Monday, August 4, 2014

July 21, 20014 Typhoon Glenda! Mount Sumat

Storm Glenda!!!  While it was going on

Outside our apartment after the storm
  Eating all the coconuts that fell off the trees!!!
Shredding the coconut by hand

Hello Family!!!

Well, this week was quite a week!  I don’t know if you saw on the news about the Typhoon Glenda but that kind of took over our week here.  It was a signal 3 storm (the storm that hit Tacloban last year was a signal 4) and man, it was crazy.  I just remember the storms that hit last year, lots of rain and some flooding but that’s it.  So I was excited for the storm to come and just dump rain.  But I wasn't expecting the wind.  I think the winds were around 194 km per hour is what I heard.  They eye of the typhoon came right through Bataan.  We were perfectly safe in our house, and were just watching the palm trees thinking that they were going to be knocked over but they stood.  Afterwards, the district president (our next door neighbors) went and checked on the church buildings around here.  When he came back, he brought a ton of coconuts that had fallen because of the wind.  So we had fun for a couple of hours opening the coconuts and making really yummy food.  But then we got the okay from our mission president and went outside, I felt bad that we were eating coconuts and having fun at the house because there was so much damage.  We didn't really realize it in our house but roofs were torn off, tons of trees knocked over (sometimes knocked over onto houses), trash and debris everywhere, etc.  We went to one of our areas that was close to the ocean and there are so many houses that are just gone.  No more.  They said the storm came in with high tide and the waves just destroyed the houses next to the ocean.  And so many people’s houses just got flooded too.  We went around and saw how people were and if they were okay.  No one was hurt, just scared and tired.  And the storm knocked down a lot of electrical poles so we didn't have electricity for 3 days.  (we were lucky that we had water sometimes) So it was suuuuuuper dark at night.  We got permission from the mission president to go to community service on Thursday and help the people over in Landing clean up a little bit.  We ended up washing clothes for 3 ½ hours because the sea water came in and got everything dirty.  So that was good.  Thankfully, the electricity is now on and although people are still cleaning up, it’s better now.  I was really surprised at how quickly people got out after the storm and cleaned up and just got going.  And how surprisingly cheerful they are about it.  They all say, ‘at least no one was hurt.  Stuff is stuff.  That can easily be replaced.’ And everyone is helping as much as they can.  It’s kind of hard because everyone needs help but they are willing to help everyone else too.  What a humble people!  I am constantly learning from them and hoping someday I can be like them.

In our area that was hit really hard

It gave new meaning to the wise man and the foolish man story. In the summertime, it is really nice to live by the beach because there is a breeze and it’s pretty there. And of course, you don’t want to build a cement house over there because that is hot and it’s cheaper to build a bamboo house. So in the summertime, it’s a really nice way to live. But then when baguio season hits, you take your chances with your house. Maybe it will hold up for some of the storms and maybe it will be totally destroyed and washed away. You never know. And when the strong baguios come, you are terrified and start praying a lot and wish that you had a cement house built away from the sea. This week I really thought about how that is like our spirituality. Sometimes, life is good and we don’t really have any trials or problems. So we get comfortable and we start living close to the beach. We don’t take the precautions we need to take. And sometimes, we start doing little sins, stop reading our Book of Mormon, only sometimes pray. And then a trial comes into our life, or the consequence of sins come into our life. And we start praying to heavenly Father and wishing that we’d been better about following the commandments and that we’d prepared ourselves for this. I know that it is really important to always prepare ourselves. Although sometimes we think "oh, I can do that later" or "I don’t really need to do this. I’m strong enough," we are no match for the storms of life. And as missionaries, we have an important responsibility to teach people how to prepare themselves and urge them to do it quickly. What a great responsibility!

That’s pretty much the big news for the week.  I feel like we didn't work very much because of the storm.  It kind of threw everything off but the work still goes on!  Don’t worry Mom, although this email was full of storm news, we weren't affected really by it and we were totally safe.  It was a good experience for me to see first hand some of the things that people have to go through.  Well, I hope that you all have a great week!  I love you all and know that this church is true! Mahal ko kayo!

Sister Sirrine


Mount Samat!

At the cross.

There is this cool mural at the bottom of the cross
Looking down over the Bataan valley
A canon at Mount Samat

So pretty at Mount Samat!

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