All LDS missionaries in Philippines now 'safe and accounted for'

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  • Zoniezoobie Mesa, AZ
    Nov. 13, 2013 8:22 a.m.

    My sister and her husband are serving in Manila and heard this morning, Wednesday Nov 13, about how the missionaries (the 22 missing ones) were located and were able to get on flights back to Manila. A priesthood leader who had been helping care for 3,000 members who were taking refuge in a church building went out and located the missionaries. He did this after losing his home and all of his possessions. The missionaries were able to get to the airport in Tacloban by walking several kilometers. Even though they had electronic tickets they were not able to get on their flights in all the confusion. A US marine saw the missionaries at the airport and asked how he could help. He was a member, Brother Clark. He was able to get them on flights to Manila. He later told the leaders there that he was wondering why he was here, but he knew after he was able to help the missionaries.

  • bj-hp Maryville, MO
    Nov. 12, 2013 7:28 p.m.

    Oatmeal: I respect your fast and agree wholeheartedly for it. However, Fast Offerings stay in the unit where as Humanitarian Offerings will go in support of the Philippines and around the world. That is where you need to make your donations. Go ahead and do the fast offering but also place a generous offering in the Humanitarian fund.

  • Esther Simpson Mesa, AZ
    Nov. 12, 2013 2:47 p.m.

    I do not believe they are all safe. David Grommet is missing and presumed dead. And both Tillie and William Horton remain unaccounted for.

    Careful reporting in a crisis! Please!

  • klr56 Kent, WA
    Nov. 12, 2013 1:55 p.m.

    I have a daughter serving in the Tacloban Philippines mission, Sister Sarah Ralph. She was assigned to Carigara and roomed with Sr. Webber, though they were not companions. We spoke with her this morning from Manila after a very difficult 4 days. Her greatest concern was for the people she left behind without food and water, members of the church and others. She had some frightening experiences but was protected by the Lord's Hand in many ways. I paraphrased her comments in her missionary blog. We are grateful to the Missionary Dept and the Asia Area Presidency who called us and kept us updated on their progress in getting in contact with and evacuated all the missionaries from the area. Sarah wants to return to those people that she has grown to love and we hope that she can soon.

  • OnlytheCross Bakersfield, CA
    Nov. 12, 2013 1:36 p.m.

    Were the Biblical Jesus on earth, it is probable that He would direct all believer's donations to food and shelter for the poor. Massive building programs of all denominations, elaborate temples, ornate cathedrals, huge Kingdom Halls and printing complexes, etc., might be seen as excessive to those truly concerned about the hungry children and families who live in daily squalor and poverty.

    Having been in many poor countries, most of us know the truth of the axiom- "Few care about what you know until they know that you care".

    Our churches and worship houses are special and meant to glorify our God. But excess leaves less for the disastrous times. I personally don't want to see one more $5 million Baptist complex from my own denom either. Per the book of Hebrews, Christ is the final High Priest (no more needed for sacrifices) and His priesthood unchangeable/non-transferrable (7:7-28) and thus no need for a sacrificial altar in a man-built temple (Hebrews ch 7-13).

    God bless all efforts to rescue and restore what has been destroyed.

  • Pacific_Creek Puyallup, WA
    Nov. 12, 2013 12:11 p.m.

    Having lived in the Philippines I can see what you are saying. The poverty there is soul crushing. The first month I was there as a missionary I couldn't think of much else besides what these people didn't have. Eventually I learned that I couldn't change that situation but I could help them in other ways and let the gospel change their lives. The great thing about the church is that it teaches people to be self reliant. This doesn't happen overnight but in time it can change how people live. The church can't solve the poverty problem in the Philippines and neither will the government there. People may not have a spare jar or spare rice now. The church teaches people to become more self reliant and save up a little bit as they can. This same principle should apply to every person from rich to poor.

  • Dante Salt Lake City, UT
    Nov. 12, 2013 10:11 a.m.

    Ulvegaard, I appreciate your comment. Some commentors have served missions, some have not. Speaking only for myself when serving my mission in Europe, I felt strongly that I was in the Lord's hands; I came close to death twice in accidents while riding a bicycle on wet, slick cobblestone streets amid thick traffic. Some would think I should have been fearful; I was not in the least. I felt entirely content to be preserved or taken, as the Lord might determine. In neither accident was I hurt beyond a couple of light bruises. My suit even survived the first instance!

    Many missionaries in the Philippines may feel as I did. They would want their families to trust in the Lord and not worry unduly over their well-being. What an adventure to serve as a missionary in the midst of the most intense hurricane in recorded history! What an opportunity to serve God's children, members and non-members alike! I would have been highly annoyed had my family at home worried themselves so much as to appear on television news, expressing their anxiety over my survival. Trust in the Lord; wait upon the Lord.

