Most of us have seen some of the images from the devastation left in the aftermath of the Haiyan (Yolanda) typhoon that hit the Philippines during the month of November. Rogelio Justiniano, our National Bishop in the Philippines, kept us up to date daily in the early reporting of the effects of the storm on our people. Immediately, an offering of $5,000 was sent to begin relief efforts among our people. Bishop Justiniano writes:
With the meager resources that we had, trying to help our super-typhoon-devastated fellowmen posed a great challenge.Our goal is to help our churches and members who lost their homes and who sustained damage to their worship buildings. The immediate need was for food and water. Two of our female leaders, Salvie Tapao and Luz Baliguat, were the first to travel into Antique, Panay, to take food and other needed supplies.
Communications were affected for many days. Our leaders in the affected areas often had to drive several towns away to just get a communication signal to send information to our national office.
There is still a great need in our nation. Many of the homes of our church people were damaged. Our church in Bacong was totally destroyed and, according to our pastor there, members will continue to meet in a tent. In San Antonio, we lost several of the tin roof sheets. In Culasi, we lost the extended parts of the church building. In Buenavista, the cottage that has been used by the work teams this year during the construction of the church was destroyed.
We will continue to assist with the basic immediate needs, as well as assess the damages moving to the next stages of our help in building and repairing church worship centers and homes of our members. It is our desire to assist as many as we can.
We continue to praise God that there was no loss of lives among our church family according to the district overseers. We appreciate very much the love and support being poured out, not only for our church family, but for all of the Filipino people affected by the super-typhoon. God bless you!