I survived a hurricane.
Monday we had P-Day. It was normal. That evening we went to go visit my bffs Melody, Brittany and Milady. We get there and nine year old Milady lets us in and we had a lesson with her and Brittany. Okay let me tell you how cool Milady is. She is literally NINE YEARS OLD. Nine. And she reads her Book of Mormon all the time and is taking her Book of Mormon with her to school to show it to her friends and she reads it out loud to her family.
I want to be just like her when I grow up.
Then after the lesson Milady asks us if we’d heard about the hurricane and starts giving us advice about how to prepare. She was all “you’re going to need to go outside and secure anything that is loose so it doesn’t blow away.” And I’m over here thinking “what the heck… you’re nine… Stop being smarter than me.”
I’m only joking because I actually love little Milady with ALL MY HEART. 💛💛💛
We invited them to be baptized in November and they are PUMPED about it. #Blessings
Milady also asked me to paint her nails so I did. 💅🏼
So we then left and went to Bunnell for exchanges.
On Tuesday I stayed in Bunnell with Sister Anderson for her very first exchange. That girl is a champ. We had a lot of fun. We went to Habitat for Humanity and I organized ALL of the books. All of them. I found a book about MoTab and that was exciting. We also biked around for a while and people were not so thrilled to see us. Whatever.
K so then we visited this less active couple who gave us a tour of every inch of their house. Like they literally were opening cupboards to show us what was inside them. I don’t really understand. I didn’t role play that in the MTC. Haha Then we went to dinner and had some pizza. 🍕K then guess what happened next. We are headed to an appointment with a less active family and they call us and are like “we have an investigator here waiting for you.” And Sister Anderson and I are looking at each other like 😮😎. So we go over and sit in this super incredible lesson that was completely facilitated by the members. Let me tell you. The Spirit was thick and there were multiple people in tears. Ahh I love being a missionary! After that we exchanged back and I was back with Hermana Jones in NSB.
K so here’s where my week got weird.
Wednesday we went to ZTM in the morning. It was a good meeting and all I had to do was say a prayer. #BlessingsOfPlanningTheMeeting Then we get news that #HurricaneMatthew2K16 is coming towards us and we’re going to need to evacuate to Deltona in the morning. So we go home and started our hurricane preparations. You’d have thought the zombie apocalypse was happening. Gas stations were running out of gas and grocery stores were running out of food. It was mad.
We got a notice on our door from our apartment complex telling me I should tape the windows so there I was putting pieces of tape on the windows thinking “I don’t really know what this is going to do….” 😂
Well due to the hurricane headed towards us nobody really wanted to meet with us so we spent the restoration of the evening calling ward members and telling them that the bishop felt impressed to strongly encourage everyone to evacuate. It was a pretty exciting time. People were freaking out.
⬆️I just realized that when I typed “rest” it autocorrected to “restoration” and thought it was pretty funny so I decided to leave it. #YouKnowYoureAMissionaryWhen…⬆️
In the evening we got put on this conference call where they tell us they decided Deltona isn’t safe and they are going to send us to Orlando and that we needed to be at the mission office before 7:00 the next morning to find out relocations.
Thursday we got up at 4:30am and the Daytona Sisters came and we packed up the car and started our road trip down to the citayy. We were expecting a lot of traffic since there was a hurricane coming, but we soon realized that it was the middle of the night so we were basically the only ones on the road. So we got there early and went to Chick-Fil-A. I was making a voice recording when a police man walked up and started to ask us about the church. We got the whole contact on a recording. It was pretty funny.
Then we met in the mission office with all the other Hurricane Refugees. It was one of the most fun times I’ve had in a while. I got to see all of my friends and we just talked and played games and waited for the APs to figure out what they were going to do with us. Eventually the APs announced relocations and me and HNA Jones, Sister Hart and Staten, HNA Mickleson and Guerrero, and Sister Carter and Badal were all going to President and Sister Wood’s house.
I don’t know if I can accurately describe to you how excited I was about this.
Exactly a year ago almost TO THE DAY I arrived to Florida and spent the night at President and Sister Wood’s house. It was surreal to go back to where I began my mission and think about how far I’ve come in the last 365 days. Sorry to be all deep and whatever, but I thought it was pretty cool.
So after a while of waiting we loaded up the trailer and Elder Johnson decided we should go wait inside so we played a game of signs and then we rode the Big White Whale to President Wood’s house and we helped him prepare his house for the storm and then we walked around the neighborhood offering to help people put things away. Nobody really wanted our help. Whatever. Then we came in and cooked dinner together and had a super fun “family night” that Sister Wood had put together. We played games and had scripture study and Sister Carter and Badal did a little devotional. Then all the sisters sat and told embarrassing moments and oddly enough I had been present for almost all of the embarrassing moments that were shared. Hahaha my life.
