Missionaries surrounding the Philippines 7.1 quake are safe

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The Philippines Cebu East Mission encompassed the epicenter of the massive 7.1 earthquake on Oct. 15, but all the missionaries are safe and accounted for.

According to CNN, there are at least 67 dead, 164 injured and 33 missing from the massive quake. The majority of the deaths are from Bohol, and a few more are from Cebu.

President and Sister Tanner, a couple from Brigham City, are currently serving as the mission presidents in Cebu. The quake affected their area heavily, but they are doing well.

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Officers sort through the rubble after the earthquake in the Philippines. (AP Photo by Bullit Marquez)

“The earthquake hit our mission dead on,” Sister Tanner said. “We had a meeting scheduled at the mission home, so we had many missionaries here.”

The mission currently has 128 missionaries and recently welcomed 21 new missionaries.

Sister Tanner described the effects in the mission home.

“Around 8:15 a.m., 26 elders and sisters hit the floor as the walls and windows shook and swayed back and forth,” she said. “We heard a deep, rolling rumble and felt the whole floor under foot just rolling up and down.”

President Tanner was upstairs while Sister Tanner was down in the kitchen with the missionaries.

“The water from the swimming pool was jumping over the sides, and it was nothing like we have ever seen or felt before,” Sister Tanner said.

According to the Tanners, soon afterward, the mission home lost power and phone calls began rolling in. Two nearby cities, Loon and Calapy, were completely destroyed. Thankfully, all the missionaries were alright and unhurt.

“We began calling all the missionaries and their parents afterwards,” Sister Tanner added. “We will be doing that much of the day again tomorrow.”

About an hour afterward, the Tanners found out the epicenter of the earthquake was on the island of Bohol.

“We currently have 48 missionaries and thankfully two senior couples there,” Sister Tanner said.

She mentioned that because of the aftershocks, no boats or ferries could reach the island for hours afterward. The Tanners managed to get to Bohol on a night-light cargo ferry to help on the affected areas of the island.

The Church will also be sending aid to the island.

“They currently have no food, no water, no power and are feeling continual aftershocks,” Sister Tanner said. “The missionaries are sleeping in the parking lot of the church, and the senior couple is sleeping in the car. There is no way out of the town, so for now they wait.”

They are still experiencing strong aftershocks, and for now none of the buildings are completely safe.

“It’s very humbling to realize the force and power behind the elements,” Sister Tanner added.

Nearby missions have also been affected. In an email home, Elder Johnson, from Salt Lake City, sent a message saying that “They want us all to let you know we are all okay,” Johnson said. “There was an earthquake this morning (Oct.15) and it was crazy, we’re all dizzy, but we are fine.”

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