Philippines Relief, Part 1

14 Mar

Heaven’s Family partner Molong Nacua standing next to his chainsaw-toting father, who is using it to provide lumber for the rebuilding of many neighborhood homes, including his own, pictured.

Dear Friends,

The chainsaw was huge, but then again so was the job: helping to restore homes, lives, and hope for victims of Typhoon Haiyan.

In January I traveled to the Philippines to follow-up on what Heaven’s Family has been doing since the first weeks after the disaster—which officially took over 5,000 lives and caused injury and/or loss of homes to tens of thousands of others—and help those who’ve slipped through the cracks despite massive relief efforts scattered across hundreds of square miles and dozens of islands. Survivors are rebuilding, but the process is long and slow.

I first headed north on Cebu Island, a hard-hit area neglected by many aid organizations. Thanks to generous donations to the Disaster Relief Fund from our brothers and sisters in the UK, a super-sized chainsaw was already at work, clearing felled trees and making lumber by cutting them into planks for home reconstruction. Heaven’s Family has provided funds to purchase tin roofing sheets and other materials to rebuild this small community, some of which had already begun. Let me introduce you to a few families that you are helping in the photos below…

At left, Inocensio and Melanie, both 92, suffer from some dementia; the wife kept insisting that the home being built just to the right of their little tent (pictured) was for someone else. Her husband could hardly move due to chronic, arthritic-type pain in his body. At right, Jose and his wife Gerbise, both 98 years old, are also receiving a sturdy replacement (right) of their temporary shelter built from salvaged materials. A former boxer, his health and vigor has been maintained, in part, by daily riding the bicycle at right.

At left, Leberaton Arransado’s house collapsed due to the high winds from the typhoon, as seen behind him. He and his family of nine children still live under the fallen roof (he carefully must crawl back through the rafters at left, then turn right to get under the palm-branch roof). A carpenter, Leberaton is helping others rebuild before he turns to his own home. At right, Joel and Lucina Aspera stand with two of their five children under their new roof. I left them funds to put up simple walls and a floor.

Two families waiting for construction to begin: at left, this woman, her husband, and 5 other children share the one bed under the red tarp; at right, this grandmother maintains a nearby garden, where she was harvesting some vegetables (in the bag) with her granddaughter when I first met her.

Helped as of this writing: at left, a young mother with child; at right, a man and his blind wife patiently wait in their tent, trusting in God.

During my visit with Molong he commented about how he was also receiving disaster relief funds from a large American television ministry most would immediately recognize. He said that he appreciated the funds, but the only thing that accompanied the check was an impersonal form letter that didn’t even have his name on it. That organization is simply too large, we concluded, to enter into a relationship with those they help. Heaven’s Family is different, he went on to say. You come; you want relationship. He liked that.

I’m thrilled to be a part of a ministry that personally touches the lives of so many. Thank you for entrusting us with that privilege.

Because of Him,

Jeff Trotter
Director, Disaster Relief Fund

Of course, I cannot send a report without sharing some photos of the beautiful children I meet!


1 Recent Comments

  • Molong

    Hi Jeff, thanks for taking part of our housing project up north Cebu. Two house is finished – the first two elderly in this photos: their house is don and finally transferred. Still more work to do. Going back two days from now and finished more houses with my team here. Thanks everyone who generously share their blessings. Molong and the church here.

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