Puerto Rico Missionaries Arrive!

2017-9-27 Puerto Rico Missionaries Arrive (1)We were at the airport at midnight tonight to pick up our 3 more missionaries arriving from Puerto Rico.  We were excited.  They arrived, exhausted and happy to be here, finally.  Welcome to Yakima! 2017-9-27 Puerto Rico Missionaries Arrive (2)Meet Elder Judy, Hna Brenchley and Elder Martinez.  They were able to get a few belongings out of Puerto Rico–Elder Judy had the clothes on his back and a very few other things.  Hna Brenchley was able to get back to her apartment and grab a few things and Elder Martinez was happy he was being transferred at the time of the hurricane, so he had all of his belongings with him.2017-9-27 Puerto Rico Missionaries Arrive (3)2017-9-27 Puerto Rico Missionaries Arrive (4)2017-9-27 Puerto Rico Missionaries Arrive (5)2017-9-27 Puerto Rico Missionaries Arrive (7)2017-9-27 Puerto Rico Missionaries Arrive (8)We got everyone to the Mission Home and got them to bed, then started doing some laundry so they’d have clean clothes in the morning.  They’ve been living out of suitcases for the last week, sleeping on floors.

In Puerto Rico, the Sisters (about 50) went to the Mission Home and the Elders (about 100) went to the Mission Office before the storm hit last Tuesday.  There they hunkered down through the worst of it.  They were told to bring some food (everyone was to go buy canned meat and bottled water) and a change of clothes.  They thought they’d be there during the storm, then head back to their apartments.

When the realized the extent of the damage of the storm, the missionaries had to stay in their safe places, and not return to their apartments.  For the next several days, they were in the Mission Home and Office.  Some did some humanitarian service, helping to clear roads in those areas.

Their Mission President tried to get them onto flights out of the country (no power, no water, no food, no gas), but it was close to impossible.  A few, like Hna Goff, who arrived here Monday night, got out, but most were stuck.

Finally, yesterday the Church arranged transport back on a flight taking supplies in.  It was returning empty, so all the rest of the missionaries were able to fly out to Miami, after spending the last night at the Stake Center closest to the airport.

Most of these missionaries left Puerto Rico with only the things they took to the Mission Home and Office.  Those who had less than 3 months left on their missions were released and sent home to their families.  The rest were assigned to other missions, mostly in the USA.  Many went to California and Utah, and some to other states.  Four came to Washington, to us.  We are grateful to have them here, safe and ready to go back to work!

About Ann Laemmlen Lewis

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