  • ThinksIThink SEATTLE, WA
    Nov. 12, 2013 9:19 a.m.

    @Terri Bittner,

    You talked about the Relief Society teaching the women to put one spoonful of rice into a jar every night when they made their rice. What do they feed their children on a night that they have no rice? Do they open the jar or go hungry? What about the next night?

    My filipino wife remembers many, many nights going to bed with no food. Days with one meal. She remembers going to relatives and asking for a cup of rice.

    It's a nice thought to save a spoonful of rice every night. Now, there's also the issue of the jar. You know some people don't have a jar? Seriously.

  • ThinksIThink SEATTLE, WA
    Nov. 12, 2013 9:13 a.m.

    No missionaries died as a result of the typhoon. Sadly, we've seen a number of reports this year of missionaries losing their lives in other parts of the world. Out of respect for the families who have lost loved ones serving missions, I can't attribute the outcome in the Philippines to a miracle of God.

  • Kathy. Iowa, Iowa
    Nov. 12, 2013 8:39 a.m.

    No doubt the missionaries in Tacloban will be evacuated.

    Our son was one of the 3 missionaries in Grenada when hurricane Ivan hit. It took days for them to reach him but they made arrangements to get them out immediately.

    Tacloban is much worse and it would not be safe for them to stay.

  • JWB Kaysville, UT
    Nov. 12, 2013 8:37 a.m.

    After living in the Philippines during dozens of typhoons and even some earthquakes and in Mississippi and Alabama and Arkansas during hurricanes and tornadoes, the Church's message of if you are prepared you have less of a need to fear. It is fearful, none the less and prayers can help sustain those even prepared.

    It is wrenching to see those people who don't have food and shelter in the sun of the day without shelter overhead with another storm approaching.

    The Church is always so willing to help with humanitarian service.

  • Oatmeal Woods Cross, UT
    Nov. 12, 2013 8:06 a.m.

    I will fast this Sunday for the Filipino people and make a special fast offering donation. I am sure that the Church could use the money at this time to help these people in the near future. Would anyone care to join me?

  • LittleStream Carson City, NV
    Nov. 12, 2013 7:33 a.m.

    Thank you Heavenly Father for keeping your missionaries safe from harm!

  • GANANA Athens, GA
    Nov. 12, 2013 7:24 a.m.

    My daughter in laws brother was one of the missionaries unaccounted for until a day ago. The church did an excellent job keeping communications open with family and,it sounds like, preparing these young people to weather out the storm a safely as possible. Now the real work begins for these elders and sisters and they prepare to assist those around them.

  • Terrie Bittner Warminster, PA
    Nov. 12, 2013 5:07 a.m.

    For the person who wondered why the article didn't include all the other missing people: As a writer, I can tell you an article is only supposed to be about one thing. I went to Mormon Times to learn about the Mormon angle of the story. I went to the World News section to learn about everyone else.

    The Church and private Mormons have been teaching about 72 hour kits for a very long time. So has the Red Cross. People have to choose to follow through. While it's true many are quite poor, I read about a Relief Society (LDS women's organization) in a developing nation that taught the women to put one spoonful of rice into a jar every night when they made their rice. When the jar was full, they sealed it. Eventually, they had food storage. We don't have to build the entire kit at once. A small piece at a time will eventually make a kit. Experience has shown me, though, that most people think it can never happen to them. The hard part is convincing them it can.

  • choosehappiness Concord, NH
    Nov. 12, 2013 4:58 a.m.

    Correction: The article mistakenly stated the winds were 295 mph. It should read 295 kph, which is 183 mph.

  • San Diego Orem, UT
    Nov. 11, 2013 11:19 p.m.

    A correction should be noted that the winds reached 295 Kilometers per hour (183 mph) not 295 mph.

  • bjdoc Boise, Idaho
    Nov. 11, 2013 10:59 p.m.

    40 years ago, I lived in the Philippines, and knew all fifty of the church members. Now with the church located in thousands of small towns, just think of your duties as a Bp. in Tacloban City. Please let this disaster get us mobilized and send more help to the thousands of members restoring their homes, their schools, and their food supplies. I am sure you will soon be reading stories of the huge efforts of our church members, getting involved in the rebuilding that will be now required. I am so relieved that all missionaries have been contacted. Just think of the great work that has occured in the Philippines,:: from 50 members to almost 700.000 in just 40 years.

