Wonderful Elders and Sisters of the Great Philippines Cauayan Mission,
As many of you have asked, I wanted to inform all of you of the circumstances surrounding the Super Typhoon affecting the Tacloban Mission. Here are some of the facts that you should know:
- All of the Missionaries have been found and are safe and accounted for. As far as we know, all of the families of the missionaries serving in the Cauayan Mission who are from that area are safe, although many have lost their homes and belongings.
- The Tacloban Mission has been closed. All of the missionaries have been evacuated to Manila and treated for wounds and illnessed caused by the typhoon.
- All of the missionaries from the Tacloban Mission have been reassigned to 11 of the 21 other Missions in the Philippines. To make room for all of the reassignments, many missionaries who were in the 11 Missions that took in Missionaries who were going home in the next two months have been asked to go home early, and are now home or on their way home.
- The Cauayan Mission was not asked to receive any of the reassigned missionaries from the Tacloban Mission, I assume because of distance and the fact that those missionaries spoke Cebuano, not Tagalog.
- The Tacloban Mission home was flooded and damaged during the typhoon and storm surge but will now be quickly cleaned, repaired, and used for a command center for disaster relief operations for the members and communities in the mission.
- A total of 43 Church buildings were damaged by the storm in that area, 12 with major damage and 31 with minor damage.
- Seven trucks with supplies for members have reached stakes and districts in the Tacloban area. Tens of Thousands of food boxes and hygiene kits have been prepared by church members and and sent to those effected.
If you have questions or members have questions about what we can do. We have been told that the very best thing to do is increase your Fast Offerings as much as you can to provide for the typhoon area. If you or members have specific questions, I have asked Sister Laker to be our disaster relief coordinator. She can provide you with information you may need.
So... Elders and Sisters, sometimes we get asked to take an assignment on a last minute notice, or be transferred because of a real emergency. If this ever happens to you, think of the 150 Elders and Sisters who were transfered overnight by a storm, not to a different area in the mission, but some all the way home, others to an entirely different mission. Many of those only escaped with the clothes that had on them when the storm hit. We are so blessed, Sister Rahlf and I thank God that you are all safe and sound. May the Lord continue to bless us.