By Tom BUSSELBERG
I have a son serving an LDS mission in the Philippines. He’s OK.
Like hundreds of other families in these parts, news of a super typhoon heading straight for the Philippines last Friday had me a bit on edge Рto say the least.
He’s assigned to the Bacolod Mission, which covers the island and province of Negros Occidental.
Fortunately, Elder Jason Busselberg was transferred from the seaside area of Sagay to an inland area. It’s also a more mountainous region.
Still, it meant an untold number of downed trees, displaced fences, power outages, and an untold number of people left homeless.
Jason’s a strapping, very energetic kid, approaching his 20th birthday in about a month.
At six feet three inches tall and 175 lbs., the former high school wrestler was glad to lend his strength and energy to assist in some small way in the cleanup.
As he wrote in his Monday email, which I was surprised to even get:
“Sorry to give you all the scare, but I’m doing great! I got really bored in the house for two days, but I got some good personal study and reflection done!
“And I was more excited to go help the people on Saturday morning! I provided good help for those that had tipped over fences and trees. I was thankful that I could offer my strength and love!”
He added that the big problem there was flooding, although he said the waters receded quite quickly.
No one in that immediate area is known to have died.
Elder Busselberg was able to get back to his primary reason for being there Saturday evening. He and his Filipino companion performed a baptism at the ward house.
All of us concerned about Jason are so grateful for the frequent updates from President Mario Lopez.
He mixed weather updates with comforting words about what he and Sister Lopez were doing.
Saturday morning we already had such good news from Pres. Lopez:
“WE SURVIVED THE SUPER TYPHOON! All missionaries are accounted for and everyone is safe and in high spirits. We are preparing and planning for our community service tomorrow. Missionaries are staying home tonight- there is no electricity. They return to their homes and proselyting areas tomorrow morning. As soon as internet services become available, missionaries will email their families beginning Monday. Together with our couple missionaries, we will tour the entire mission tomorrow to check up on missionaries and members. We appreciate your prayers and your faith in us! Aloha!”
My heart still goes out to everyone in that devastated nation.
It was only a month ago that some areas suffered the impact of a 7.7 magnitude earthquake. We have all heard and seen the news reports, Facebook posts, what have you.
Millions of people are displaced, thousands still unaccounted for. It’s hard for any of us here to imagine the magnitude of destruction that typhoon has wrought.
After all, Centerville and other Davis County residents still think of the Dec. 1, 2011 windstorm as being monumental in impact.
Until this past spring, I had a very limited interest or understanding of the Philippines. It’s amazing how things change, for all of us, when someone from among our family or friends travels to some distant place Р for whatever reason.
I, we, can only hope the necessary aid will arrive in time to benefit the most people possible in that far-off land (15 time zones ahead of Mountain Standard time).
Thank goodness Elder Busselberg is safe, and thank goodness all other missionaries in that nation have been accounted for.
A lot of Davis County families can sleep a little better, armed with that knowledge.