Now may the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, that you may abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit. Romans 15:13
The Philippines is a country made up of over 7,000 islands of which over 700 are inhabited. The Visayas islands are a central grouping of islands, with the greatest community development need. These islands have seen some growth but remain well below the national average for evangelical presence and economic stability. At the same time, widespread poverty continues to breed a lack of hope, creating a toxic socio-economic climate. In response to these needs, Doorway to Hope intends to concentrate on four key areas of need among the islands of the Visayas region, beginning in Northern Samar.
Typhoon Haiyan swept through the Visayan Islands (central part of the Philippines) on Friday, Nov. 8, 2013 as one of the most powerful typhoons on record, leaving a path of destruction like none ever seen. Aid agencies in the Phillippines estimate 10,000 dead and that number will rise admid the struggle for survival in the aftermath. A weather expert on CNN described it this way: In the U.S. when a hurricane hits land, it is normally for less than 5 minutes. Typhoon Haiyan literally hovered over the Philippines for 4 hours with gusting winds up to 235 mph and destroyed 80% of all homes as it passed through. In the midst of chaos, pain, and suffering, we have been given the opportunity to bring hope to those who are broken, and Doorway to Hopeís Rosemary Sellen is in the Philippines doing everything she can to help.
Rosemary is located in Northern Samar, 6 hours north of Tacloban, Leyte. Northern Samar was hit hard with flooding, damage to poorly built homes, fallen trees, and power outage. The morning after the storm passed, Rosemary gathered youth and adults to help bail water out of neighborhood houses and clean up the streets from branches and debris. She then organized women to help cook rice and feed over 100 people who did not have access to food. Several families who had lost their roofs to the wind, slept at her house and in the driveway for the first night.
The next morning Rosemary traveled by van to Leyte with Pastor Michael and Faith Aboganda with gasoline for generators, water, food, and medicine. Their mission was to find missionaries Marty & Linda Martin, and to check on the Bible College in Dulag that our mission teams work with. All people were found safe, but with major damage to buildings making them mostly uninhabitable. Power is estimated to be out in these areas for at least one year. Supplies were left, prayers were shared, and the team made the 12 hour journey back to Northern Samar to reload for a second trip back into the city of Tacloban. Two jeepneys full of food, clean water, and medical supplies were almost turned away as they reached Tacloban due to city quarantine, but were allowed in as a humanitarian mission
As I write this I feel blessed to have a presence in a place that is filled with despair. I also have a heavy heart for what is before the people who live in these islands, knowing that poverty will make it all the more difficult for them to rebuild. This is an opportunity for Godís healing and hope to speak into a place full of hopelessness. I am confident that there will be many first-hand opportunities to help rebuild Leyte as we demonstrate the love of Jesus through meeting so many physical needs.
For more information use this link to USA Today News Coverage on Typhoon Haiyan