Monday, November 11, 2013

November 11: Typhoon Haiyan (Yolanda)

Dear Friends and Family,
Yes. The typhoon was real. For all who don't know, or I'm sure everyone was reading facebook from my family, there was a signal 4 typhoon that hit my island on Friday morning. The power outage started way before that though. On Wednesday night they cut the whole province off of power, all of Negros Occidental. I guess they just didn't want people hurt from current and stuff so I think it was just a precaution. We haven't had power since though. Bacolod has power. Right now we're running the city from a huge generator that puts out tons of gigawatts... so we do have a little power, but not that real power... we don't know if it'll be gone in 5 minutes or tonight... or tomorrow. No clue. So the only thing that happened this week was MLC, the Typhoon, and the Sunday. So I'll just give you the break down of it all. My email might be shorter this week:
Monday we had our P day in Bacolod. I did see a doctore about my back. Long story, nothing they can do, so I will just live with it for the next 10 months + and then when I get home I'll fix it. We then did some shopping in Bacolod for a birthday party of an Elder that lives in Bata. We sleep in Bata anytime that we go to MLC for this Zone Leaders meeting thing. So it was Elder Leng's birthday. He's from Portland. So we had cake, ice cream, and then just some chips and stuff. Not like a party it was more just like a terrible unhealthy dinner. 
Love my new Utah State shirt!  Thanks Court!

Tuesday we had our MLC at the mission home and that was super good. Learned a lot of things. Then we learned that there is something called a super typhoon off in the distance and it's going to hit our island with it's eye. I was like, COOL! So that was that. We were super tired just because we stayed up talking to the other Zone Leaders on Monday night. Then when we got back to San Carlos that night and prepared for our zone meeting on Wednesday morning.
Wednesday in the middle of our zone training meeting I received a text from President saying that everyone needs to return to their areas after the meeting, buy food and store water, then stay at home and prepare the house and prepare everything for this super typhoon. I guess it got bigger that morning and so he wanted us to really prepare. After discussing it with the Canla-on and Vallehermoso Elder's and their apartment situation, we found that it would definitely flood, if the typhoon was as big as it's supposed to be. I called President and he told me to just figure it out myself and my companion. So we decided to just keep them at our house. We have an upstairs so in case of any flooding it would be better and safe because we could still be dry. So after the meeting we all went shopping. Bought tons of rice, the canned meets so that we could keep them with no power, I stored a ton of water, and then they all came over and we had a sleepover. We received a text that was just a forwarded thing about how the power to all of Negros Occidental will be turned off as a precaution. We didn't believe it, until it happened. Then Elder Wilstead beat me in a game of candlelight Chess.
Thursday the storm was supposed to hit. When we woke up there was no clouds, it was hot, and the wind wasn't that strong. We were super confused. President text us all and said not to be confused. It's coming. We were joking that there was no storm, but yeah... Thursday there was no rain, no win, no clouds, we were ready for this storm and it didn't even come. We ordered pizza and did our studies, sat outside and just talked and shared stories, talked about investigators, less actives, our areas, and then about our families. It was a nice Thursday. We went to sleep again with no power or anything. No fans, no water, everything was gone.
Taking down the Mango tree, so it wouldn't hit the house!

Friday morning we woke up and there was a little bit of wind and the grey clouds. The wind in the sky was moving SUPER fast. The cloud were booking it across the sky. So we were like... maybe there is something up there. haha. About 11am the wind and the rain arrived. Elder Wilstead, Elder Pulsipher, Elder Shaffer, and I all sat outside and we had all the blankets and were covered. We were just watching the storm take out the fence across the street, then these people take down that mango tree. We weren't allowed to go outside under orders from President, so we couldn't go help. I wanted to, but we couldn't. The rain came down and the floods came up. The road flooded, but our house was fine. We actually then all went inside, made some lunch, then took a nap because the rain was so soothing on the roof. When we woke up the rain was fading and the wind was a little less strong. No damage was done to our house. The Sister in Branch 2 had their apartment flooded, Vallehermoso's was flooded, and Canla-on A's apartment was flooded. Everyone else is fine. We found that our all yesterday though. The cell tower was out so we had no communication between President and us, but I stood on the balcony, on the railing and was able to shoot a text off, no clue how. God let me do it I guess. Anyway, we had no contact with the rest of our zone. That night we did a lot more front balcony sitting and just talked. 
Needs a shower!
First signs of trouble!  Flooding, fence down, and lots of wind!
Saturday we got a text saying everyone can go home and then do service all day. So all the Elders left our apartment and returned home. We then cleaned our apartment because 3 days of 9 people in a place and can't leave it was nasty. The meat in the freezer smelled cause nobody took it out, there was dirt in the house from who knows what. During the storm the back door opened then slammed shut and broke so the back door is broke and doesn't close. We should be getting a new one soon. The owner knows and came and looked at it. Then we went out and check the damage to the members. We visited all the members that we thought might have problems and things and then found out that they were all safe! Thank goodness! We were super glad to hear that. Then after all morning and mid afternoon of checking up on everyone we went back home to finish cleaning up our house. We then went and bought some more canned foods because we were out or food and rice. Power still wasn't one and no hope of it being on. The night of sleep was the worst.
Sunday morning we had no power and it was super hot. We still went to church and the Lord still blessed us and we had 4 investigators at church Leticia Leduna, Jamala Leduna, Edward Bustamante, and Malu! Leticia and Jamala will have an interview next Sunday for baptism! So we're stoked about that! We then had to go to Calatrava to do a baptismal interview for Elder Saure, the DL in that District. So we did the interview... they don't have any cell signal till now. Ours came back. Then after that we went to Punao and just worked. We taught the Leduna's about L.O.C, WoW, and Sabbath Day, and then they committed to live them. We also taught Edward about the Word of Wisdom and he has no problems and committed to live it. He's a way cool investigator. Probably the most favorite one I've ever taught before. He's super interested and always asked good questions. And always reads his assignment. Last night they kicked on a generator that's from the Ethanol plant here in San Carlos. The city asked to use it and it's wired to the whole city somehow... I don't know how it works. Anyway right now, the city is running off of it.
It's been an insane week. We just prayed all the time that the storm would keep us safe. Nothing too serious happened to us as missionaries here. We aren't sure about the other missionaries in the missions. Cadiz and Sagay cities were the biggest hits though, so we're sure something happened up there, but not sure yet. We might find out this week.
I love you all. Thanks for all the prayers that kept me safe in the storm and the aftermath of all the stuff that's happened. We'll still have some clean up I think this week, but mostly teaching is what I plan on doing. We need some baptisms! Thanks for everything! I miss you so much! Talk to you next week! :)
Elder Ellis

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