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Acts of Kindness

Updates from the LDS mission of Kathleen O’Reilly as she serves in the Philippines. Click “Subscribe to Blog” and be notified immediately of all new posts, photos, and articles.

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Aug. 20, 2013 - Thunderbolts & Lightening While Feeling Useless!

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August 20, 2013 - Tuesday - Just after I got out of the shower this morning my phone rang.  It was Franco Advincula letting us know that we were not to go into work this morning because of the rain.  It's raining elephants.  I have never seen quite so much water (tubig) come out of the sky at one time.  At some point in the night there was lightening (kidlat) and then the absolutely loudest crack of thunder (kulog) I have  ever heard.  Most thunder lasts a few seconds or so.  This was so loud and lasted over half a minute.  It was ear-splitting and incredible. Afterword, my heart pounded like a wild drum for about 10 minutes. Several other cracks of thunder came shortly after but nothing like that first one.  I am not afraid of either thunder or lightning but that was wild.
We watched the news this morning and the warning code was orange which means there is a lot of rain and it will continue and that there is a possibility of flooding.  It's a warning that there may be evacuations. About noon, public address systems blared out all over the city to announce that it was code red and that voluntary evacuations were now in effect.  Right now, it's no longer voluntary, it's mandatory.
After lunch today, which I could not eat because I won't eat half cooked fish, Sister Doig and I went to a movie.  We saw "Percy Jackson and the Sea of Monsters".  It was ok but not as good I would have liked it to be.  The thing that was great were the seats in the theatre.  They were like a super comfy recliner in your own front room.  They reclined to almost any degree I wanted and it was so comfy but strange to have my feet up and be able to sit in nearly any position I wanted.  The seats were about a foot apart and each one had a drink holder, a food tray, and an attached trash bin.  To top it off, there were servers who waited on each section of chairs.  All you had to do was raise your hand and they would bring you a soda or popcorn refill.  It was a pretty unique experience for me.  
Tonight the warning code is still red and we have watched from our windows as those that live across the river from us are evacuated.  The river has risen so much that we can see homes that are almost completely under water.  There is little island that is right close (about 12 feet) from the shore on the other side of the river. We have watched it with interest since we got here as people come and go from it in a small boat.  When the tide is down, it could be waded across.  It has a several small shacks on it and some chickens and pigs etc that are kept there.  Also shrubs and 1 palm tree at each end. The island is about 30 feet long and sticks up about 10 feet above the level of the river. This morning there were kids under umbrellas trying to gather up belongings and herd animals. As the river has risen today the entire island, the whole thing, trees and all,  has disappeared underwater. Completely disappeared! In fact the river has moved so far up its banks that many of the homes, roads, cars, etc. are underwater.  Evacuations are going on like mad.  On this side of the river there is a thirty five foot levee (sea wall) which keeps the water from coming this direction.  So all those poor folks across the river basically get wiped out.  We saw a destroyed home floating down the river a few minutes ago. A flood (baha) can be really destructive and super threatening and scary.  
 The Pasig River is technically a tidal estuary, as the flow direction depends upon the water-level difference between Manila Bay and Laguna de Bay. During the dry season, the water level in Laguna de Bay (a local lake) is low and the flow direction of the Pasig River depends on the tides. During the wet season, when the water level of Laguna de Bay is high, flow is normally from Laguna de Bay towards Manila Bay. The Pasig River used to be an important transport route in Spanish Manila.
After World War ll, massive population growth, infrastructure construction, and the dispersal of economic activities to Manila's suburbs left the river neglected. The banks of the river attracted informal settlers and the remaining factories dumped their wastes into the river, making it effectively a huge sewer system. Industrialization had already polluted the river.

b2ap3_thumbnail_PasigRiver.jpg

In the 1930s, observers noticed the increasing pollution of the river, as fish migration from Laguna de Bay diminished. People ceased using the river's water for laundering in the 1960s, and ferry transport declined. By the 1970s, the river started to emanate offensive smells, and in the 1980s, fishing in the river was prohibited. By the 1990s, the Pasig River, due to negligence and industrial development, has become very polluted and is considered dead (unable to sustain life) by ecologists.
Isn't it interesting that after writing about such a terrible storm that today's reading involves a terrible storm.  Welcome to coincidence.

READING WITH KATE - 1 NEPHI 18

Nephi 18 - The Lord and Nephi work together to accomplish what was thought to be impossible. I have seen that happens so many times in my own life.  Things we think are not do able become do able with the Lord.  Nephi and his brothers finish the ship.  Load it up with food, seeds, and people. They set off and it's a time to rejoice.  The brothers and families go a little overboard. Nephi thinks that God will be really unhappy with their actions.  In reading how Nephi accused them of being rude.  I do not think the word rude was used then as we use it now.  In researching it looks as though, at that time, the word meant something closer to vulgar, naughty, crude, coarse, offensive, improper, uncouth, ill-mannered, rough, loutish and tasteless.  Now days, rude means less than kind/appropriate in words and manners.
 Nephi calls them to repentance and again they are super angry with him. They are so angry and say that they will not have their younger brother be their ruler.  When will these guys learn?  Are they never going to get it that Nephi is right, they are wrong, and the Lord is in charge. They react just like most guilty people do.  Let's just blame it all on someone else. Never on our own poor choices.  Nephi gets the brunt end of this and the brothers tie him up and abuse him verbally and physically. Nephi realizes that the Lord allows it because he knows that the end result will help condemn the wicked.
Nephi is miserably in pain because he is bound so tight.  Of course the compass that the Lord provided  stops working and a big storm comes up (I wonder who caused that?) No one is allowed to help him including his mother or dad who are so stressed they are near to dead. His wife and family are in tears and nothing moves the brothers to do what is right.  The storm gets worse and  Laman and Lemuel freak out and realize that after several days of being nearly drowned in the sea, that they had better repent or they are going under. Only after a great amount of persuasion do they let Nephi go.  Why is it that we only turn to the proper power when we are threatened or afraid.    
Nephi takes over the compass, the ship, and eventually guides them to safety. The land is one of great promise and they are blessed with all kinds of resources.   They become blessed in abundance.  No direct mention is made of the thanks and credit that is given to the Lord, but knowing Nephi, I can imagine him on his knees frequently conversing with the Lord, asking directions, and giving thanks
Tomorrow is another National holiday.  Again no work!! Boy is this getting to be the strangest mission I ever heard of. I hope eventually I will get to do some real work. It feels so AWKWARD!! And not even remotely productive. I've never sat so much in my entire life.  I would rather be cleaning a latrine than be so useless. I wish we could help with the evacuation efforts or in a refugee center but we aren't even allowed outside this area which includes our apartment, the mall next door, and a few other high ground areas.  Arrrggghhh!!! At least Sister Doig has had enough time to rest and keep on recuperating.  That's the positive of all this.  And Jib informed me by text that even though his home was flooded everyone is ok and they are getting cleaned up.  Thank the Lord for his bountiful blessings in times of trial.
Please pray for the people here in the Philippines in this time of national calamity.  They are strong and hard working people with such cheerful outlooks on life.  They need all the help they can get right now.  I know the Lord is mindful of them and your prayers will surely help.
New Tagaolg words for today include all this weather stuff. I did not know I would every learn these words.
(tubig) = water (Not rain.  Rain is ulan)
(baha) = Flood
(kulog) = Thunder
(kidlat) = Lightning
 Be good and be happy.
 I love you all.  Miss Kate
Love,
Sister O'Reilly
"Blessed is the influence of one true, loving, human soul on another." -- George Eliot

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