Stories:

BLESSINGS OUT OF
HAIYAN DEVASTATION

On November 8th, 2013 the most powerful tropical cyclone on record struck the Philippine islands of Samar and Leyte.

The cyclone resulted in at least 6,268 casualities and caused widespread devastation to homes, commercial properties and food production. Governments and Relief Agencies from around the world responded within days to bring much needed drinking water, food and temporary shelter.

Overseas Aid
In the aftermath of cyclone Haiyan there has also been a wonderful response from the Lord’s people and Brethren churches around the world. It is estimated that at least $700,000 has been given as Relief Aid from USA, Canada, NZ, Japan, Norway and UK, including $188,000 from Australia. Most of the international aid and world news has been focused on Tacloban, the capital of Leyte and the area that suffered the most casualities. Much of the aid from Brethren donors, however, has been allocated to relief work and rebuilding damaged property in areas where Brethren workers are serving.

In January representatives from AMT and GLO viewed the destruction from the typhoon, concentrating on the Brethren mission felds affected. In consul-tation with Dave Harvey, who represents CMML in Manila, it was agreed that monies from Australia be administered by GLO and the funds from all the other countries be handled by CMML.

Money from Australia has been mainly allocated to Guiuan, Libas / Cambalong and islands off Catbalogan. It is the intention of this report that donors have confdence that 100% of monies donated are being used for helping Filipinos who have suffered loss as well as to assist with the rebuilding of ministry facilities that were destroyed or damaged. The relief aid has been used of God to turn the hearts of many Filipinos to Himself and given opportunities to share the good news of salvation in Christ, resulting in new believers.

Aid Relief and Rebuilding strengthens
relationships in Guiuan The majority of the relief monies has been distributed or allocated to Guiuan where GLO workers Paul and Gerrah Kulikovsky have been working. Guiuan is the region where the typhoon frst hit land, flattening the whole area. This was a demoralising blow as they have been building the work over many years – evangelising, training nationals, and building facilities etc.

Every building was either flattened or sustained major damage, including Paul and Gerrah’s home.

Paul and Gerrah have been overwhelmed by the support that has been given to them during this traumatic time. In spite of the trauma, Paul has been busy co-ordinating the rebuilding of the ministry facilities, organising relief aid to church members and locals, while trying to get his own home back in working order.

Relief aid work is not easy, especially while trying to maintain and rebuild ministries. As well as food parcels, water flters etc, Paul has provided a plan and material for 45 families to rebuild themselves a dwelling. A team of fve responsible team members has been given the responsibility to oversee the ongoing distribution of aid. As a result of the typhoon and aid given, many new contacts have been made and earlier contacts have been renewed.

Aid Relief leads to new believers in Libas & Cambalong
Willie Vallespin writes – “The rebuilding works in Libas and in Cambalong went smoothly. We have made a lot of progress as you can see in the pictures. The fnancial gift not only helps the completion of the rebuilding works but also saves souls. The rebuilding work connects us to the community and most specifcally to the construction workers. We initiated Bible studies with the workers and their families.

With the guidance of the Holy Spirit, we are able to harvest more souls for God’s kingdom. At present we have a lot of Bible studies almost every night. We divided the group into seekers, for baptism and discipleship for members. More families under the seekers Bible Study groups are accepting the saving grace of God. They know more about Christ and are accepting Him as their Lord and Saviour.”

Aid Relief creates connections with islands off Catbalogan
Catbalogan itself was sheltered from the Typhoon but the houses and economy of the poor communities on the islands offshore were badly affected. The Catbalogan team have been praying for help to form relationships with the folk on the islands who are mainly unreached with the gospel. While some relationships have been forming through fshermen using the GLO waterfront property as a landing for their boats, the typhoon relief monies has given the opportunity to provide much appreciated help. By providing rice, nipa (grass roofng), nails, plywood sheeting and other relief assistance, doors have now been opened for ongoing evangelism.

Groups of people have been coming by boat to attend church services as well as staying longer to attend Bible studies that have been especially arranged for them. Those who have been attending church are currently arranging to have Bible studies in their own barangays (villages).

Many of the Filipinos living on the islands of Samar and Leyte have been shaken by Typhoon Haiyan. However, in the aftermath of the Typhoon many Filipinos are being touched by the love of Christ that has been expressed through relief aid sent from Christians and churches throughout the world. As the rebuilding work continues let’s pray that God would be glorifed as He works in and through the Filipino believers to channel temporal and eternal blessings to the needy around them.

Author: David Scott
Uploaded: 8th July 2017

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