In November 2013, the Philippines was hit with the Super-Typhoon Yolanda, which killed at least 5,235 with an additional 1,613 still listed as missing according to the last government count. More than a million homes were destroyed or damaged, including some of our churches.
Here are some reports from Bishop Roger Justiano, National Overseer of the Philippines:
“As National Overseer of the Church of God of Prophecy, Philippines, on behalf of my family and our people, let me express my warmest gratitude and appreciation for all the help extended by the International Office, Harvest Partners, local churches in the US, local members, friends and everyone who helped our churches and brethren and the victims of Super Typhoon Haiyan (Yolanda). During those trying days, your prayers, message of encouragement, concerns, love, personal notes and messages really meant so much to us. We appreciate very much those who dropped some words of encouragement. Your prayers, moral and financial support will not be forgotten. May the Lord bless you, your family, work, business, ministry, as you responded to the need.
“A day after Super-Typhoon Yolanda (local name) made landfall, the widespread devastation is just heartbreaking as news updates are beginning to come a midst power outages. The grim reality of the typhoon’s strength is slowly unfolding as reports are coming in from the severely affected areas. The Philippine Red Cross estimated 1,200 casualties. Our church brethren from Panay, Romblon, and Mindoro are along the path of the typhoon. Please pray for our brethren and for the Filipino people who are affected with loss of lives, properties, agriculture, and business.
“It took us a while to receive a report from our district overseer from Panay to give us an idea about the extent of damages among our church family since the cell sites in the area are down. He has to drive several towns just to get a signal to send his messages to us. Most of our church people’s houses were damaged. Our church in Bacong was totally destroyed; in San Antonio, we lost several of the roof tin sheets; in Culasi, we lost the extended parts of the church building; in Buenavista, the cottage that the work team used this year during the construction of the church was destroyed. Praise God that there was no loss of lives among our church family according to the district overseer.
“After several days of confusion and the seeming unpreparedness of the authorities to respond, the relief operations and help coming from different sectors and countries are beginning to pour in. Our fellow countrymen who were directly hit by the storm are receiving some relief goods, but other areas who were battered with same magnitude are also calling for help. This is part of the challenges the rescuers are facing since several islands of the archipelago were also badly hit.
“Presently, our church is focusing on helping our church family in Antique, Panay where four of our churches were damaged and houses of our members were lost or destroyed. According to our pastor in Bacong church, members are just meeting in a tent now after their church was totally destroyed. Our Women’s Ministry Directress, Sister Salvie and Sister Luz are now on the their way to bring some food and assess the damages and move to the next stage of our help—building and repairing church building and houses of our members. We want to help as many as we can, but with the funds that we have, we need to focus in with the churches and members. Anyway, the authorities are now helping the people in general who are affected by the typhoon.”