.  But then came back on a few days later.  The mission home got minor damage from a tree that fell on the roof during the storm.  And the internet was down on the island except on his phone and the family history center.  He said "the Lord had his hand stretched out in his work, and Vanuatu will see many blessings".

It was such a big cyclone but so few deaths.  Eight deaths were confirmed in Tanna.  In Port Vila, not a single member of the church was killed by the cyclone.  As a result, they will most likely have to downsize the mission.  The AP's dropped everyone off with the other Elders and Sisters and we got to see the destruction in Vila as well.  Each missionary house had about 4-6 Elders or Sisters in each of the houses.  Six of the houses were damaged.  Big buildings were in bad shape.  Yachts and said boats were sunk and blown into the shore.  It still seemed like Tanna got hit the worst though.  The AP's had us stay with them.  I made some burritos for us for dinner.

Friday March 20th, 2015, This morning we went to the mission office with the AP's and we all had  a meeting with President Brewer.  He discussed things that need to be done, and information that needs to be learned.  He gave me and Elder Pearce and assignments and he wants us to go back to Tanna with Pres Basil and Joen Bennion on Monday to find out the needs of the people and branches.  If the bank is up and running and the status of what is going on.  We then put our photos and videos of the cyclone on a disk to keep for the missions history and one for the quorum of the seventy.  We did so and followed the AP's around for the rest of the day. 

Saturday March 21st, 2015, This morning we went to Nambia which is the AP's area and where the district center is at.  We went to the district center to do some service.  From 10-4 we unloaded tons of food from trucks and store rooms and offices full of rice, flour, sugar, noodles, salt, onions, biscuits, etc.  The church offered a ton of help for these people.  We helped other distribute it evenly, load some of it on other trucks to give to members and non-members.  Then we followed the AP's and they let the Elders and Sisters from Tanna call and talk to their families for 5 minutes to let them know that everything was alright and that they were all okay. 

Our zone safe and sound at the mission home in Port Vila

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