Friday, November 6, 2015

Departing Batch #12

It's hard to believe that we've said goodbye to 12 batches of missionaries.  All I can say is, it never gets easier!

This was such a great group of 13.  I was pleased with how well adjusted and prepared to return home and move forward with life they were.  Some had well planned goals that they will move forward with.  I'm not sure the foreigners will be prepared to return home to freezing cold temperatures.  As one of the missionaries said, "Anything under 75 is cold!"

The three words for this batch are, "Charity Never Faileth" from 1 Corinthians 13:8.  I tried to come up with three words about charity that could say it better but nothing was as meaningful.  Our mission has gone on a deep dive into learning about charity.  It has changed the lives of our missionaries.  It has changed the way they teach.  When I asked for three words that describe each of their missions, so many had either the words charity or love within their three words.  Their charity and love were evident as we were around them for two days.  They were so respectful of one another. 

We will miss them but know they are ready to, "Go and do great things!"  Here is our first selfie-batch picture.  We sure love our missionaries!

Our departing batch isn't complete without saying farewell to Elder and Sister Naegle.  They arrived in the mission about 6 weeks before we did.  They have been Self Reliance Missionaries.  We became pretty reliant on them in many aspects of the mission.  Besides Self Reliance Elder Naegle was the 1st Counselor in the mission presidency.  Sister Naegle helped get the Mission Home into tip top shape before having honored guests.  They also taught our Departing Missionary Career Workshop.
They are the last of our original 5 senior couples to leave.  They have definitely left a huge hole in our mission.  We love them and wish them a wonderful reunion with their large family!  
Thank you Naegle's for making the Angeles Mission a better place to serve!

Thursday, November 5, 2015

MLC - The Third Chair

A late posting is better than no posting.  We had another great MLC at the Mission Home on October 13th.  The picture below was introduced at our meeting.  During our last Zone Conference, President Clark was talking about the importance of having the Holy Ghost attend during every lesson.  He said that we should even take an extra chair so that they would recognize that the chair is there to be filled with (as Elder Holland describes it), the Divine Companionship.

Before Elder Westover went home, he was teaching a family.  Every time they went to an appointment, the family would set chairs out for he and his companion.  It wasn't until one of the final lessons before he left that he noticed there were always 3 chairs set up.  He excitedly took a picture of them and realized they literally had "the third chair" with them.  We have taken opportunity to prepare a visual for our missionaries.  We hope it is something that helps them remember to take along the 3rd member of the Godhead with them.  If they do, their lessons will be more powerful and truth will become clearer to both them and their investigators.

Here is the picture of the 3rd chair:


A powerful typhoon is battering the northern Philippines.  In the United States it is called Koppu.  In the Philippines they have named it Lando.  
Typhoon Koppu made landfall near the town of Casiguran on the island of Luzon on Sunday morning, bringing winds of close to 200km/h (124mph).  This would be a strength equivalent to a high-end Category 7 hurricane.  Just south of that area is a town called Baler.  This is on the eastern border of our mission.  
The vast weather system toppled trees and power lines, triggering floods and landslides.
Koppu has since weakened but officials fear further flooding.  The strong winds howled all night long as residents worried about roofs being pulled off.  
With the typhoon moving slowly, heavy rain is likely to fall in the same areas for several days.  Many have had to evacuate their homes.  
Typhoon Koppu is up to 650 km (404 miles) across.
Before the storm began, the Assistants and President Clark received information from all of the Zone Leaders to find out which houses were in danger of flooding.  Missionaries were moved around as needed.  Although it is Sunday, our missionaries were told not to leave their homes.  Most of the wards and branches cancelled their meetings.  
Reports during the day on Sunday morning were very good.  Houses were dry, missionaries were safe.  As nighttime came, rain continued to pour down and flooding is more prevalent.  Some of our missionaries had to move because of flood waters coming into their homes.  Other missionaries are staying upstairs because water is already entering the homes.

We are a bit alarmed at the unforeseen wind strength that the typhoon developed. President Go in Baler said it was a scary night at his home with winds over 200 kph.  But we also count it a blessing that projected severe rainfall did not accumulate at the beginning.  We pray that the projected intense and long-term rain will not reach us.  
Baler District suffered the greatest damage from the storm.  At least four barangay are flooded and the area is without power. Evacuations to shelters have been common among citizens.  President Go is coordinating relief efforts.  

Missionaries have been confined to their homes since 8:00 pm Saturday evening.  We will evaluate the need for lock down to continue on Monday morning.  There is a great deal of high standing water everywhere.  Rivers are running very high and streams are out of their banks.  We are concerned about flash floods in some of the hilly areas of the mission. We will be conservative in assessing the restrictions on missionary travel on Monday.

I’m happy to inform you of the safety and well-being of the missionaries of the Angeles Mission this Monday morning.  All missionaries are accounted for.  All have endured well a soggy Sunday and are ready to begin a new work week.  The prayers on behalf of our missionaries and our mission have been answered.
Today the typhoon is still with us so we continue to have restrictions on missionary travel outside the immediate area around their homes.  Though we are on the back side of the storm, we continue to have strong (gale force) winds and intermittent rain.   However, there has been some blue skies this morning so that bring hope.  We have a great deal of high standing water, rivers are running very high and many streams are out of their banks.  Much of the mission is without power, trees are down, homes have been damaged and other risks still exist.  We remain vigilant so limitations on missionary conduct will be in place.

We monitor the well-being of our missionaries and their houses every six hours by text/phone call.  We have been generously blessed by continued phone service.  We are secure in knowing that all missionaries have food and clean water.  Some homes had water ingress yesterday so emergency relocation was necessary.  This morning water has receded from most homes and things are going in the direction of “normal”.

Today is Preparation Day but it won’t be a regular letter writing day.  Missionaries will be mostly in their homes working on post-typhoon clean-up.  I have instructed missionaries to make this a deep cleaning day in their houses.  They are also allowed to help people near them who have problems.  Because of massive power outage, we will move our emailing to Tuesday or Wednesday of this week.  I will send an email to parents informing them of this change.

We still have no reports of significant member needs.  I will be contacting district presidents for an update this morning.

We are grateful for the fervent prayers from many parents, family and friends.  The Lord loves and watches over His missionaries.