Sunday, March 15, 2015

March 16, 10:30am (NZ time)

Dear Concerned Family and Priesthood Leaders,

This is coming from the Pacific Area Office. We know there are many concerned parents and leaders wanting an update about their missionary. Here is a brief report on what we know concerning our missionaries serving in the Vanuatu Port Villa Mission:

  • All missionaries serving in New Caledonia, Solomon Islands and the Island of Efate where the capital city of Port Vila is located are safe and accounted for. 
  • Communications with the outer islands have not been established. All missionaries were instructed 2-3 days prior to the arrival of the cyclone to seek shelter in the safest building on their island a concrete building which is going to be either a church, hospital or school. We have every reason to believe all of our missionaries are safe, but we have not been able to confirm that yet.  There is no phone or internet/email contact with the outer islands. We are hoping to establish contact within the next few days.
  • The islands to the north of Efate/Port Vila were spared a direct hit from the cyclone, these islands include Ambae,  Malekula and Santo. While we have yet to receive a report, we have every reason to believe the people of these islands and our missionaries did not experience the devastation reported on Efate.
  • The island of Tanna did take a direct hit from the cyclone. Prior to the storm our 11 missionaries were all moved to the westside, the safer side, of the island in the care of a local priesthood leader who took them to a school official who welcomed the missionaries into his safe building. We have not yet had contact with anyone on Tanna.

This morning local time we held a conference call with the Mission President, President Brewer, as well as a highly placed government official who is one of our local priesthood leaders in Port Vila, our Area Seventy for Vanuatu, our Area President, the Director of Temporal Affairs as well as Welfare staff for the Pacific Area.  The safety of our missionaries was the first topic of discussion, followed by the role the church will play in providing relief to those affect by Cyclone Pam.

Pacific Area Offices

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