NEWSLETTER JULY 2018
TYPHOONS BATTER MINDORO ISLAND
Sometimes life brings unexpected surprises and this July there have been several of them on Mindoro Island in the Philippines, where we have a number of schools for slum children.
The biggest surprise was the series of typhoons which hit Mamburao city, the capital city of the island, one after another. But thinking spiritually this was not a surprise as there has been such a powerful revival in Mamburao.
Of course, the typhoons caused havoc all over the island as heavy rains brought massive floods too. Aroma village which is part of Mamburao city was covered in water. Sadly, Aroma Hosea school was not saved either. The flood was so severe that even though our school stands on higher ground than most of the village, it was deluged half full of floodwater. That caused huge damage to the school as all the furnishings and materials inside the building were destroyed.
The floods also damaged Sablayan and St. Cruz Hosea schools. Our main school in Mamburao managed to escape damage and it now functions as an evacuation centre for the students. Many parents thought it would be better for their traumatised children to stay in familiar surroundings rather than at the official government evacuation centre. We also took in some people with illnesses. For example, one young lad carried his father along to the school. His dad is blind and needs help all the time so this lad feeds him and takes care of him in various ways. The boy had had to stop going to school because his father had no one else to take care of him. Now they have also lost their home as the typhoons and floods have utterly destroyed it. They are just one sad example of many other families who have faced the same situation.
Daisy, who is our school teacher in Aroma, also had her home flooded. In the middle of the evacuation one of Daisy’s own children went missing. She was carrying the younger one in her arms and somehow the older one got separated from her in the crowd and she could not find him. One of our other teachers, Daniel quickly decided to go and try and find the child and he was eventually located at the government evacuation centre. What a relief it was for us all! What seems to have happened is that there was a huge amount of people rushing towards the evacuation trucks while the flood waters were rapidly rising, and Daisy’s son had been lifted up into one of the trucks with other children and brought to the evacuation centre.
There have also been many people who have come to the school out of spiritual hunger, to renew their faith in God. So the typhoon has also brought some people back to God.
The storms destroyed about forty fishing boats, with many people losing their means of financial survival, including several parents of our students. These families do not have funds to build new boats, so now there are many families with no homes and absolutely no way to get any income at all as the typhoons have destroyed everything they had. The biggest Hosea boat was on the other side of the island being used by the Mangyan tribes pastor, so it was spared from any of the storm damage.
Hosea church members gathered clothes for the evacuees and we had enough time to bring some food over to the tribal areas where the typhoon hit first. A second and third typhoon came after the first one, and soon the only main road was flooded with water and mudslides. The storm was so strong that a bridge in Mamburao with concrete supports sunk into the sea.
The torrential downpours continue on the island and now the town of Sablayan is under flooding. The school where Nathan evangelised and where 2400 students came to Christ was also flooded. People on the island are scared and have requested prayer. The local government officials gave the order that all those evacuated to the Hosea school should stay there because the heavy rains are still raising the water level in flooded areas.
The weather forecasts are predicting more problems for the island as a new typhoon seems to be heading straight towards Mindoro island on 4-8 August. Let’s all pray that this typhoon changes its route away from the Philippines.
Hosea has given food to those who have been evacuated to our school and that is a lot of people: the whole school is now packed full of evacuees who have no other place to go to. Our teachers and members of Hosea churches have packed sardines and rice for those school families whose homes are still standing but muddy.
What happens after the floods? Well, life goes on. The schools will have to be renovated and cleaned and the school children fed. Giving rice to those who need it is only a first aid in this huge natural catastrophe. Unfortunately the need is so great that our food bags are soon totally empty. Up until now we have received enough donations to get food to those evacuees located at our main school.
In the middle of all this chaos some good things have taken place: God did a miracle on a rice field which belongs to one of our Christian brothers. This faithful man evangelises and feeds the Mangyan tribespeople. As he did not have much funds to buy food he prayed and asked God for a piece of land to grow food for these precious tribespeople. He received this field as a gift some time ago as an answer to his prayers.
Now when the news said that the typhoon was on its way directly to Mindoro Island, he knew that his field would be severely flooded since it was on very low ground, lower than the surrounding rice fields. Our brother decided to go to his field and pray for protection for the crop. The rice was almost ready to be harvested. If the rice stalks fall under the flood water, the fully developed crop is very quickly destroyed. So there this man stood and prayed. The typhoons came and blew the rice down everywhere else except on this man’s field. The stalks were standing heads up declaring God’s miracle, but all the surrounding rice fields were totally destroyed. There is power in the prayer of faith.
This miracle was noticed by the media and even the local TV stations came to make a video of this field and showed it on their news programmes, so the message of God was effectively spread around the country. This was a total miracle and everyone admits it.
Thank you so much to everyone who has donated towards this emergency need. Please would you keep praying for us and especially for those little ones who have been traumatised by the floods. I don’t know how many of you have experienced the powerful force of a typhoon but it is impossible to explain how horrendous it is.
With my love and blessings,