  • Hutterite American Fork, UT
    Nov. 11, 2013 10:51 p.m.

    Good news. Prayers Answered, Miracles.
    No. Thousands died. Is god just an exclusive country club?

  • justmesal MOUNTAIN VIEW, WY
    Nov. 11, 2013 10:13 p.m.

    To no fit in SG:
    I am trying to understand what you are saying. Do you feel that the church should be supplying the billions of people on earth with 72 hour kits? The Church already does go into countries that have the poorest of poor and help them by teaching them how to build wells for cleaner water supplies, and other things that will help the people. Yes they could go in and build those things them selves, but they teach the people because then if they break down, the people will know how to fix it. The Church has many programs through the Humanitarian Service to help others be better prepared to help themselves. Another program, the Perpetual Education Fund is used to help raise people out of poverty by helping them gain an education. Instead of thinking the Church is not doing what it should be doing by supplying the world with 72 hour kits, maybe you should look around and see what the Church is doing to help those with "nothing let alone funds for extras."

  • ulvegaard Medical Lake, Washington
    Nov. 11, 2013 10:04 p.m.

    I appreciate the sentiments as well as the sincerity behind Benjamin Franklin's suggestions. When I was on my mission, we had emergency evacuation plans and so on and so forth; just as I am sure they do now.

    However, as I see it, the church could not only have plans A, B, C, D, E, F, G and all the way to Q, and still there could be a situation that would have required plan 'R'. You could also tie a leash to each missionary and load them down with 100 pounds of supplies, flares, water purification kits; in addition to their tracting materials.

    We can't avoid every tragedy. Sometimes the best we can do is to try and be prepared and then press on and remember that life is a growing experience and we do our best to deal with each and every obstacle and challenge.

  • David Centerville, UT
    Nov. 11, 2013 9:57 p.m.

    no fit in SG,

    Believe me, I know the poverty you speak of. I lived in the Philippines for 2 years and visited directly with people who were very poor. As a missionary I tried to teach plain, true principles that will elevate and improve life. I can only hope I was a good missionary and did my best.

    While there we helped improve houses, we built churches, we donated blood, we donated food and clothing. We taught of faith, repentance, forgiveness, love, compassion, and so many other things that Christ taught. I think of the Filipino people all the time, hoping and praying for them.

    In Mark 14:3-9 we hear Jesus state that "…ye have the poor with you always". In my mind it is an acknowledgment that despite our best efforts, there will always be poor among us. But we still try to help.

    Read President Uchtdorf's conference talk titled "Providing in the Lord's Way" on I believe that although too many live as you described, destitute with not enough to save and build a 72 hours kit, that situation can and will change if we follow the prophet's counsel.

  • justmesal MOUNTAIN VIEW, WY
    Nov. 11, 2013 9:43 p.m.

    David I think you said it best. The Church Leaders have for years advocated preparedness and don't say it should be only the members who follow that advice. They've been sharing for many years.
    I know a couple of former missionaries who have been in areas that had been hit by earthquakes and there were plans in place. Unfortunately no matter how prepared you try to be, sometimes, things happen in a way that that makes plans not work according to those plans. It would be hard to have better communication than the government of the country they are in (USA included) or general population has. But I do know that in an emergency the home teachers and visiting teachers are to help the Bishop by contacting their families any way possible. If going out and walking to find those who have been affected by a disaster is the only way they can contact missionaries and members, then that is how it will be done, even if it takes 3 days or more.
    My prayers are for all those affected by the storm. I know the Church's Humanitarian Service will work to help anyone who needs it.

  • toosmartforyou Farmington, UT
    Nov. 11, 2013 9:25 p.m.

    It's a relief and good news regarding the safety of the missionaries.

    It's disappointing that there are those willing to criticize the Church and basically say the Brethren are out of touch and then need to do thus-and-so.

    The time to evaluate preparedness is not right now. Now is the time to provide relief efforts, which the Church is doing. Their buildings are being used as shelters and they are sending in supplies.

    Be grateful you haven't had to endure such a tragedy, or your family, either.

  • grandmagreat Lake Havasu City, AZ
    Nov. 11, 2013 9:27 p.m.

    What a blessing that the Missionary's are all safe. Having been a Missionary mom and Grandma i know how each family relyed on the Lord to protect these wonderful servants of our Heavenly Father. The Saots om the Phyllipines are in our prayers as well as other's who were effected by this horrible storm

  • no fit in SG St.George, Utah
    Nov. 11, 2013 9:07 p.m.

