Sunday, May 4, 2014

Philippines Fireside With Elder Banks

April 27, 2014 Lehi 26th Ward, Lehi North Stake
Traveled down to Lehi, Utah to listen to Elder Ben Banks, Emeritus Seventy. He and his wife Sister Sue Banks had previously lived in the Philippines for a number of years (four or more). Due to the fact that few Americans know the Philippines like he does. This energetic 82 year old traveled back to the Philippines after Typhoon Yolanda charged with the task of inspecting and finding missionary apartments. His goal and the goal of the first presidency of the church was to get the Philippines Tacloban Missionaries back to their mission. The members of the church living on the island of Leyte needed their missionaries back. Here are a few facts he shared with us.

-The Philippines is a country of natural calamities and natural disasters.
-Typhoons are common occurrences in the Philippines. A typhoon is usually rated a 1, 2 or 3 based on it's strength. Typhoon Yolanda or Haiyan had to have a new category assigned to it as it is what they call a super typhoon and was rated a 5. Strongest storm recorded in the history of this earth.
-President Andaya will go down in the history of the church. No other mission president has lost every one of their missionaries. Lost his mission home and everything that he had. Had their mission closed.
-Not one of the missionary apartments was livable. All apartments had to be changed, cleaned, and have major upgrades to be habitable.
-As Elder Banks worked with the members to prepare apartments. He required that every missionary apartment have a toilet that flushed and a shower (not necessarily hot water but a shower with running water). He also purchased new refrigerators for most of the apartments.
-The members of the church were paid $10.00 (400 pesos). When the apartments were inspected and they everything was done perfectly and nothing additional needed to be done. The workers were paid a bonus of $5.00 (200 pesos). $15.00 can feed a Filipino family for weeks. This was a lot of money for them.
-Barangay - is what we would call a neighborhood, village or town.
-Elder Banks personally inspected every apartment. He was in the Philippines and traveled all over Leyte and Samar for 3 months. Working 10 hour days.
-Elder Banks welcomed each one of the returning Tacloban missionaries. He then traveled personally with each group to their new apartments. The leaders of the church and Elder Banks required that the missionaries had the best apartments available in the different barangay's.
-Elder Banks shared his emotional account of the pure destruction and devastation throughout the island of Leyte. He emotionally shared with us all the incredible event that has happened in the lives of our missionaries that will change them forever.
-The new housing provided to the people of the Philippines is nothing more than a ply-board home. No insulation or electricity or running water. However these modest structures are stronger and nicer than most homes in the Philippines.
Elder Ben Banks sacrificed his time and energy to serve our children. He loves our children. He loves us. I am thankful for his service on our daughters behalf. What a testimony of service.

Once again is was a blessing for all of us missionary parents to be able to visit and share our missionaries lives together. What an awesome support system this has turned out to be. Our missionaries are so delighted when we send them pictures of the mission parents sharing our lives with each other.
We were able to visit with the parents of Sister Estes, Sister Brown, Sister Dumas, Elder James, Sister Schaap, Sister Weber, Sister Hogge, Sister Bingham, Elder Lowe, Sister Henshaw, Elder Hughes, Elder Oaks,. The list goes on and on. I wish I could have chatted with more people but I was busy visiting with Sister Lori James making travel plans Schaap's mom Olga and I.
 Sister Dumas Mom, Denise and I.

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