Well over 5 million people were impacted.
An estimated 600,000 people were left homeless.
More than 6,000 people died.
Do you remember? Or have you moved on?
In November, 2013, Typhoon Haiyan struck the island nation of the Philippines in Southeast Asia, leaving widespread devastation. Grace Church is the sending church of Christian (and Bonnie) Beuggert who oversee ministry in the Philippines for Encompass World Partners. Encompass does not have ministries in the specific areas that were hit hardest, so funds are being transferred to two other organizations, “Medical Ambassadors”, and “First Love”.
Grace Church has made two contributions to these relief efforts – one as an initial response, and one from our Birthday Gift for Jesus funds. Here are updates that Christian passed along:
Dr. Francis Daytec and his wife Leah are sent out by the Kish Valley Grace Brethren Church, PA. We are partnering with them in their ministry in giving some oversight and visionary leadership. They also partner with Medical Ambassadors Philippines, the organization through which we are funneling relief funds.
Dr. Francis’ report: ‘I just returned after ten days of serving with Medical Ambassadors Philippin es in the most devastated areas affected by the Typhoon. A group of several nurses and three other doctors and I started out in Tacloban, handing out relief goods, offering hope, giving free medical care for six days— we treated so many broken bodies, and loved so many broken hearts. The strength of the survivors is unbelievable.
We then traveled on by plane to Coron, Palawan to another devastated region: this time I was the only doctor, accompanied by two nurses. There we saw and treated over 375 patients in three days, and were touched by the resilient spirits of the survivors.
Amidst the devastation, I witnessed true hope arise in people— made possible by your efforts, you – our friends, family and even strangers who were led to pray and give. Your prayers and giving is enabling us and our partners to provide relief in the form of food, clothing, shelter, medical care and, most importantly, hope through counseling and Spiritual care in the remote and most neglected areas affected by the typhoon.
I have seen the destruction and heard the stories that affirm God’s faithfulness. In Tacloban, a particular church building withstood the rushing water and 200 mph winds. This church became a refuge not just for survivors but for rescuers and relief operators and volunteers. One member of the fellowship gathering in this church narrated how amazingly his wooden house remained standing as he watched from his window the buildings being flattened by the wind and rushing water. Having his family and house saved from the typhoon gave him privilege to serve those who are serving his hometown by driving volunteers to where they are needed on his motorbike, which also was amazingly saved without a scratch after a coconut tree fell on it.
Amidst the losses, there is hope. In the town of Tanauan, an elderly man’s wish is to have a Bible. His Bible was washed out together with all of his other belongings the rushing water. He said he was afraid but the incoming huge waves brought him courage: “I was amazed. I saw the power of God as the towering waves were coming in. Courage overcame my fears and made me praise and give thanks to God. We are now rebuilding our house from whatever debris left. I want to continue reading and memorizing God’s written Word. I believe the time is nearing when we need to have the Word of God in our hearts where no storm can get rid of.”
All around me was devastation like I have never seen before… bodies still being dug out of the rubble, whole towns decimated and flattened. Entire families washed away, many children who had lost both parents, parents who lost all their children. The agony and brokenness is hard to put into words. One mother who came to be checked up told how she had given birth to twin boys the day before the typhoon hit. When the waves came, they swept her baby boys away, and she has never found their bodies.
We are so grateful for the prayer and the very generous financial gifts that many of you gave for the relief effort in these places. Thank you! There is much work left to be done, and we are not finished. We will continue going back and serving until life begins to be rebuilt.’
Dan and Tori Beaver used to work with Encompass in Manila. They are now with First Love serving in Boracay. Their island was hit by the storm but the damage was not as severe. They have decided to establish a long-term relief:
‘First Love will continue to bring in relief goods and set up more long term feeding centers, linking with Tacloban Bible Church and several partnering churches in the areas of great loss. Our partner, ATS, Asian Theological Seminary has assured us that they will be sending crisis counselors into Tacloban and Samar to help with those who are so emotionally and spiritually traumatized. They are even at work right now training more pastors and lay Christians for this important need.
Now most recently, we have implemented a construction team to help rebuild and construct simple homes for the poor. We are starting with members of churches and their neighbors as localized outreaches. Some of these homes will double as house churches.’
Thank you for being a church who cares!