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LDS missionary returns to Utah for surgery after Philippines typhoon

By Carole Mikita | Posted - Nov. 25, 2013 at 10:10 p.m.


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SALT LAKE CITY — A Latter-day Saint missionary has returned back to Utah for surgery after being injured in the Philippines typhoon.

Elder Jordan Johnson was serving in Tacloban when the typhoon hit. Johnson said the the plywood ceiling in his apartment began to buckle during the storm, so he used a machete to poke holes into the ceiling to keep the roof from collapsing. He severed the tendons in his right hand during the incident.

"In the morning, we kind of looked, cause we redressed my hand, but we cleaned it all out, cleaned it all up," Johnson said. "That was right after the storm. Our mission president's wife, she's a nurse, so she was cleaning it out. That was painful."

Johnson said he was in pain, but he saw the terrible destruction from the storm, and he wanted to help people.

"The next day we went downtown — most of the missionaries — we went downtown and started handing out food and there were just lines, just thousands of people," Johnson said.

The mission doctor later treated Johnson's initial injury, but told him to return home for surgery. In Utah, Johnson's brother, Johnny, put a request on his Facebook page for supplies to help typhoon victims. Companies and individuals donated hundreds of pounds of goods.

A group of returned missionaries in Utah County will ship the items.

"I also served in the Philippines so I know," said Johnny Johnson. "Seeing those pictures, the people over there are the most humble, resilient people and they don't have a lot to begin with. When their bamboo hut gets torn out and they lose everything, you just want to help in any way you can."

Johnson experienced delays in getting an exit visa. A Latter-day Saint in the U.S. Military stepped in and put him and others on an Osprey military plane. Johnson will likely need a month to recover from surgery and after that he will need physical therapy. Jordan Johnson said he looks forward to returning to his mission.

"I'd love to go back and learn and keep teaching the people out there," Johnson said.

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