Monday, October 10, 2016
In the Eye of a Hurricane There is Quiet
For any of you who don't know, the subject line is a quote from Hamilton. I try not to think of worldly music, but with my week it was a must! Anyway, in lieu of a normal email I thought I'd tell you about experiencing hurricane Matthew since that's probably what you all want to hear about anyway.
We've been having investigators drop hints about a hurricane for a couple weeks, but this week it got real. On Monday we got a text from the mission office telling us there was a possibility of a hurricane this week and to get ready. Wednesday morning during our studies we received a text telling us that we had to be on a conference call at 11:55 and we had to pause our studies to check our 72 hour kits, clean and fill our bathtubs with water, and begin to pack up all of our things that we wouldn't want trashed. So that obviously didn't make us nervous at all. We ran around like maniacs getting stuff together and anxiously waiting for the call. When 11:55 finally rolled around (actually, I made us be on the call by like 11:45 because of who I am as a person) we heard President Richardson say, "The hurricane has shifted paths and will hit the north east part of our mission." I was like, hold on-that's me! They then explained that 3 zones would be evacuated to other chapels and the other missionaries would shelter in their homes during the storm. My zone was evacuated and my district was sent to Wellington.
We were still expected to proselyte on Wednesday, so we went and helped a former investigator "clean" her house. I don't know if you remember Rosemary, but she called us Tuesday to tell us she wanted us to come by! So we've been teaching her again. She's old and a little bit crazy but we'll see where this goes!
Back to the story: we delivered a bible and tried to knock some doors, but West Palm Beach was a ghost town. I've never seen hurricane shutters before, but I'm very familiar with them now. People were looking at us like we were crazy (accurate). We came home for dinner and loaded up our cars with lots of water, canned food, and our little bags of personal items as well as our bikes. We drove to the chapel and to our surprise, every single door was covered in shutters. We definitely looked sketchy as we tried to break in. The elders came a billion hours later as we were almost finished prying shutters off of one door and used their screwdriver to finish the job. We got everything in and went to do our next task: filling the font. Well, the control box was locked. We took shifts using our one screwdriver and a dime to get the screws out while our district leader used a bobby pin to try to pick the lock. We're all a bunch of criminals, it's fine. We finally got that going, then we basically just messed (around in a dignified, I-represent-the-Lord way). We slept in a mysteriously humid primary room while the elders slept in the scouts room. Well, "slept" probably isn't the right word for what I did, which was flip around all night because I was so uncomfortable. Tra la la!
Then next morning we got on another conference call where our mission president informed us that all the missionaries in the Wellington chapel had to move. What? So we packed up, shuttered the place back up, and drove to Jupiter. The wind was crazy and everything was shuttered up. We really wanted to get some real food, but everything was closed. It was pretty eerie seeing all the shutters and no people...But we made it to Jupiter and got all settled in. A member of the Jupiter bishopric came and closed the shutters behind us so we were literally locked in. We watched Legacy (hey-it's your favorite movie Mom!) and Meet the Mormons in Spanish. I didn't understand too much, but I got to hear "Glorious" and also color, so I enjoyed myself. I was forced to sport and accidentally broke a sweat playing volleyball. I wouldn't have minded except we couldn't shower and I knew if I was sweating the elders were really going to stink. We made interesting meals and played hide-and-seek and werewolf for a while. It was kind of the longest day of my life. We could see wind out a high window and we were all a little nervous. The fire alarm in the chapel was broken and went off like every 3 minutes so I almost smashed it with my scriptures. Is that bad? Should I not have considered doing that? Haha it was a weird day but I got really close with my district. Elder Heath is sassier than I knew, and Elder Widney is the most athletic person I've ever met (he lifted up a tree in one hand. What is that??). I just have a lot of love for these missionaries I'm serving with! We forgot to take a hurricane crew pic, but I'll work on getting one of those this week.
We had another long night and heard the wind absolutely howling outside, but in the morning we were cleared to go home! We didn't lose power or anything. It really was a miracle! God is so good. I'm not going to lie, I sort of wished it was a little more intense so this story could be more interesting, but I really am grateful we were kept safe. This email has just rambled on so I'll finish with this: The church is true, the book is blue, Jesus Christ loves YOU. (Was that cheesy enough? Good.)
I love you all!
Sister Peterson, hurricane Matthew survivor