Manila, Philippines: (Connie writing – Todd adding photos – team effort 🙂 ) This week we have had many new experiences. From the monsoon rains the first part of the week, dropping an inch of rain per hour over a 24 hour time period, to helping pack items to bring food and clean water to many families hit hard by the severe flooding and to top it off, a Jesus Film showing to keep the focus on Jesus and what He suffered for each one of us.
When it rains an inch of rain an hour, most everything stops. This is similar to a severe snow storm that many in the US and other areas of the world face from time to time. The government gave the mandate that everyone should stay home unless you were an emergency responder or disaster relief worker. In words that most Northern American kids would understand – a “snow day.” For those not affected so severely, it is a day to stay home and get things done, but if you happen to live along a river or creek, or in a low lying area, you hope and pray that you have a home left at the end of the day.
The monsoon type rains persisted for 3 days and nights, I was beginning to have thoughts about Noah and his family with the constant pounding rain on the roof! I don’t know if I could have handled 40 days and nights of it! The quiet when the rains let up some on Wednesday was like a breath of fresh air. Todd and I worked in the office and at the apartment, wherever we could find a good internet connection as most of our work is done online. Some days saw us going between the two several times. Cables and flooding don’t make for great internet connections, and with 60% of the city flooded there are multiple areas where the cables pass that were affected.
We have helped this week with putting together bags of food in conjunction with Nazarene Compassionate Ministries and Nazarene Disaster Response. The first packing session was completed and a team including Todd took all of the supplies to the area to distribute them along with a group that helped the community not only with food and water but emotional and spiritual needs as well. Treating the whole person, not just the immediate need for food and water – but the bigger need of Jesus! When Todd got home he talked about the counseling and support that was provided to the little children. They were given papers and guided in expressing their emotions through coloring and telling their story.
The next packing session had more volunteer packers and they called in the district leaders to help transport the supplies. This was an education for me! I didn’t know you could fit that many bags of rice and food on a motorcycle or what we call a tri-cycle, which is basically a motorcycle with a side car.
They loaded them up with smiles on their faces, knowing what a difference the supplies were going to make for the people of their districts and communities. What a joy to be a part of something like this.
I was able to get to know one of the volunteer boys as we visited throughout the hours we were packing. He lives in the Barangay (smallest administrative district of a town, similar to a suburb or inner city neighborhood) next to the Seminary. I recognized him as being in the worship team at the dedication of the community center expansion and health clinic / pharmacy that we attended a few weeks before. He was telling me that they had installed railings along the paths by the creek to keep from falling into the rushing water. I was very happy to hear that.
He told me that the water had come up to about a foot from the path, but that they were all safe and it was going down by then. I really enjoyed the interaction with him and hearing his dream to be a pastor and that he is in his second year of college in Theological Studies. He is 17 years old!
Last Friday night Todd was privileged to go with a team to an area several hours south of Manila, to assist a couple from Michigan who had come to the Philippine on a work and witness team from the Eastern Michigan District (Church of the Nazarene) and stayed a couple extra weeks. The wife is a Filapina (born in the Philippines). They had a vision to stay to help the people of her home community with food, the Jesus Film and discipleship follow-up. While visiting with them, and hearing their story about how the trip came together and how they felt impressed upon to show the Jesus Film when they came, even though they had heard that it had been shown in that area before with very little response, I could sense that God had a plan.
Prior to the showing of the Jesus Film, food was prepared for approximately 200 people, and when they had finished serving the meal, they realized they had fed well over 400!
I love how the Lord multiplied the bread and the soup! Families in the area had been pre-identified and more than 200 relief bags were prepared for those specific families. 200 Bibles were also distributed. More than 150 people came forward at the end of the night to express a desire to make a decision to follow Christ. The couple, John and Lilia, are staying in the area for another week to help with followup. Local pastors have developed a plan for additional followup with the hope of planting a church in this area.
We continue to update, review, modify and publish new communications in various forms. From E-Newsletters that go out, to Website development, Blogs, Facebook and Twitter. We do our best to keep everyone informed in a timely manner. This does take hours and hours as we are learning new media and dealing with an unreliable internet connection. Your feedback is always welcome, as are personal emails filling us in on your lives and ministries.
The Asia-Pacific “Around the Region News” a weekly electronic newsletter is a ministry of the Asia-Pacific World Mission Communications office, of which Todd serves as the coordinator. You can see this news at: http://www.asiapacificnazarene.org
Thank you so much for your continued prayers, partnership, and encouragement!
Yours and His,
Connie and Todd