Saturday, August 2, 2014

Jessica's Forty First Email! July 27th, 2014

 YouuuuuuuuWhooooooo. Did ya miss me last week?! Sorry I couldn’t send a long email home. I was actually almost done writing SUCH a detailed email about the storm and everything. Then…. Brownout. I guess the generator stopped working. Dang, but the good news is, Cento has power now! So that shouldn’t happen again. In Camaligan, my town, they say we won’t have power for probably another 2 weeks to one month. All the electric poles are still knocked down and have halves of trees dangling from them, so I think even within the month would be ambitious! But we can hope! On the bright side, dinner by candlelight isn’t the worst thing. You wanna know the worst thing? Sleeping in the Philippines without an electric fan! The no fridge thing isn’t so convenient either, but hey! Like they told me when I got here, it all makes for a good journal entry, right?!
Ok, so I’m guessing you want to hear about the typhoon mother?? I heard it didn’t really hit the news, so that’s good hopefully you weren’t too worried. You had reason to be though, let me tell you! Shoot! I literally thought I was going to die that night. But lots of prayers and living with a tough Tongan, and here I am! Ok so let’s see. Monday night (as in like 2 weeks ago Monday) we went to Centro to get the rest of our food for the storm. It was insane. People everywhere!!! The ATM lines literally were like 200 people long. The shelves in the grocery store were just empty. People were literally preparing for the end of the world! So we got our stuff and got back home. Got a text from the Zone leaders that the storm was worse than they thought and we would be on ‘lockdown’ until at least Wednesday morning. That’s when I started getting kinda freaked out! So Tuesday just started pretty normal. Started with a bowl of oatmeal (of course) and then studies. We started watching some Mormon movies but around noon on Tuesday the power went out. SO I’ll be honest, the rest of the afternoon was pretty uneventful. We just sat on the balcony. The winds were picking up fast so we were just “storm watching” in the afternoon. I did some cleaning and extra reading. The storm was at first scheduled to hit around 3, but the Zone Leaders kept texting updates that it had been delayed. The trees were already looking like they were going to snap and the storm was still hours off. SO then around 8ish is when it got real bad. I was like shaking, haha, my journal entry is hardly legible. Around 9 is when I really thought it was the end. You know in The Wizard of Oz when the roof just flies off, ya. That’s what I kept imagining. So I laid there (on sister Sekona’s bed cause she let me so I wasn’t on the top bunk by the window.) The wind was SO LOUD and SO STRONG on our window. Water started coming in some cracks in the window so sister Sekona went out, in the HEART of the storm, and covered the windows with plastic haha. So brave!! So yes, Naga was in the middle of the signal 4 typhoon for about 4 hours. Needless to say, I didn’t sleep a wink that night! Even with the ear plugs. I hope you all know how much I love you. When I really thought I might die, I just thought of how blessed I am with the best family and friends in the world!
Ok. Onto Wednesday. Got the text first thing from the ZL’s that we could go out and do service. So we got dressed real quick and were gone the whole day. We have 5:30 curfew (even still) since there are no lights in the town. So in the morning we went out, the 4 of us sisters, and we went around to our investigators houses. Helped them clean and there was one family! Ahhh so sad. We got there and just the husband was there. The house is totally and completely gone. It was just a pile of wood and sheet metal. So for a few hours we helped him dig through the remnants of his home and find anything they could save like clothes and dishes and stuff. Then I went down to the river and washed and ahh. Heartbreaking. But these people are so strong! The next day we went back and he had rebuilt most of it. They lost everything and then they’re just back up and at it again. They don’t let the material things get them down. I have learned so much about this experience. SIMPLIFY!! When it comes down to it, most of what we have doesn’t even matter. His family was safe and that’s all he cared about. It was truly Amazing. SO then that afternoon we met up with the zone leaders. Went to some members houses and helped them cut apart trees that had fallen on their house and stuff like that. It was a good day. The next day was pretty much the same stuff too. Served and what not. We were told not to teach until we got the OK cause people needed help first. Thursday we went around with the Branch president and a few branch members. We put together bags with rice, canned foods, and noodles. Took them around to some members and it was great to see the Branch President really reach out and show the members that he cares. Friday was great. A much needed interview with President Reeder! We had the zone interviews and ahh. Was just so honest and open and the greatest. He gave such great advice as always. Even though pops isn’t here to talk to me and give me good fatherly counsel, I’m grateful for President and that fatherly figure in the mission.
So Camaligan, ever since the typhoon has looked like a war zone. Everyone is burning all the trees and such so the whole town is just smoke. Poles and houses knocked down everywhere and just crazyyyy!!!!! There have been some little storms since, but no typhoons! There was a lightning storm the other day. Came right as we were walking through the middle of an open field and ahhh so close! So scary. I think my phobia is getting a little bit better though!
Ummmmm ok as I said, I have the best family and friends!!! MOM AND JENNY!!! Got your packages last Monday! You are the BEST!!!!! Mom’s packages are always so good, but then get two ladies in Target together and shoot. You two know how to do it! Glad you figured out the LBC thing mom! So much good stuff! Love all the clothes and candy! Laughed so hard when I read in Jenny’s card that she has made adobo plenty of times while I was at her house! Dang! Didn’t know what I was missing! I’m looking forward to that one day. Anyway. Love you both. Too much good stuff. THANK YOU!
 TOMORROW IS TRANSFERS!!!! Sister Ril is getting transferred, so tomorrow I will know who the new companion is. I will still be here in Camaligan so I’m excited about that. And I am pumped for a new comp!!! ;) Please pray for a runner so we can put an end to the weight gain! Love you all!

This week was pretty uneventful. We got to go back to teaching with the occasional service project! Had a great exchange with the STL’s. I was in Canaman with Sister Barlow. A needed day. Love her! I’m still learning lots and enjoying this time I have been blessed with! Thanks for the love and support and concerned emails! All is well here! Getting used to living like an Amish person!
Love, Sister Richmond
Ps- Megan Bertha asked if loom bands were a big deal in America too cause they are in England! Crazy how a little bracelet can just sweep the whole world in a few weeks haha. Everyone here makes them and they are everywhere!!! I’ve had like 3 people make me one now!
Top 10
1. Service!
2. Interview with President Reeder
3. Helaman 5:12, really came in handy the last few weeks
4. Packages from Mom and Jenny
5. Survived the wrath of Glenda
6. McDonalds by candlelight
7. Last day of the transfer!!!!! NEW COMP
8. Exchanges
9. Dunkin donuts this morning!

10. Did I tell you it’s the last day of the transfer?!?! J J J J

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