Vanessa Murillo, a sophomore studying accounting and Edison Murillo,a sophomore majoring in mechanical engineering, met on the first day of classes Winter Semester of 2017.
Since then, they were inseparable. After dating for two semesters, they set their wedding date for Aug. 26.
The wedding destination was easy to choose as Vanessa confessed. Vanessa is native to Houston and Edison came from Spain to pursue his career in the U.S. The couple decided to get married in Houston.
Right after the semester ended, the couple flew straight from Rexburg, 10 days before the wedding.
Like every ordinary couple, the future Murillos were preoccupied with the wedding plans: dinner, decorations and sealing in the temple.
“Within two days of arriving to Houston, people started telling us that there was a tropical storm coming to town,” Edison said. “They were asking us If we had a backup plan for the wedding or if we were still planning to go on our honeymoon.”
Vanessa said she didn’t think much of it, since previous hurricanes used to change directions and never got to Houston.
“Our plan before the wedding was just to ignore it,” Vanessa said.
Even though they were determined to have their celebrations on the 26th, the weather thought otherwise. Hurricane Harvey was gaining momentum and was not going to change its direction. Four days before the wedding, the storm was already hitting Texas and moving toward the city.
To ensure the safety of people, the Houston Temple closed over the weekend, so Vanessa and Edison decided to move their sealing up two days to Aug. 24. The wedding ceremony and reception took place within the family circle and close friends, seeing as many of the original guests were unable to attend.
Harvey hit the night of the Murillos’ reception with heavy rain and wind, flooding all the surrounding areas next to the chapel where they held their celebrations.
“It looked like the heavens were pouring buckets of water,” Vanessa said.
Edison and Vanessa said they cancelled their honeymoon vacation in South San Padre Island, and spent the day after their wedding serving others in the community. The neighboring retirement home flooded, leaving elderly people in water up to their necks. The Murillos, along with many others, helped to transport people to charter buses, so they could later be evacuated to the north part of Houston.
“This is not how you would imagine your honeymoon,” Edison said.
Edison and Vanessa wasn’t upset by the situation, but embarrassed it as an opportunity to help their community.
“But, it was a humbling experience,” Vanessa said. “It made us see the perspective on life and what it is all about, helping those who are around. It added a new meaning to the covenants we made in the temple the day before.”
The engraved dates on the wedding rings of Edison and Vanessa still have the original day they planned to get married, Aug. 26, the day when Hurricane Harvey hit Houston. It serves as a reminder for the Murillos that plans tend to change and life is about serving others.