Missionary Michael Hildreth reports on his return to the Philippines.
This baptism was both spiritually and physically beautiful.
PHILIPPINES (BNc) – Much news about the devastation caused by typhoon Haiyan (named Yolanda in the Philippines) is appearing in the media, but concrete information from our brethren is only dribbling out because lines of communication were damaged and destroyed.
The storm surge 15-20 feet high sent tsunami-like waves 45 feet high crashing to shore in some places. Ships were left sitting in city streets!
Especially hard hit areas include the island of Samar, Tacloban City on Leyte, and northern Cebu island. Surrounding islands in the central Visayas such as Panay and Bohol were heavily damaged, and also Oriental Mindoro and northern Palawan to the west as the storm headed back out to sea toward Vietnam.
The number of dead bodies located keeps climbing as it passes 2,200 with many areas still inaccessible. In places like Tacloban City mass burials have been necessary because of the health risk with bodies decaying in the rubble and standing water. The airport there served as a makeshift morgue.
Homes, crops, and trees were leveled by winds of 150-200 mph and the land was inundated with torrential rainfall. Nearly ten million people were affected and 600,000 displaced.
Pictures of the devastation can be seen at the DailyMail website.
The Philippine government, U.S. military, other governmental bodies around the world, and international relief agencies are trying to get supplies to the devastated areas, but much of the infrastructure is destroyed. Supply trucks have been waylaid.
In some cases, people foraging for food, water, and medicine are looting markets, grocery stores, and pharmacies in desperation. Mobs in Tacloban City attacked a rice warehouse and the walls collapsed killing and injuring more people. The Philippine military is trying to restore order.
Saints are scattered all through the regions hit by the storm. We are getting some news from saints on the island of Cebu. Jonathan Carino and other Filipino brethren in company with Harry Osborne were able to survey the damage at Bogo City in northern Cebu. Gil Suico who preaches there sent me a message that homes, fruit trees, and crops were severely damaged, which means the suffering will extend for weeks and months to come. A large percentage of the buildings in Bogo City were flattened and nearly all structures were damaged.
I received a report from brethren in Dumaguete City, Negros Oriental, that they suffered no major damage. There is word from Jack Jaco in the western part of the island, Negros Occidental, that brethren suffered damage there.
Jonathan and Harry have been trying to get to Tacloban City but cancelled their plans because of the breakdown of security. The New Peoples Army (Filipino communists) are flexing their muscle with raids because the government can hardly function.
Brother Nilo Zabala fled the city after NPA’s invaded his home and threatened him with death if he did not provide them with supplies. His family is camped in a damaged bus terminal.
Jonathan and Harry will take a ferry boat from Cebu City on Cebu Island to Ormoc City on Leyte. They hope to establish contact with brethren and assess their needs.
In view of the destruction of the infrastructure and communication, it is very hard to get a concrete assessment of our brethren’s needs, and also very hard to deliver funds and supplies when assessments can be made. We know immediate needs are the most basic items such as food, water, and medicines. Homes are destroyed. Church buildings collapsed and blew away. Bibles and song books were ruined and swept away.
Let us fervently pray for these dear saints, send whatever financial help we can, and commit ourselves not to forget their needs in the weeks and months ahead.
Individuals who might like to donate can send donations to Ron Halbrook, 3505 Horse Run Ct., Shepherdsville, KY 40165-6954.
TACLOBAN, Philippines (BNc) – An estimated 10,000 people may have died as a result of the super typhoon that came through Central Philippines on Nov. 9, reaching speeds of approximately 200 miles per hour.
Tacloban was hit by 36 feet of water from the typhoon surge, destroying everything in its path. Although there were preparation efforts, they failed in the wake of such strength.
Reports indicate that although some homes were partially destroyed, the missionaries, local Filipino preachers and Christians are all safe.
Relief efforts are hampered by the destruction of roads and bridges and lack of electricity. Groups wishing to help are put on waiting lists because of the few flights going into Cebu and Tacloban.
In spite of this, groups of workers from US churches are preparing to travel to the Philippines to help begin reconstruction.
Some relief effort avenues at present are: World Evangelism, P. O. Box 72, Winona, MS 38967, mark for “Philippines typhoon aid” or Saturn Rd. Church of Christ, 3030 Saturn Rd., Garland, TX 75041, Attn: Robbie, mark for “MARCH for Christ” (Philippine mission work). Also, you can email the Boiling Springs congregation in South Carolina for information on their relief effort.
We will update other relief options as they become available.
Brother Inso works with five churches in Samar, Philippines. Bishop St. helped brother Inso and several college students at a nearby college, Eastern Samar State University (ESSU), to get a 32-inch TV for use in their discipleship class.
The church is very excited about this work since the class now will be able to view World Video Bible School (WVBS) DVDs and other materials such as “The Gospel Of Christ.”
The TV will also be used as a power point screen to display lessons and songs for the group.
Brother Inso asks for prayers for this work. His goal is to teach and equip the students to teach people in the providence of Samar the gospel of Christ. Inso uses his motorcycle-powered “Gospel Chariot” to bring students to class.
Inso is a graduate of the Philippine Institute of Biblical Studies in Cebu and has worked with Jeremy Barrier of Heritage Christian University.
The Bishop St. church plans to equip each student with a set of WVBS DVDs to use in evangelism.
A new preaching training school fills a need in an area where none was operating.
Michael Hildreth and Philippine brethren start the new year with a church plant.
TARLAC CITY, Philippines (BNc) — “We have arrived safely in the Philippines!” Michael Hildreth wrote yesterday to BNc. He and his family just moved there to begin a new congregation.
“I am beginning a new work in Tarlac City with the help of some local preachers and members of the Body. It will be a newly planted congregation and Tarlac Bible School,” Michael wrote Nov. 28 to BNc.
The city, located in the Central Luzon region, has a population of 314,000, with 76 barangays, or neighborhoods. Read more
The family leaves Nov. 26 for a four-year stint.
These poor farmers pile on a motorbike to go about the province preaching the gospel. How many do you count on the bike?
Philippine minister urges Americans to minister to refugees scattered all across the U.S. Read more
Filipino preacher describes outreach to community through a new breed of goat. Read more