Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Not Helpless- A Typhoon Haiyan Yolanda Update

As pictures and reports started pouring in from the internet & from co-workers, we sat stunned & felt completely overwhelmed. In a few short hours, “just another typhoon” had gone to a very close-to-home, massive tragedy.

We had been preparing for this typhoon just like we had others, getting the word out, making sure people had what they needed to weather through. We’d all made it through many storms. This was just another one. Little did we know. As the storm began to move across the central Philippines, we began losing contact with our fellow missionaries as communications & electricity went down. After the storm passed, we were swamped trying to coordinate help for our own missionaries.  Praise the Lord, they were all safe and accounted for, so we have turned our attention to what we can do to help those who were most affected by the typhoon.

On Sunday morning this week we were approached by a team with the Philippine Red Cross about the possibility of flying them for aerial surveys and damage assessments so that they could more effectively deploy relief workers into areas damaged by the typhoon. Relief flying isn’t something we’ve ever done before, mostly because we have such a small team (4 families in the Philippines right now) and many of us are already maxed out just trying to keep up with our normal flying schedule. We also haven’t been in the country for a disaster as overwhelming as this one so we haven’t felt this kind of desperation before.

Because of the devastation caused by this super typhoon and the desperate situation so many are in, we decided to ask a few of our friends and churches back home if they would be willing to help out as we did not have the funds to do all of the flying and relief work. Within a few hours, we had received financial pledges that were adequate to do the Red Cross flights as well as a large donation of fuel for our second relief project at “ground zero,” Tacloban City.

It has been crazy for us since then as our phones and email have seen unbelievable traffic! We have been forwarded emails of missionaries trapped on islands, people needing to get from one place to another, asking for us to help as soon as we can. We have felt the desperation that so many people are feeling right now and we wish we could help all of them.

We are working closely with some missionaries on some smaller islands close to ours that are coordinating with mayors & leaders on other islands that are severely damaged by the typhoon. Our family was able to go and buy 2500 lbs of rice & other relief goods to be flown in & distributed to these islands because of the Lord’s answer for financial aid from our support network back home. Josh has begun to fly these supplies in & has several more flights coming in the next few days with tons of new opportunities coming in all the time.

Our other pilot friends have been waiting for days to get clearance to land in Tacloban, but have been unable to until they have established peace and order in the area. They are currently on a bigger island close to that area where they will stay and fly relief from. Very few foreign aid agencies have been able to get into the disaster areas to help & we are hoping to be able to help secure the area so the bigger agencies can move into position to do their work.

Please pray for all of us as another storm has moved in & has grounded our flights. We are hoping to resume tomorrow. So many doors are opening & requests being made for our services- we need the Lord’s wisdom to know which doors to walk through. Pray for stamina & encouragement for all of us as the task looks daunting. Pray for the Filipino people who are trying to rebuild their lives with nothing. Pray most of all for Christ’s love to shine through us to those we are serving.

Click here if you would like to give toward relief efforts.

“Circumstances may appear to wreck our lives & God’s plans, but God is not helpless among the ruins. Our broken lives are not lost or useless. God’s love is still working. He comes in & takes the calamity and uses it victoriously, working out His wonderful plan of love.” -Eric Liddell

Thank you all so much for your prayers, support, & encouragement. God is not helpless among the ruins. And we all are so blessed to be able to be a part of His rebuilding.