Although Taylor is struggling with severe back pain and the unknown (still) as to whether or not his cancer has returned, I am grateful today that he is in a place where he can get treatment and medical assistance and be safe. Sure, they have earthquakes all the time in California, but typically, they are not of the horrific kind, so I feel relatively good and very grateful about where he is.
However, today, my heart mourns for 3 missionaries.
First, a young man from our ward, Richard, just recently (within the last few weeks) returned home from his mission in the Philippines. As the last few weeks have passed, he has posted pictures of people he met, taught, and loved while serving in the Philippines. Then, he began posting news updates about the Typhoon Haiyan which was about to hit it. I could feel his love, sorrow, and concern. I can only imagine what he has been feeling having served and lived there for the last two years.
Second, Sister Gacutan, who is a missionary currently serving in our ward here is Arizona, is from the Philippines. I watched her today in Sacrament meeting giving her talk. She was all smiles - like normal - but I mourned for her knowing that she is probably very concerned about her family and friends back home. I do not know if she has been able to hear from any of them yet since the typhoon hit but I can only imagine the grief and concern she may be feeling.
Third, Elder Maybin, from our ward is currently serving in the Philippines. I cannot imagine the angst his mother must have felt for a couple days as she awaited word from her son's mission president that her missionary son was safe and accounted for. You could sense the relief in her heart when she posted on Facebook that she'd heard from the mission president finally. But then, today, she posted that Elder Maybin's companion's mother, father, aunt, and grandfather perished in the typhoon. How horribly sad. All evening I have thought about Elder Calda and the torment he may be feeling right now. It is one thing to lose your parent while you are still young. It's another to lose both of them in such a devastating manner. I wonder if he will end his mission and go home. I wonder if he will continue on. I feel for him deeply.
Today, I am thankful for a safe missionary - whether it be our Taylor, Richard who is home safely from the Philippines, Sister Gacutan who is safe here in Arizona, or Elders Maybin and Calda who are safe in the Philippines. I am grateful for all of the missionaries throughout the world who give 18-24 months of their lives so they can share the gospel of Jesus Christ with others, even though sometimes they fall into harm's way. I am grateful that our Heavenly Father does all He can to protect them while they serve Him.