THEN GUESS WHAT
They had me share a room with SISTER HART AND SISTER STATEN. My trainee and her trainee.
God loves me so much. I still can’t figure out how that worked out.
So as you can imagine we stayed up talking for a good amount of time.
Guess what else…
I slept through the hurricane. What the heck? I didn’t even wake up.
It wasn’t too bad down in Orlando. We didn’t even loose power. But we were told that it hit the east coast pretty hard. So when we got up it was pretty rainy and windy, nothing we haven’t seen before, but we still weren’t allowed to leave. So we spent the ENTIRE DAY Friday chillin’ with President and Sister Wood. We made fancy meals and we played Apples to Apples and Hermana Guerrero read us children’s stories, and President Wood even let us watch movies with him! We watched Mobsters and Mormons and The Best Two Years and it was SO FUN. We did a bunch of projects for Sister Wood and we had another “family night” and scripture study and stayed up supper late talking again. Just imagine a sleepover with 8 sisters and that’s basically what happened. There was non-stop laughter for about two days.
Saturday morning the Fort Pierce Elders came over because the family that was hosting them had to go to work. So the thirteen missionaries and President and Sister Wood had breakfast together and then made homemade pretzels. Then we cleaned up the yard and I was peer pressured into doing my first back handsprings in over a year. I did a bunch of them and they weren’t cute, but hey, I can still do them so that’s good! 👊🏻*whips and nay nays*
Then the APs came and picked us up and took us to the mission office. We had a little post-hurricane pow-wow with President Clark and at the end we all knelt in prayer and President Clark offered a beautiful prayer thanking God for getting us through the storm safely. It was a very cool and humbling thing to be a part of.
Then we loaded up and drove home with the Daytona Sisters. We didn’t have power at our apartment when we got there. We spent the rest of the day unpacking our stuff, and cleaning the church parking lot with the Newmans. I had a three year old out rake me. He kept giving me orders about where I should rake and it was the cutest thing. Then we had dinner with the Newmans and they are my new favorite family.
Sunday was a weird day. We got up and went to church in our jeans. We had a short sacrament meeting and then armies of people in yellow T-Shirts from all over the state of Florida came to help clean up. NSB kinda looked like you put a salad in a blender and then threw it on the ground. Massive trees were everywhere. On top of houses and garages, Hanging on phone lines, There were signs that had fallen on top of cars and fences and street signs destroyed. There was incredible damage and it was very humbling. We spent all day moving debris into piles and cleaning up the yards of those who couldn’t do it themselves. It was incredible as we did thousands and thousands of dollars worth of labor for free and the feelings that I felt as I looked these home owners in the eye and said “no, we don’t want any money. We just want to serve you.” Were incredible. We spent most of the day working on the team run by Brother Newman who was kind of in charge of the whole operation in New Smyrna Beach. We kind of worked as their assistants. We toured the area with them a little bit to assess the damage and oh man. It was crazy. Then we were driving past Blind Pop’s house and saw Lamar outside so we got out to talk to him for a bit. I was relieved to see him because I was worried about him in his tiny house, but he survived and was doing great and we were all in good spirits at that point! Later we joined a crew that was made up of mostly missionaries from our stake and helped clean up the house of one of my investigators I had given to the elders a while back. That was fun! Then the Griffitt’s family fed us all dinner because they are saints and then we came home.
The clean up isn’t done and we still have a lot of work to do. This week was a week I will never forget and one I’m sure I will tell my children about someday. I just want you all to know how much I love my Father in Heaven.
On Sunday during our shortened sacrament meeting we sang Master the Tempest is Raging which was so fitting. But what stood out to me was the fact that the first verse he is describing the storm and how scared he is, and in the second verse he is calling out in prayer pleading for relief, and the third verse is describing the peace and relief he felt that comes through Christ. I think that’s the whole reason we go through trials. To teach us to rely on Christ and to allow us the opportunity to feel His redeeming love and the relief that comes through the Atonement. That hymn will never mean the same thing as it did before this week.
I know that God lives and that He loves us. I know He is aware of the personal hurricanes that we go through and He is always there to help us feel peace and happiness even amidst the storms. All we have to do is let Him.
I love y’all so much and I love y’all more than missionaries love to do hurricane cleanup.
Hope y’all had a splendid week.
I’m now in search of a T-Shirt that says “I survived #HurricaneMatthew2K16” if anyone wants to send me one. I’m also in search of a Mormon Helping Hands shirt because I never got one yesterday and was super bummed about it because everyone else got one. But you know, it’s fine.
I survived #HurricaneMatthew2K16
Peace out! ✌🏻️
Out of context quotes:
“Whips and slips”
“Oh… President Clark is petting my goat.”
“We need to go get junk food before this happens. I can’t eat carrots during a hurricane!”
Sister Whitney Reid