    Poverty around our world, on many levels limits many human beings at what they are able to afford to do. We know many are living on the brink of doom with next to nothing let alone funds for extras. Most likely, these people work every single day of their lives to try to find and develop some sort of self reliance to keep themselves and their families alive. They may appreciate your Prophet's words, but....

  • David Centerville, UT
    Nov. 11, 2013 8:53 p.m.

    Bro. Ben Franklin,

    I served in the Philippines Davao Mission 1988-90. My mission president, Jovencio Ilagan, instructed all missionaries to keep a 72 hour supply of food and water with us in our apartments at all times. We also had a communication system developed (no cell phones, of course) to notify missionaries if an evacuation was required. We kept a reserve of money with us to fund an evacuation.

    In short, I believe the church has been teaching this level of preparation for decades.


    From my perspective, Thomas S. Monson, as God's prophet, is not only the prophet for the LDS Church but for all people. Unfortunately, not all people follow the prophet's admonitions and counsel.

    The LDS website is available for anyone with internet to access. On it, anyone will find counsel regarding 72 hour kits, self-reliance, and other valuable messages, which if followed, will bless every life.

    Additionally, missionaries, church members and church leaders try to share the good news of the gospel, with its attendant warnings and admonitions, with everyone, everywhere. All are invited to "come" and enjoy the blessings of the church.

    Not everyone can survive these events. We can only try.

  • Vladhagen Salt Lake City, UT
    Nov. 11, 2013 8:26 p.m.

    When I was a missionary in Korea 5 or so years ago we had 72 hour kits and plans and maps of where to go in case of a sudden disaster. The Church does a really good job of keeping their missionaries prepared I feel. Good news to see that the preparations paid dividends.

  • ThornBirds St.George, Utah
    Nov. 11, 2013 8:25 p.m.

    The Mormon Church could gain great acclaim should they teach, share, and help finance families around the world in their constructing 72 hour kits for all.
    Emotions are mixed when reading articles such as this. So many people have perished and continue to throughout the world with the many calamities taking place on earth.

  • Coach Biff Lehi, UT
    Nov. 11, 2013 8:15 p.m.

    My daughter is in the Angeles mission north of all this devastation. We were able to contact her through normal email. She let us know that there are several native missionaries in her mission from these central islands who have no idea how their families have fared. She plead with us to pray for the Filipino people. What a tragedy. Hope we are all up for service and donations to this struggling country and it's beautiful people.

  • The Reader Layton, UT
    Nov. 11, 2013 8:08 p.m.


  • Roundtrip Thomasville, GA
    Nov. 11, 2013 8:04 p.m.

    I agree, Brother Ben and Caf, but I also think it's time for all members abroad and in the states to have an alternative way of communicating in case we all lose power from black outs, civil turmoil, etc. I love our church. We're so organized for disasters such as this.

  • caf Bountiful, UT
    Nov. 11, 2013 7:53 p.m.

    Brother Ben. You have some valid suggestions. I sent my daughter a 72-hour kit when she attended BYU-H. After she graduated, she passed on what was left of it to one of her friends who still had time left before graduating. It was nice for her to know that she was prepared for a hurricane and I felt more peace of mind as well. During hurricane warnings when power was out and phones didn't work, the students would move to higher ground. I could keep contact with my daughter via texting.

  • pat1 Taylorsville, UT
    Nov. 11, 2013 7:52 p.m.

    Wonderful news!

  • Brother Benjamin Franklin Orem, UT
    Nov. 11, 2013 7:36 p.m.

    Thank God that the missionaries in that area of the world are safe and accounted for. Our faith and prayers have been answered.

    With that having been said, I think the time has come for Church leaders, missionaries, and members to consider some things.

    There were people that died and buildings destroyed. The Church was fortunate to have known about this storm ahead of time.

    To its credit, 72-hour kits were handed out and missionaries were moved. No lives were lost and it appears no missionaries were injured. But it still took several days to reach at least 24 missionaries.

    The Church must improve communications and contingency plans for the future. What if there had been no prior knowledge of the disaster--like with earthquakes, fires, and flash floods? What if it was just grab and go?

    I realize these are what if's, but these things happen. I think the time has come to require 72-hour kits in missionary apartments, equip missionaries with radios, develop Plan A, B, and C plans to communicate and so forth.

    We have to do better. We owe it to the missionaries and their families who are sacrificing time, talents, and finances.

  • D. Call El Paso, TX
    Nov. 11, 2013 7:34 p.m.

    I am thrilled that all the missionaries were accounted for. But I wish the article would have focused more on the tens of thousands of locals who are missing and presumed dead.

  • CentralUtah Alpine, UT
    Nov. 11, 2013 7:34 p.m.

    A modern day miracle.