So, I had this really great plan where I wasn't going to mention that we got hit by a tornado this week. But then I realized that it's probably not a secret to anyone who watches the news. But we're fine! Everything's fine. I guess I'll share the explicit details, because who doesn't love a good story?
At the beginning of the week, we went on exchanges with the Spanish Sisters who serve with us here in the city. That was a blast! But when I got in the car at the end of the exchanges, I looked at Sister Hirschi and said,
"I think there's going to be a tornado tomorrow."
"I dunno, I just feel it."
Then we woke up. And the day was fine. The weather was nice, it was really humid. Which is a pretty sure sign that there's going to be a tornado, but we didn't think much of it. As the day went on, it got up to about 87 degrees, and the humidity was increasing. Finally, everyone started to check with each other and make sure that everyone had a place to go in the event of a tornado. We had several appointments that day, then we picked up the Elders for dinner, and walked inside. We ate sitting around a television for the first time on my mission. It was disorienting. The weather channel was changing it's mind like bad, saying that the chance for thunderstorms was high, but the chance for tornadoes was low.
Throughout the progression of the dinner, despite what the weatherman was saying, we all got a bad feeling. The family we were eating with, the Largents, started packing up bags to take into the shelter just in case for their kids, and, once again, I turned to my companion and said, "we need to go." She agreed quickly and we took the Elders to their apartment to get their car so we could pick up the Spanish Elders, who are on bikes. (Poor guys) Then we rushed to the mission home, which is our designated storm shelter, but it was a crazy experience.
We were getting texts right and left that tornadoes had touched down in all the surrounding cities. The sirens finally went off, which means that there is a tornado touched down in your area, right as we got a text that said, "Touch down in Moore" and we saw the sky go from bright blue and cloudless to dark and green and eerie. The tornado formed right above us, but we got to the mission home right in time. Hail the size of golf balls was pounding our car, and that was not pleasant to run through, but we got inside and ducked in the shelter for about fifteen minutes. Then it was over.
And the sky was bright again. The rain went away. We walked outside, and it was surreal. The tornado was only about an EF2. It destroyed the roofs of several houses, a couple gas stations, and the wing of an elementary school, but nobody was injured, and nobody died. The craziest part is that the worst of the destruction was only about 2 blocks from our church building... It left a weird looming feeling for a couple days, but if gave us an opportunity to go out and work. We did some clean up in the elementary school, and we volunteered to go door-to-door asking people if they need supplies or help to restore what was lost (which is pretty much what we do every day anyway).
It was an experience that made me increasingly aware that our natural instincts are not just common sense, the Spirit of the Lord protects us from day to day. He really does warn us of danger and helps us figure out how to avoid it. And sometimes it's right in the knick of time, but he does protect us.
Sorry if this story freaked you out. I promise, we're fine. Everything's fine. But I thoguht about the weird vibes in the air in the days following, and I thought about how that must have been what it felt like after Christ died. I imagine it felt empty and people were craving his resurrection. And it took Him 3 DAYS to rise! I can only imagine that there were people who thought, "Wait! He promised He would come back! And He didn't!" But I suppose that's often how our Heavenly Father works. We can't always predict the outcome or the timing of things that happen, that's why faith that all things are for our good is so vital. We could choose to arbitrarily determine that God wouldn't let natural disasters happen, or that God would never let his son die without rising, or we could have faith in his words and trust that we will gain further understanding at the proper time.
I know Christ lives. I know he rose on the third day. I admire and respect all those who believed that Christ would come before having the event to see or prove it, and I know having a knowledge of it now means that we can be sure that He was perfect, the Son of God, who came to redeem us from the fall and to strengthen us beyond our own capacities. We are not, nor do we ever need to feel alone. He is with us through the good and the bad.
Watch this! #becauseHElives
Love you all! Happy Easter! Happy General Conference!
Pictures: Sunburned and wet in a storm shelter.
Lookin' real awkward in jeans.