Bacao, Philippines: After four days of monsoonal rains, reported to be the heaviest in recorded history, Nazarene Disaster Response personnel from the Philippine Field Office, along with District Leadership were finally able to get out Wednesday evening and assess the extent of flooding.
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Reports had been received from our pastor of a new church plant in the Barangay of Bacao (an administrative division), Cavite Province, indicating that an entire neighborhood with more than thirty Nazarene families had been particularly devastated. Many of their homes had been destroyed as flood waters rose to above shoulder depth.
What an incredible blessing it was to these families as the Nazarene Disaster Response Team in coordination with Nazarene Compassionate Ministries and local church members from the GMA and Bagong Bayan Churches of the Nazarene arrived in Bacao with bags of relief supplies and fresh drinking water.
While the physical needs were very real, the greatest impact of this team was the opportunity that they had to share the gospel and address the emotional and spiritual needs that existed as well.
Team members arrived on scene Thursday morning with a very specific strategy ready for implementation. The many children who had been through this major flood were gathered together for a time of singing and sharing of the gospel. The youth who were part of the response team then divided the children into groups and helped them work through a prepared packet that involved coloring pictures of how they felt before the flood and how they felt after the flood. The children were encouraged to get their feelings out through colors and pictures. The response was incredible. Children who had been traumatized were finding comfort in “friends” who wanted to hear their story.
Meanwhile, Pastor Johnrey, who is a recent graduate of Asia-Pacific Nazarene Theological Seminary and has been pastoring an organized church along with two church plants in the area since March, met with the parents of the children. He explained why the team was there, and that it was because of the love of Christ that others would come and share with them. More than 60 families were provided with relief supplies.
“This will be a good impact to our community, to help bring the Gospel,” said Pastor Johnrey. “We are building a bridge to the community.”
Pastor Johnrey truly was building bridges, as he coordinated the relief efforts with the government leaders of this particular administrative area (Barangay). The leaders were truly appreciative of the involvement and concern of the Church of the Nazarene, not just in bringing relief supplies, but in meeting the very real emotional needs of the children.
Later in the day, the response team did an assessment of other areas of the Barangay that had been severely damaged. The team will be returning on Saturday with members from several local Nazarene churches to help the families living in this area with clean up and rebuilding of their homes and lives.
The Southern Tagalog District churches have also joined together to provide school supplies to the children who lost everything in the flood, and are committing to assist with the reconstruction of the water well in Bacao that was destroyed. This will impact the lives of at least 1,500 affected families who live in that community.
This is what Nazarene Compassionate Ministries is all about. Not just being “hearers” of the word, but being effective “doers” as well. Sharing the Love of Christ through tangible “hands on” action!
Please continue to pray for these families that have been impacted by the storms. May God use these ordained moments of ministry in the time of disaster to change lives for eternity.
Your gifts to Nazarene Compassionate Ministries are essential in facilitating this type of life changing response.
~~ Contributors: Pastor Mark and Jasmin Eugenio
~~ Photography: Dash Gualberto