Monday, September 18, 2017

Master the Tempest is Raging


This has been about the craziest two weeks of my life, so let me share a little bit about life here in the FFLM over the past couple weeks.

On Tuesday, September 5, we received a text saying that the whole mission was required to be on bikes to save gas. At this point, we'd been hearing about the hurricane from members and random people we talked to, but nothing had been confirmed by the mission. For the next couple days we biked our tails off and had daily conference calls telling us to prepare our houses and ourselves to evacuate. It was super weird to see everyone putting up boards and shutters, and the mass exodus out of south Florida was pretty crazy too.

On Wednesday, we biked out to visit Amy. Her house is about 4.5 miles away, and right when we got to her neighborhood to knock, it started pouring. That would have been fine, but the lightning was so close!! We didn't have any umbrellas and no one was letting us in, so we ended up standing with our backs against someone's garage door under the alcove. Right then, we got a message from Amy cancelling our appointment. There was a flash of lightning and a boom of thunder that literally shook my bones. We didn't know what to do and were just wondering if we should try to run to a store when Amy drove by. She stopped and waved us into her car and drove us home. It was such a miracle that she came right when we needed her! God has a plan, I tell you. 

On Friday, we were told that we would all be evacuating. My zone was sent up to Jupiter to take shelter in the chapel there. We got to spend the next 3 days in the church all together. We didn't lose power until Sunday afternoon, so that was a major blessing. We mostly just studied, played games, I scrap-booked super hard, and hung out. I love my zone! Seriously, these elders and sisters are amazing. Even though it was a little stifling to be living in half of a church building (we couldn't go through the chapel or gym since the steeple might fall in and collapse the roof), I am so grateful I was able to get to know these wonderful elders and sisters. I'm not saying the FFLM has the best missionaries in the world, but I'm not saying it doesn't ;)

On Monday morning the mission allowed us to go outside and clean up the destruction outside the chapels. Our stake president took us to his house to shower (#BLESSED) and then we headed over to one of their friend's properties to help her clean up. We cleaned up trees, branches, pine needles x 1200000, and other debris that had blown in. It was a lot of work, but it was so fun! The woman we helped was so appreciative and I was so satisfied seeing the grounds all nice and clean.

We were able to go back to our house that night, and for the next two nights we had to be in at 8 because there was a city curfew. That's almost as serious as missionary curfew, folks. The good news is, we were able to contact Freddy and Darlyne and they're safe! We went by their trailer with some other missionaries and spent a couple hours cleaning up all the trees that had fallen next to their home. Freddy was so cute! He was telling us how bummed he was that we had missed the temple tour and joked with Sister Monson about needing to give her water first since she has the same name as the prophet. He is a completely different man than the one Sister Cottrell and I met some weeks ago. We asked him what else we could do to help, and he just said, "Come back tomorrow so we can have a session (which is what he calls our lessons haha)." I love that family!!

On Saturday we woke up at 5 AM and drove down to Kilian to join in the Mormon Helping Hands effort. My group spent the day helping families around the area. The whole operation was so organized! The church had already collected work orders for people from Kilian to the Keys. A goup of 8-14 was put together and sent out to work. There were massive trucks coming in with food, chainsaws, and other supplies. I was surprised by how many people rejected our help. It reminded me that God has given us our agency and He will force no man to happiness.

All day Sunday was full of miracles. We were supposed to wake up at 4, drive over the the West Palm Beach chapel, and be there for a 5 AM sacrament meeting before going down to the Keys. Our alarm didn't go off, but for some reason I woke up at 4:48. We were out the door in under ten minutes and somehow made it to the chapel in time to take the sacrament even though the drive is supposed to take 30 minutes! The miracles just kept coming as my group made it to the Keys. The National Guard and police force were blocking the roads keeping people from going into the Keys, but we were able to get through. We helped to clean up a little Christian church in Key Largo that had mostly elderly members. They were so cute and so grateful! We were turned away by many people in Islamirada, but felt prompted to try one more trailer park before heading farther south. There we met Joe, who was happy to accept our help! The trailer park was knee deep in seaweed and debris, which we helped to clear. Joe told us that in the morning at church, people had said that the Mormons were in town helping. Many people said they didn't want help because they wanted to have their insurance come check. Joe stood up and said, "Lord-send them to Diver's Cove because we need all the help we can get!!" And a few hours later we came. God has such an amazing plan! I have no doubt that He is in charge!

Here's a couple of fun things that happened these past 2 weeks:
  1. Lived through the worst recorded hurricane to date
  2. Ate a meal provided by the Red Cross
  3. Visited the Florida Keys
  4. Lived in a church
  5. Sweated 14 gallons (approximately)
  6. Grew my testimony of God's plan and His hand in all things. 
I know that our Heavenly Father is fully aware of each one of us and that we are under His watchful eye always. I love this gospel and I'm so grateful for the opportunity to be actively involved in such a great work.
I love you all!

Sister Peterson

Twinning is winning

Amy rescued us!


We filled every receptacle in the kitchen with water.

Chapel livin'. We had wheelbarrow races haha

My ping pong skills are improving.

The clean up crew.

We had our own sacrament meeting in the young women's room.

Tree straight up fell right on the chapel.

Cleaning up the chapel

Cleaning up our own yard

All the sisters + zone leaders

Cleaning up Darlyne and Freddy's trailer.

First day of clean up in Kilian!

Cleaning up in the Keys!

Cleaning up in the Keys!

Cleaning up in the Keys!

Cleaning up in the Keys!

Cleaning up in the Keys!

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