Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Australian fires - far from Elder Haskell's area of service

Several of Richard's family and friends have contacted Rick or Leslie recently asking about Richard's proximity to the fires and natural disasters occuring throughout Australia. We appreciate the expressions of concern for Richard and are saddened as hundreds of lives have been lost in what is now being heralded as the worst natural disaster in Australian history. Richard is safe and the area in which he is serving is hundreds of miles (or more) from those areas that have been hardest hit.

We’ve been monitoring the fires in Australia pretty closely each day by satellite imagery. You may hear about fires having broken out around Perth overnight, but the closest we can find at the moment is south and west of Richard by well over 100 miles, on the coast. He doesn't appear to be in any danger at this time, and it doesn’t look as though there’s much likelihood that he’ll find himself in harm’s way.

He was transferred this week to Ellenbrook, some 50 miles northeast of Perth (about 25 miles from his mission’s office). His area is developed enough that it’s not likely he’ll be threatened by wild fires, but I think it’s safe to assume that the missionaries are going to be called in to assist with humanitarian needs after any significant danger has passed. There may not be enough activity in the Perth area to warrant Richard’s mission to be called into service; I’m sure he’ll let us know.

We received emails from him earlier this week in which he wrote about the loss of life and the building fear of those around him. At the time, he was in Armadale, a more rural area much closer to the fires south of Perth. His move to Ellenbrook almost certainly had nothing to do with the fires, but I’m glad he’s just that much farther from them. His new companion, Elder Bailey, was in his district while he was in the MTC in Provo, so they already know each other pretty well.

Again, thanks for your concerns. He’s been away for just over 10 months now, almost half way through his two year assignment, we miss him terribly, but are proud of him and pleased to know he’s actively engaged in serving the Lord.

We love you all.

Rick and Leslie

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