What had been classified as merely a tropical depression out over the Pacific had picked up steam and was now being tracked as Cyclone Amos, and it was headed our way. Each time we would check the weather reports they kept upgrading the expected force of this storm from Category 1 to 2 then 3. Having recently seen the terrible destruction done in Fiji by Cyclone Winston, we knew that storms in this part of the world could be very dangerous. Many members walk long distances on the island to come to meetings, or else ride in the open backs of pick up trucks. Not knowing what the storm would be doing by the time we were scheduled for that meeting, it just made sense in the interest of safety to call it off.
People on the island were preparing by gathering bottles of water, food, flashlights and batteries. Those that had the resources to do so nailed sheets of plywood over their windows on homes and shops. There was no extreme fear or panic, but it was clear that folks were taking the storm warnings very seriously. A team from FEMA flew in to the island to be ready to assess storm damage should a disaster strike. Everywhere we went we saw evidence of preparation. It reminded us of the scripture from D&C “If ye are prepared ye shall not fear”.
That night we spent some time on the Internet reading information about the storm and wondering how serious it would be in the area where we were. We felt relatively safe since we were staying in a well built hotel and were away from the sea. Still, it was a little scary knowing that within a matter of a few hours, things could change very fast depending on which path the storm took and how long it remained over the island.
As we went to bed on Friday night we said fervent prayers for protection, not only for ourselves, but for all the people of the islands. We spent some time quietly pondering what it means to really mean it when we say “thy will be done” and to trust in the Lord whether things turn out well for us or not. We were thinking a lot about the people of Fiji and all they had been through, or those in Vanuatu and other places where there had been devastating storms despite people of faith saying the same sort of prayers we said that night. We thought of people throughout the world who were enduring terrible hardships. Not knowing if the storm would hit hard or pass us by made us reflect more earnestly on the plight of refugees, of those in war zones, of those in areas of famine and all the other hardships people face in this world. We remembered the talks we have heard from general authorities about remaining grateful in every circumstance and determined that no matter what happened, we would put our trust in the Lord.
The storm came over the island of Tutuila in the early hours of April 23. There were trees down n several areas. Some roads flooded. There was damage to some houses from the high winds and sea surge along the coast. However, the elements seemed to be tempered as the cyclone pattern stayed tight and close, not covering as wide an area as typical for these sorts of storms. There was no loss of life and no major devastation. We actually slept right through it. All the prayers of faith asking for protection were definitely heard and answered. We felt the love of our family and friends who had been concerned for us and who we knew were praying in our behalf.
After the presentation we went to the Family History Center and helped several members to submit family names. Again, we loaded the training files and showed them how to use them.