Latter-day Saints in Florida Taking Stock of Irma’s Wrath

Contributed By Jason Swensen, Church News staff writer

  • 11 September 2017

Jesus Munoz, a Latter-day Saint from Miramar, Florida, inspects a fallen tree outside his home. The tree was blown over on September 10, 2017, by Hurricane Irma. Photo by Nancy Munoz.

FORT MYERS, FLORIDA

As a busy stake president, it’s not unusual for Joseph Lindsay to spend most of his day on a typical Sunday inside a Mormon meetinghouse.

But yesterday was a Sabbath day like no other for the leader of the Fort Myers Florida Stake.

President Lindsay and his wife, Stacy, spent Sunday hunkered down inside the Bonita Springs Ward building as Hurricane Irma raged and howled outside. The Lindsays weren’t alone. Thirty-two full-time missionaries serving in the Fort Myers area joined them for the weekend.

Besides a few bouts of cabin fever, everyone weathered the storm in good shape.

“The waiting was the hardest part,” said President Lindsay, who remained at the meetinghouse with the missionaries on Monday while power and running water were being restored across the region.

“It’s been a great blessing that the storm was muted in our area,” he said.

Jesus Munoz, a member of the Church from Miramar, Florida, clears out fallen palm branches from his yard following Hurricane Irma. Photo by Nancy Munoz.

Jesus Munoz, a Latter-day Saint from Miramar, Florida, inspects a fallen tree outside his home. The tree was blown over on September 10, 2017, by Hurricane Irma. Photo by Nancy Munoz.

Church leaders living along Irma’s Florida path were making initial damage assessments Monday and checking on the welfare of their members. The arduous work of contacting people and gathering information will likely take several days. Many from the Fort Myers stake and others evacuated their homes and won’t return for several days.

Prior to Irma’s arrival, missionaries in vulnerable areas received instruction to be prepared with food, water, and other provisions. They were also moved to secure areas outside their residences, as needed.

Hurricane Irma will never be forgotten in Florida or across the islands of the Caribbean. Dozens have died and countless others have lost their homes, businesses, vehicles, and boats to the disaster.

Meanwhile, many across Florida on Monday were enduring widespread power outages and cell phone disruptions.

Miami residents feared they would take a direct hit from Irma. While the path of the hurricane traveled largely along the west side of Florida, its massive reach was dramatically felt across the greater Miami area.