The next day in the Philippines I boarded a ferry before dawn and headed from Cebu Island to Ormoc City on the island of Leyte, where some of the worst typhoon damage occurred. The rough, 2-hour inter-island ride caused some of our team members to lose their recently downed breakfasts…thankfully I was not one of them!
In Ormoc we were met by Pastor Lot. We boarded a van together and headed southwest along the coast of Leyte. Evidence of the typhoon’s destructive force could be seen everywhere along our route, from downed trees to missing or mangled roofs to completely flattened or swept away homes.
We then arrived at Mahalit, a small coastal fishing community, where Lot lives and pastors a small church. Walking around the village, we noticed that almost every house was covered with worn, weathered tarps in place of the metal roofing sheets stripped off by the storm. Many once-beautiful palm trees were decapitated, speckling the hillside with stark, headless trunks.
For the first phase of repair, we purchased metal roof sheets with funds from the Disaster Relief Fund. We also provided funds for families to replace demolished walls with inexpensive panels made from woven bamboo.
After meeting many of the families in the village and assessing home repair needs, I walked down to a small sandy cove at the edge of the sea. There on the beach sat several simple canoe-like fishing boats with stabilizing outriggers. I also noticed some severely damaged boats. I learned that over a dozen boats were either lost or wrecked beyond repair, and others were damaged but fixable.
Fishing is the primary source of income for the families who live in Mahalit. Heaven’s Family could just help fix their homes, I thought, but if the village’s economy remains ruined we’ll have missed the most important opportunity God had given us—to restore the ability of believers to provide for their families, and provide a witness to God’s love and mercy to those who don’t know Him. A new boat cost only $400, so we asked Pastor Lot to take responsibility on our behalf for ensuring that the dozen lost boats were replaced, starting first with one for a young newly married couple expecting their first child.
I hope to expand our outreach into other villages that, like Mahalit, need help getting their homes and local economy started again. I’ll keep you posted on those developments as they happen. Thanks so much for your sacrificial gifts to the Disaster Relief Fund that have made these blessings of God’s love possible!
Because of Him,
Director, Disaster Relief Fund
Here are some more photos of the beautiful children of the Philippines…
…and, of course, there’s always a clown in the bunch!