A Season of Giving

The news coverage of Typhoon Haiyan has died down but the work and the needs in the Philippines continue.  This is a pretty typical disaster situation where the giving starts to dry up after a surge of donations.  Unless you are directly effected by the disastrous event, it is easy to forget about the ongoing rebuilding of homes and lives once the incessant news coverage has ceased.

GDR_Philippines1020206But there is still work to be done.  The grieving and recovery is a long process that takes time and energy.  MTW is still on the ground.  They are not leaving once the first wave of needs have been met.  MTW is committed to their ongoing ministry in the Philippines.  There is also a construction and a medical team now in Bogo, Cebu.  You can find the latest updates from these teams at: MTW Philippines Disaster Response.

Besides reading the updates there are other ways to get involved.

1. Give a onetime donation to the ongoing typhoon relief.  Details can be found on the MTW disaster relief page.

2. Become an MTW minuteman and be a part of the first response for future events.

MINUTEMEN FOR MISSIONS is a ministry of compassionate response to urgent human suffering. The Minutemen make up a group of people who commit themselves to the support of this need or opportunity by prayer and by giving of resources.
The Minutemen stand ready to send $5.00 or more up to four times a year, as they are notified. Gifts sent to MTW from the Minutemen are used most often by MTW missionaries to minister God’s compassion to suffering people around the world.
You can become a MINUTEMAN FOR MISSIONS by signing the form (found here) and returning it to Mission to the World.

3. Sponsor a Child.

MTW has child sponsorships in places where they are working.  The children sponsored in the Philippines are all accounted for and safe.  $35 a month can transform a child’s life.  There are children ready and waiting for someone to become a part of their lives.  Find out more on the at MTW OneChild.  Sponsoring a child could be a great family Christmas gift with life changing returns.

Thank you for taking time during this season of giving to consider the broader needs of our world.

News from the Philippines. More ways to pray for and support the relief efforts.

We all have the news sources that we turn to regularly and I have to admit that most of the time I google whatever I want to know and just wait to see what pops up.  But yesterday after I updated my blog, this email came into my inbox with news from the front lines.  This email was written on the 11th from a man, Steve, who lives in Manila and has connections to Tacloban which was badly hit by the Typhoon.  I’ve removed his last name for privacy but left the other content.  This is a reminder to pray and it gives us ways to pray specifically.  There are more links in the email and also following the email for where and how to send money or other aid.  Here are Steve’s words:

I was reminded today that I have’t written any update about how we are doing after the typhoon that ripped through the Philippines last week. My apologies.  I did post right away on Facebook but I realize that does not always reach everyone.

Where we live in Makati City (Metro-Manila area)  we were virtually untouched.  We had been watching all of the reports on CNN, BBC and local stations and every report seemed to indicate that we would not be spared. So all day Friday we stayed home and waited for the wind to pick up.  It never did.  The next day, Saturday was also uneventful as there was no real news coming from the areas in the central Philippines where the typhoon had hit the strongest.  But by late Saturday and then all day Sunday the reports came in more and more horrifying detail.  I’m sure by now you have all seen the images on the news and social media.
 
Just a few days before the typhoon struck I spend several days with Alfred Romualdez, the mayor of Tacloban City.   We had gone on a 3 day motorcycle ride with several other guys up in the Northernmountain region of Banaue and Sagada.  I remember over dinner listening him talk about his city and you could tell by the way he talked that he really loved his city and the people in it.  He told us stories of working to
stop child trafficking with the help of the US Embassy.   Alfred is a member of a church plant in Tacloban from our main church in Manila.   He told us how he met the Lord and what God had done in his life.   He rushed off on Wednesday last week when it had become clear that the typhoon was going to be something extraordinary.   I was texting him just before the storm struck and his last response was, “Very busy preparing but yes please pray for us here.  Catch you later.  Cheers.  God bless.” That was the last I heard from him.  All day Saturday and Sunday I couldn’t stop thinking about him and his family and praying for them.  It
wasn’t until late on Saturday night that I got word they were alive.

Alfred’s house is right on the beach!  During the height of the typhoon there was a huge storm surge that was like a tsunami.   They only made it out because some people came and rescued them.   Right now Alfred is at the forefront of the effort to try and help his city survive the aftermath and eventually rebuild.  Please pray for him in the coming
weeks.  Pray that God would give him supernatural wisdom to know what to do in every crisis situation that he’ll be facing.
 
Our church in Manila spent all day Monday gathering supplies brought in from church members.  161 volunteers packed over 5300 relief packs that will be flown to Tacloban tomorrow morning on a C130.  More will be done as funds are available.   If you want to donate you can go to:
http://victory.org.ph/article/yolanda-relief/   Of course there are other good groups doing relief work as well such as Samaritans PurseCBN Operation Blessing and more.
 
I was with a church leader today and while we were meeting on another project he was taking calls from some pastors that were affected by the typhoon.  On pastor told him that 80% of his congregation had lost their homes and everything else.   Another call came through with a request for
a chain saw!  Apparently the trucks bringing relief goods can’t get through because fallen trees are blocking the roads!  I never would have thought to include a chain saw as part of a relief package.  The other reason for the chainsaw is that with all of the downed coconut trees, they can use the chain saw to start cutting up the trees into lumber that
can be used to rebuild their homes.  My friend made some phone calls and found a Chinese Christian who owned a hardware store and he donated 2 chain saws!  This was all happened while I was in the room waiting to continue our meeting.
 
In the next few days it will become clearer exactly the extent of the damage and loss of life but it will probably be up to 10,000 people dead and entire cities destroyed.  Right now we are only hearing about a few of the larger towns but there are countless smaller villages that no one has even reached yet.   Filipinos are remarkably resilient people but this was destruction on a scale that has not been seen before.  Please pray for this nation and the affected area.  Pray as Christians mobilize and are able to get aide to those who need it most.  Pray that God will move and people will come to Christ as the compassion of Christians is seen. 

Blessings, 
Steve 

Here are links for organizations that are helping directly.  They all are providing relief in different ways.

Direct Relief – a non-profit, non-partisan organization that provides medical assistance to people around the world who have been affected by poverty, natural disasters, and civil unrest.

Victory – mentioned in the above email where the donations will go directly towards buying the tangible items needed for relief and rebuilding.  Maybe your donation will help buy a chainsaw that will allow the supplies reach those who need them or start the rebuilding process.

Mission to the World – this is the organization I work for and donations help people on the ground who are helping the relief efforts through the local churches.

 

How and Where to Give? Praying for and Supporting the Relief efforts in the Philippines.

Many of you have heard about the latest natural disaster typhoon Haiyan that devastated entire communities in the Philippines this past weekend.  Families have been torn apart, lives have been changed forever and the death totals continue to rise.  Please pray for the people and the country. There have been many appeals for aid and sometimes it is hard to know where to give in order to have your money be the most effective.

Philippines Typhoonphoto from the Associated Press

Direct Relief states that their mission is to “improve the health and lives of people affected by poverty, disaster, and civil unrest at home and around the world”.  They are a very effective organization and good at what they do.  I have learned about them personally from a friend who works with this organization and that makes me even more confident in their work.

Mission to the World is the organization I work for and they have a disaster relief branch that works directly with the communities, churches and workers there on the ground.  This is a great way to give and support relief work through the church in the Philippines.

And even if you don’t give financially, your prayers for the Philippines are heard and effective.  Pray for the people and the aid workers responding.  Pray for hope.  Pray for peace.  And pray for wisdom for people everywhere as we move forward and try to deal with the abundance of terrible natural disasters and how they impact out global world.