Tuesday, April 29, 2014
BREAKING NEWS: MISSIONARIES ARE SAFE!!!
From Pres. Hanks:
All missionaries are safe and accounted for as of Tuesday at 7:45am
The entire mission feels blessed with the safety and protection of the Lord. After returning from a Mission President’s conference late Saturday, President and Sister Hanks drove to Tupelo, MS where they and the missionaries of the two Tupelo Zones met together with the saints for Stake Conference. It was wonderful. Immediately afterward, about a third of the missionaries began meeting one-on-one with President Hanks in interviews, until about 7:30. Many of the missionaries stayed over in Tupelo for the remainder of interviews with President Hanks on Monday, and for a two-zone joint activity of athletics and food and fun.
On Monday about 2:00 the sirens and alarms and phone alerts started pouring in.
President Hanks asked all the missionaries (48) to gather in the chapel, where for the next 4-5 hours the missionaries sang hymns while Tornados surrounded us. For much of the time, the electricity was out. The missionaries were brave and courageous. President Hanks was in constant contact with the brethren and with a member of the church who is well connected with the weather agencies. As areas to the west of Tupelo became clear, Missionaries were released to go home. About 7:30 the worst had passed, and President Hanks asked everyone remaining (42 missionaries) to go straight home and remain on alert. Some missionaries were instructed to remain with other missionaries until we were sure that it was safe to travel to their apartments (power lines and trees etc.)
All Tupelo North and south zone missionaries were safe by 9:00.
All other missionaries throughout the mission were instructed to stay in their apartments and listen to their emergency radios throughout the late afternoon and evening.
Multiple tornados touched down in Tuscaloosa, Cullman, Bessemer, and Birmingham areas. There was some substantial damage, but the extent is not completely known yet.
REPEAT: ALL missionaries are safe and accounted for.
Further weather alerts are in effect for today, Tuesday, and all missionaries have been instructed to listen to emergency radios and take precautions. Pres Hanks will be having a mission-wide conference call later this morning.
President Hanks sent an email to all contacts that the mission has listed, and will continue to keep parents and contacts informed as there is new information to report.
Join with us in thanking Heavenly Father for the safety He has afforded the missionaries this past day.