Sunday, November 17, 2013

Typhoon Missionaries

This evening I read a beautiful poetic article about LDS missionaries pulling faith from fear during Typhoon Haiyan.  You can read it here, for it is the reference point for which this post is made.

(photo source: Ravell Call, Deseret News)

The story elaborates about how several sister missionaries survived the recent storm.  Miraculously they were provided a way to escape the aftermath, which is unfolding for those who were not so fortunate to find a way out, who likely remain fighting for scraps of food in the desolation.

After reading the article, and pondering the idea that many around the world would do anything they could to be drop-shipped to the Philippines to be able to help the survivors, I am scratching my head as to why these 204 missionaries were pulled out of the country.  Death is all around.  People are desperate for food, and it's likely pouring in, although probably no where near what is needed to survive.  Maybe that's why.  Maybe they needed to get out of the devastation, and allow food and resources to go to the locals.  My mind and heart are wondering, what are missionaries for, if not to serve?  Their job is not only to teach, or is it?

Recently I read on a blog where the author had a suggestion for what they hoped would be announced at General Conference regarding missionary work.  I really liked it.  They supposed how cool it would be for missionaries to be able to dress in regular clothes, and be out ministering through service to the local communities.  At 5 pm, they would get back in their suits after dinner, and spend the evening proselyting with the help of members at a time when fathers are generally home, and the elders (at least) can get into homes without having to reschedule until there is another male present.  I really loved that idea, because it seems like knocking doors is not the most effective way, at least 24-7.  But getting out there in street clothes, tags on, asking every person they meet, "Hey, what can I do to serve/help you?" –would that not be a wondrous sight to behold?

I am so glad the missionaries in the Philippines are safe, but I'm a little jealous, and somewhat sad that they were not permitted to regroup, reassess, and find a way to make God's presence known.  I pray that while they're in another area of the Philippines, they can get any emotional help they might need, as they'll likely experience nightmares from the horrors of what they've seen.  Yet in the aftermath of the storm, I'm really pondering the idea that in disasters like these, we are being tested as to our resolve and interest in being an instrument in God's hands.

Love and prayers for all those affected.


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