So many have asked how they can help, so here is a short note to give a bit of background and to share how we are involved in the much needed relief efforts in the aftermath of Typhoon Yolanda. Please feel free to pass this news on to whoever you think might be interested to financially help at this time.
The strongest typhoon in recent history (or so they say) hit the Philippines islands on Friday, November 8th. All of us here in Cebu City began prayerfully preparing for what was expected to be a “monster super typhoon” – hoping that the reports were exaggerated, and yet dreading the news that it was far beyond what anyone had ever seen before. The stores were packed with shoppers who were filled with panic – filling their shopping carts with necessary items “just in case” we had no electricity for months to come.
Our team prepared, too. Friederich ordered extra rice and several dear friends went shopping for hundreds of canned food items. They shopped for three hours! Good thing, too, because the food was much needed after the storm.
How amazed we all were as the storm hit Cebu around 9:00 am last Friday; although the skies were an eerie color and the winds blew violently and without ceasing – there was little rain. Our ministry center at the garbage dump in Inayawan was packed with 231 people from the local community who came seeking shelter. The schools and city center were full and people were so thankful to have a strong and dry place to come for the night. At Pier Four also, families piled into our building and took refuge from the high winds.
After the storm passed, we were thankful that there was little damage here in Cebu City. We had power outage around Cebu from 12-24 hours. The ministry center lost all water supply, which was difficult because many from the area come to us for daily water – both for drinking and for washing. Our water pump seems to be destroyed and the tank is also cracked. But, praise the Lord, the building was not destroyed! The ceiling, which had totally collapsed after the 7.2 earthquake in Bohol, had been repaired completely the week before.
The center, or eye of the storm, travelled north of Cebu City. Had it hit us directly, Cebu would have experienced devastation beyond belief. Cebu has over three million people – and a vast majority live in shanty shacks in slum areas. Their simple homes would have been smashed to match-stick-sized wood. How thankful we all have been to have been spared.
But then news began to come in that the storm had raged directly through cities on the islands of Leyte and Samar. Also, to the north of Cebu City at the tip of the island. As reports hit the airwaves, we heard shocking stories of hundreds of thousands of homes that had been destroyed – and countless lives lost. What we have seen in photos defies the imagination – the incredible destruction is beyond words. People are wandering around without food, water, or electricity. Many say it is far worse than the tsunami that hit Japan a few years ago! Hard to imagine!!! Huge tractors are simply shoveling the debris from the streets and piling it along the side of the road. One sees cars, bicycles, roof tops, huge uprooted trees, furniture, and strewn clothing hanging this way and that. Many roadways are blocked, and the seaport and airport in Tacloban (where much of the damage is in Leyte) are in shambles.
Tacloban is described as “a horrid landscape of smashed buildings and completely defoliated trees, with widespread looting and unclaimed bodies decaying in the open air. The typhoon moved fast and didn’t last long – only a few hours – but it struck the city with absolutely terrifying ferocity.” Estimates of 10,000 deaths have been reported at this point.
Immediately, our CFM/IGC Foundation team was in full action. We delivered rice and bags of canned food and noodles to all of our children in the various slum areas where we work each week. Parents came with their children and hugged us – thanking us for being there for them. As always, we tell them, “Thanks to the friends we have who are the ones who have given finances so that you can have this food!” What an incredible feeling it is to be able to pass on these blessings. Those who give to support the ministry we do here are truly the heroes – the ones behind the scenes who are reaching out to help all these people in time of need!
Currently, Friederich has led small teams to the remote islands of eastern Samar to bring much needed relief goods (food, water, hygiene supplies) We have CFM churches in Leyte and Samar – some in areas that were hit hardest. We go to remote areas where government, relief organizations, and military do not travel. Pastor Jhun Sayson, who has been our CFM national leader for years, went to school in Guiuan, and his mother was born on Suluan, where the typhoon first landed. He knows many who live on the most eastern side of the island, including a small island called Manicani. These towns are demolished beyond belief.
Donations are being received through CFM to purchase dry goods (rice, noodles, canned food, medications), hygiene articles, and drinking water. Our team continues to work with and through local town leaders, pastors and churcheson these small islands. Once the villages are stabalized, the second phase of helping to rebuild homes and furnish new fishing boats will begin. Also, clothing, medical supplies, water filters, and household supplies would be practical gifts as well. Undoubtedly, we will be making trips until the work is done, and as finances allow. God is near the brokenhearted and He comes with help and restoration. Thank God for HIS BODY, the Church, that rises beautifully in times such as these.
We covet your prayers and thank you for thinking of us all during this time! We are in a whirlwind of activity… but know this help gets to those who need it.
Friederich, Nancy and the CFM/IGC Foundation Team in Cebu
Donations may be sent to the following address
CFM - Christian Frontier Ministries
P.O. Box 1012
St. Peters, MO 63376 USA
* All gifts are tax deductible. Please note “Typhoon Aid”