Sunday, November 17, 2013

Heading to Help after the Havoc of Haiyan/Yolanda

Image of the path of Typhoon Haiyan/Yolanda which hit the Philippines November 8, 2013.
Arrangements have just been completed for me to travel to the area devastated by the recent earthquake and typhoon. I will begin traveling Monday morning (Sunday evening for most reading this email). My friend and coworker, VJ, will travel with me to Manila by bus then fly to Cebu City to join with YWAM Cebu, which is coordinating relief efforts for all of YWAM.  Besides being a faithful follower of Christ, VJ is Filipino and speaks the language used in that part of the country.  (He is also a fantastic cook; I look forward to seeing what he can do with tuna and ramen noodles!)

Once we are there, we will be assigned to a task and location. Currently it looks like we will be sailing over to Tacloban and joining other YWAMers already working in that place. The building has no electricity or water, but does have cell phone coverage.

We are packing a selection of hand tools, my emergency medical kit, some donated medicines, safety gear, a sleeping mat, and a mosquito net. Before leaving YWAM Cebu, we will need to purchase our food since there is no functioning market and all of the crops have been destroyed so no food is available. Not long ago, this area was known for the tourists who flocked to its beautiful beaches to unwind. It is amazing how quickly things can change.

Please keep us in your prayers. Although the stories and images are beginning to fade from the headlines, the situation there remains dire. Pray for our safety throughout the journey and while doing our work there. Pray that we will be an encouragement to those who have been at work there already, many of whom were responding to the earthquake in early October when the typhoon struck. Pray that we can bring comfort and hope to those who have lost everything and live among those who have lost everything in a place that has lost everything. The Filipino people are strong and resilient, but this is a heavy blow for any people.

YWAM Philippines is committed to walking through the recovery over the long term. Prior to the disasters we already had a network of ministries partnering with local churches in the areas of training, mercy ministry (like what is going on now), and evangelism.  YWAM has been in the Philippines for decades and we will continue to serve as God provides opportunities.