Philippines:   September 23rd through 26th, found key Nazarene Disaster Response leaders from around the world converging on the Philippines for a conference on best practices in disaster response.

The attendees represented NCM and other personnel/practitioners from various fields and regions to include Eurasia, Philippines-Micronesia, Canada, the United States and Australia. They explored and developed recommendations to be presented to Nazarene Compassionate Ministries and Church leadership, in hopes of establishing a global NCM Disaster Management/Response/Support Team.

The primary goal for such a team would be to immediately come alongside regional and field leadership in a disaster in order to support, resource, facilitate and enhance an effective Disaster Management response. The team would be recruited from existing NCM personnel as well as others from outside this diverse and very proficient global network.

Key to the meeting was the opportunity to visit an example of what has been considered a “best practice” in recent Nazarene disaster responses.

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The team visited the island of Mindanao (southern Philippines), specifically Cagayan De Oro, an area devastated by typhoon Sendong that struck in December of 2011.  Miss Leah Mae Open, who served as the volunteer Nazarene Disaster Response Team leader in the 2011 typhoon, met the working group and provided an overview of how the Church had impacted the community. When the typhoon hit, Open, who was a recent graduate from a local teacher’s college, effectively spearheaded engagement with the local community, city officials, and various levels of the church, and coordinated volunteers, individuals and teams in a compassionate and Christlike response to the thousands displaced by the flooding.

The long lasting positive impact on the community and for the work of the church has served as an example of how best to facilitate such a response.

“There was a great sense of excitement as the group prepared the basic foundation for what we pray and hope will again support, resource, and facilitate the Church’s more effective response to disasters globally,” stated David Harris, Asia-Pacific Regional Coordinator for Nazarene Compassionate Ministries.