Wednesday morning I woke up at about 1 am because someone was screaming outside my window. It was the wind. Wind that went from screaming to roaring. Sleeping was a lost cause so my companion and I just watched out the window as the giant mango tree out front danced pretty violently, so much so that it started to snap, crackle, and pop and we were sure it was coming through our window at any moment. We ran into the other sisters' room to find them doing the same thing so all 4 of us sisters went downstairs, lit some candles, and watched out the window as trees snapped in half and metal roofing was torn from houses. I just kept thinking, "It has to stop soon." And it did eventually. 8 hours later. It was the strangest feeling to step outside into silence after 8 hours of constant roaring. It was even stranger to me to see these downright amazing people start coming out and picking up pieces and rebuilding their lives.
We had no cell phone service and no electricity and so we decided to spend the day checking up on all of our members and investigators. Now this Glenda had nothing on Yolanda, but I saw things that I have never seen before and that have changed my outlook on life. The path to our first member was no where to be found. It was covered with fallen trees. And so was their house. They were all okay, in fact they were just acting like it was any other day. Only there was a tree in their house.
That's the thing about the Filipino people. Throughout the day, we visited members who had swapped roofs with the neighbors, some who were missing walls, and some whose houses were completely blown away. I pulled people's walls off of the very few possessions they had in the first place and I lifted someone's front door from a pile that used to be their home. But even though these people were in a pretty desperate situation, they were still smiling. They started rebuilding one another's homes and doing anything they could to help. One member built a room onto their house that very day so that their neighbor could live their until they could rebuild her house. They were worrying about us, asking us about our home and making sure we had water and all the things we needed.I have never seen such a faith-filled, resilient people in all my life. Of course, I'd never been to the Philippines.
We are on day 7 with no power. I've been planning by candlelight all week. We had to throw all of our food away. I have now experienced a level 4 typhoon. That was the first of 6 typhoons on the way. (But don't worry mom, most of them are smaller) But never have I loved the Philippines so much. Never have I been so grateful that Heavenly Father called me here. I am so grateful for the eternal perspective that the gospel gives. I am thankful for the lessons that I am learning from these people about what's really important in life.
On a less exciting note, transfers were this week and I got a new companion! Guess who! None other than the incredible Sister Burt from Canlubang! I love her to death and I am so excited for this transfer~
Thank you for your prayers, love, and support. I love you all. Have an incredible week and remember what's really important.
XOXO, Sister Brown
|That's their roof|
|The Jupiter Family|
|Rebuilt Mamu's fence|
|But we aren't very good....|
|New companion :)|