(This posting is late because Google Blogger was down for most of the last 24 hours)
Most missionaries are basically banned from technology for the two years they serve. As I understand it, they can only email their parents once a week and the Mission President as needed. Multiple tornadic (Is that a word? Apparently so.) episodes in Alabama resulted in serious threat to life and limb. However, with technology, the Mission President of the Alabama Birmingham Mission was able to keep all his missionaries safe.
Consider the following quotes from the article, "Mission leader keeps in contact during Alabama tornadoes" in the LDS Church News:
Mission President Richard Holzapfel endured several anxious hours fretting and praying for the welfare of the impacted elders and sisters in his charge. But thanks to the technology of the day, he was able to maintain nearly uninterrupted contact during the historic storms with each missionary companionship, worried parents and authorities at Church headquarters.Holzapfel prepped all missionaries ahead of time with emergency information and coordination procedures. He had already secured permission to use text messaging, One the day in question, President Holzapfel alerted all missionaries to prepare for the expected tornadic activity.
. . . As the evening evolved, he monitored online weather maps and noted each tornado that formed and touched ground. He then texted the companionships that were potentially in the path of the tornado. "I might send a text that said 'You have 10 minutes — leave your apartment and go somewhere else.' "
The missionaries would then acknowledge the text, inform President Holzapfel of their movements and, when the twister passed, pass along an "all's well" missive.It makes me wonder where all these missionaries would be today if Holzapfel had been "technology resistant" to use a horrible euphemism. They may not have been safe.
President Holzapfel also utilized texting, e-mail and his personal blog to keep worried parents and priesthood leaders at Church headquarters informed of the evening's developments. When the last tornado had passed, all were able to retire for the night knowing the Alabama Birmingham missionaries were safe.