LDS missionaries ran to safety during quake in Philippines

Published: Wednesday, Oct. 16 2013 11:50 a.m. MDT

Another missionary, Sister Teresa Davis, arrived in the Philippines to begin serving in the Cebu Mission last week. She, too, wrote home about the experience in a letter her family posted on her mission blog.

"My first earthquake," Sister Davis wrote. "The whole house was shaking but it only lasted for maybe a minute. None of us were hurt and nothing really fell down."

An Eagle, Idaho, family hadn't heard from their missionary yet, because she is serving on in Tagbiliran, the capital of Bohol, site of the quake's epicenter and where damage was worst.

Sister Jocelynn Clegg's mother Sandra posted this Tuesday night: "We were pretty anxious waiting to hear but were relieved to hear from her mission president last night in the middle of the night. 'She is okay!' She has been moved to stay in a home of the senior couple serving in that area and will stay there until the aftershocks have stopped and her apartment can be assessed for safety. We are feeling so blessed. Today is her p-day (preparation day) and the usual day that we get her email, but the mission office emailed today and said that it might be a few days until we hear from her because there is no power on the island right now."

The sister missionaries are representative of the biggest part of the LDS Church's missionary surge — the number of sister, or female, missionaries soared from 8,100 in October 2012 to 19,300 this month, according to the church. That is an increase of 140 percent.

The LDS Church has 21 missions in the Philippines, including the two in Cebu. The church created the Cebu East Mission on July 1. The church added 58 new missions this year as the number of missionaries jumped from 58,700 in October 2012 to 80,000 this month following church President Thomas S. Monson's announcement lowering the minimum age for missionaries.

There are more than 660,000 LDS Church members in the Philippines.

“A magnitude 7 earthquake has an energy equivalent to around 32 Hiroshima atomic bombs,” said Renato Solidum, director of the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology, during a televised press briefing. “Compared to the 2010 Haiti earthquake — that had a magnitude of 7.0, this one had a magnitude of 7.2, slightly stronger.”

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