It is very difficult to explain the deep emotions that many of us have been feeling these past days since the landfall of Typhoon Yolanda (Haiyan). Traveling by motorcycle, van, truck, and foot, we have witnessed mile after mile of devastated towns, villages, schools, homes, and lives.
One thing though is very evident…while many of the church buildings are destroyed, the Church is strong! We continued to see hand written signs along the way, “down but not out,” “keep praying,” and “God is good…all the time!”
Many of our reports have been a bit disheartening, but now is the time to say Praise God, He is still on the throne, and great things are yet to come!
Traversing across this devastated region, here are just some of the incredible things our Nazarenes are doing:
– Ormoc: The church roof has been temporarily repaired, relief supplies have been distributed, two barangays (smallest administrative divisions of a town with a couple thousand people), have been adopted by the local church, and our doctors are on the ground seeing patients. Last Sunday I counted around 200 children receiving balloons, crackers, and some much needed personal attention and play time at our Child Safe Zone. This is an ongoing program, providing safe areas for the children who have been left without homes.
– Tacloban: The church is still standing, when so many buildings were destroyed. It is housing several families from the community whose homes were destroyed. The church has registered and been recognized as an official evacuation center and as such, is receiving government food aid for distribution in the community. The Nazarene Disaster Response Volunteers have also been asked by the government to take the lead in psychosocial counseling training programs. We are now partnering with Save the Children and providing Hygiene promotion and kits. In addition, our church in Tacloban has become the distribution point for potable water provided by 5,000 liter container, filled daily by the Philippine Red Cross. Not only is the church delivering fresh drinking water, but it is also in perfect position to be delivering the living water of the Gospel.
– Balangiga: While the church building was completely destroyed, our Nazarenes are one the ground, cleaning things up, providing relief supplies, and a Nazarene medical team is stationed there meeting the medical needs of the community.
– Iloilo: Even though many of the churches have sustained significant damage, the church members are very much engaged in the response to their community. In partnership with International Care Ministries, they received 50 water containers and 50 cases of Mana Packs (relief food supplies). They will be transporting these to an isolated barangay that has yet to receive assistance.
– Estancia: When the assessment team arrived, they found the church involved in the community, with youth providing crowd control and serving in partnership with a Singapore based medical team, staffing the medicine distribution. On November 20th, the church is sending an assessment team on a 1 hour 30 minute boat ride to northern and southern Gigante Islands, where it has been reported that the needs are great and no relief has yet arrived. We have three churches on these islands.
– On the 25th of November, a 747 full of relief goods will be arriving in Cebu (the staging area) from Heart to Heart International, for distribution by our Nazarene teams.
– Nazarene churches and individuals have committed to volunteer and provide aid from around the world.
– Local districts from across the Philippines have been providing supplies and finances, with a convoy being sent from Metro Manila in just the past few days.
– The Central Visayas district has truly stepped up and assisted in providing logistical support from the Island of Cebu, preparing relief goods, staging the shipments, and assisting with coordination and transportation of arriving volunteers and teams.
The global, connected, Church of the Nazarene, is joining hands around the world and being the literal hands and feet of Christ in the Philippines!
May God receive the glory!!!
[flex_slider][slide source=’https://asiapacificnazarene.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/11/109.jpg’ caption=’Children praying at a child safe zone ‘][slide source=’https://asiapacificnazarene.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/11/117.jpg’ caption=’The staff made balloon figures for the children’][slide source=’https://asiapacificnazarene.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/11/img_79041.jpg’ caption=’Children with Jeremy one of the NDR staff from the USA’][slide source=’https://asiapacificnazarene.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/11/img_81611.jpg’ caption=’Youth helping with clean up’][slide source=’https://asiapacificnazarene.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/11/img_81151.jpg’ caption=’Debris in the streets’][slide source=’https://asiapacificnazarene.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/11/img_81391.jpg’ caption=’Trucks and crews that pick up the bodies’][slide source=’https://asiapacificnazarene.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/11/img_80951.jpg’ caption=’Child sleeping on the church pews as the family lost their home’][slide source=’https://asiapacificnazarene.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/11/img_80291.jpg’ caption=’Children gathered around to greet the relief workers’][/flex_slider]