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Philippines Followup

25 Apr

Dear Friends,

You may recall that last December Typhoon Bopha (a.k.a. Pedro) struck the Philippines twice, causing widespread destruction to homes and crops. I was very grateful that Heaven’s Family could send $2,000 within hours of the disaster, and another $2,000 a few weeks later, to provide emergency food and building materials to help those hardest hit. We also helped a year ago in the aftermath of another typhoon that took more than 1,000 lives.

After just visiting there to follow-up on our efforts, I want to report what we’ve accomplished together. I also want to tell you about some exciting new plans.

The first couple of days I traveled with my contact, pastor Alex Montanano, into the mountains to visit three remote villages where our partnering work with Alex has been making a difference. Many of the villagers are already believers, but this nation (like the U.S. and many others in the West) is filled with nominal Christians, so Alex, two pastors in training, and I took advantage of several opportunities to present the gospel to adults and children. Disasters cause unusual openness in people, and this one was no exception.


Travel into remote villages is challenging. Thankfully, when the newer bridge (right) washed out recently, the old bridge was still usable.


Some of the villages we visited, preaching the gospel in each (left to right: San Mateo, Iba, and Balongkot)

Next, I visited several believers in the city that were helped last year. Seeing familiar faces and learning how they continue to benefit from our help encouraged me greatly. Even the goats we provided last year are prospering!


These goats were a few of the ones we provided last year. At left, friends enjoy the simple entertainment of watching a few feisty goats; at right, this girl did her best to maintain her composure, despite this goat’s efforts to distract her!


At left, Kharinn, a single woman who was helped to start a prepared-food business, is better able to care for her adopted daughter, Lovely Dawn; at right, Ramos may have a lame left arm, but that doesn’t slow down his entrepreneurial spirit (shown here with his organic vegetable garden using recycled juice drink bags made into planters, one of many things he does to provide for his family!).

This was also my first opportunity to begin a new phase of outreach for the Disaster Relief Fund. Although we’ll continue to respond to disasters with gifts of emergency food, medicine and shelter, many victims live in places that make them vulnerable to the next storm. Rather than continue to provide just enough for them to return to their former lives, we want to begin helping them, when possible, to become more “disaster proof.”

This means that, when poor shanty dwellers living along the riverbank lose their homes during typhoon floods (as occurred December 2011, resulting in over 1,000 lives lost), we don’t try to restore them to their high-risk living conditions. Our goal is to help them survive in the weeks and months to follow a disaster, and to help them out of the poverty that caused them to be so vulnerable in the first place.

To that end, we’re working with Heaven’s Family’s Micro-Loan Fund to help many victims start new businesses or expand existing ones. Rather than see them become dependent on a flow of outside aid, we want to help them get on their feet as soon as possible, rising to a better economic status than before, with their own hard work.

All of the poor believers I talked to in the Philippines welcomed this idea with great excitement! Villagers caught a new vision: they began to see that they weren’t insignificant and helpless but, with God’s power and the empowerment they can receive from their brothers and sisters in Christ, they can rise up and play an important role in God’s kingdom. Those living in the city also were greatly encouraged, seeing their potential in a new way. The gleam of hope in their eyes was thrilling, and I left each of our meetings full of hope as well!

I believe this is a great opportunity for Heaven’s Family to provide a model of empowerment that changes communities devastated by disaster, rather than see them become mired in dependency. I hope you will catch this vision with me, and I’m excited to see the changes ahead in the Philippines because of our partnership with them. If you have questions or want to learn more, please drop me an email at: [email protected].

Because of Him,

Jeff Trotter
Director, Disaster Relief Fund

Parting shots of some Philippine treasure…

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3 Recent Comments

  • Lynn McGeown

    We would like to send aid to the Philippines in the wake of this last disaster/typhoon. Are you guys doing anything? If not, could you direct us to an organization you trust?
    Thanks,
    Lynn

    • admin

      Lynn,

      Yes, we are raising funds to send to our trusted partners on the ground. Like every focused fund, nothing is taken out of your designated donation for administrative costs. You can help at this link: https://www.heavensfamily.org/philippines

      Thank you so much for asking and caring.
      Heaven’s Family, Web Team

  • Lynn McGeown

    Thanks! I found the site. God bless our brethren…I pray The Lord can stretch every dollar like the loaves and fishes…!

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