Monday, November 11th, 2013
Our niece, Mary, works at the Bethel International School in Tacloban City on the Island of Leyte in the Philippines. Tacloban was at the point of Typhoon Haiyan’s landfall this past weekend.
We prayed and waited as the typhoon approached and then hit and swept its way through the city and across the island. Then we prayed and waited for word from or about Mary and her colleagues. (Photo: Mary on right, with some fellow teachers.)
In roundabout ways, Mary’s parents received the good news that Mary and her coworkers are safe. We are giving thanks for that. But all around them is destruction: ”All school buildings heavily damaged and most things used to make a school function lost. Hopes for miraculous reopening in January.”
News reports and pictures & pleas from survivors give us here some small idea of how bleak the devastation is and how vast the death toll–10,000 or more. That is Mary’s neighborhood, her city, her friends, her school children. I’m imagining Mary doing everything she can to help her neighbors, but with few resources.
There is a way we can help Mary and her coworkers be Jesus’ hands there. Bethel International School is part of Converge Philippines, an affiliate of Converge Worldwide, our denomination. Converge has created the Tacloban/Philippines Typhoon Fund.
I am thankful there are numerous excellent relief organizations. But I commend the Converge Typhoon Fund in particular this time, because “funds will be disbursed by our Philippines missionaries in consultation with Converge Philippines president Ildefonso Alfafara,” and “churches and pastors there are already delivering food, water and other vital supplies. Our co-laborers are well positioned to serve as relief centers and deliver a gospel message.” Mary is one of those co-laborers.
We continue to pray and wait, to hear how God is working.
Lord, please protect Mary’s emotions, her spirit, her health, her strength, and her faith.
Fear not, I am with thee, O be not dismayed,
For I am thy God and will still give thee aid;
I’ll strengthen and help thee, and cause thee to stand
Upheld by My righteous, omnipotent hand.
When through the deep waters I call thee to go,
The rivers of woe shall not thee overflow;
For I will be with thee, thy troubles to bless,
And sanctify to thee thy deepest distress.
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