Elder Peper

My Mission Experience

The T-Word

I am grateful for tornados for one reason:  they prompted Sister Gee to send lovely weekly letters to the missionaries’ families.

Dear Parents and Families,

Greetings and we hope you had a good week.  It was about a year ago that I decided to write these weekly e-mails.  One of the first ones was to reassure parents concerning the T-word. About half the missionaries have come since then so I am going to do it again.  Last fall I said that it wasn’t the tornado season so not to even think about it.  I purposely don’t choose tornado postcards for the new missionaries to sent home because I don’t want to make it worse than it already is.  Well, now it is the tornado season so I want to explain a few things to you.

First, my greatest worry is not about the tornados.  It is that you as parents will worry too much about the tornados, so please try not to stress about them.  Before we came we read about “Tornado Alley” and read accounts of the huge tornado that passed a couple of blocks south of the mission home a few years ago.  If a tornado happens the news media plays footage of the worst possible damage and they make it sound like every citizen of Oklahoma is in danger.  It is because sensationalism gets attention.  On the day we arrived the Brachas showed us the storm shelter and said they had never had to use it.  Now we are coming to the end of our service and so far we haven’t had to use it.  Still, it is nice to know it is there.

Here is what happens if a tornado is possible.  We have excellent weather people in this neck of the woods.  The weather here is very interesting so it attracts some of the best trained people to work here.  They have such sophisticated equipment that they can watch for any possibilities and predict down to the block and the minute that the tornados should pass through.  There is an excellent alarm system in place in the populated parts of the state.  They practice the siren every Saturday at noon if the weather is good and everyone can tell it is just a practice.  It makes the dogs howl about as loud as the sirens.  If there is tornado danger the local television stations stop their regular broadcasting and keep everyone informed of where the tornados are.  If they get close the sirens go off.  This has happened in the middle of the night so it is a little erie since we can’t look out and tell what the sky looks like.  There is usually a lot of thunder and lightning and hail that comes with the wind.

If this happens, President Gee stays glued to the television with the remote in one hand and his phone in the other.  If the missionaries are even close to the severe weather he calls to warn them and find out where they are.  Each missionary is supposed to have a contact person in their ward or branch to make sure they know what is happening. We will be reviewing emergency plans with the missionaries.  In the past, if a severe storm developed while the missionaries were tracting, total strangers  invited the missionaries in out of the storm and made sure they got home safely. The weather people tell us if we need to go to a shelter or find the smallest inside room in the place where we live.

The truth is that most missionaries never see a tornado, let alone get close to one.  It isn’t impossible but it really isn’t likely that they will be in one, especially since so many prayers are going to heaven for their safety.  We have confidence that they are being watched over, but we try to take every precaution.

Just keep praying for your son or daughter, and have faith, and don’t worry.  I hope this is helpful to calm a few concerns.  Have a good week.


President and Sister Gee


March 17, 2010 - Posted by | Letters from Mission President/Wife, Uncategorized

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