On December 16, 2021, Typhoon Odette made landfall in the Philippines as a Category 5 super storm and made its way through several islands over the next few days, evacuating and quarantining thousands of people in its path. Fishermen scurried to shore and tied up their boats, flights were canceled, festivals were postponed.
The day after Odette hit the Philippines, we received this email from a member of Student Ministry Outreach (SMO), one of our partners in the Philippines: “It was a super strong wind that caused destruction to most of the structures, houses and facilities within Bacolod City, and Negros Occidental including our very own facility at the Promised Land. There is a scarce drinking water supply and total electricity shutdown because of the broken electrical posts. There’s flooding due to the continued rain but thank God by now it had subsided. Even our crops were greatly damaged: Bananas, vegetables, and four fruit-bearing Jackfruit trees were also uprooted. Thank God our farm animals (Goats, hogs, chicken & ducks) were all safe after we rescued them from their destroyed houses.” Despite many church members having their houses damaged or destroyed, we were thankful to hear that SMO and the church community were preserved from loss of life.
Throughout the days following Typhoon Odette, we gathered information from SMO and two other ministries that we partner with there: Breadnet and God is Our Help Ministry. We were in communication with them on how best to respond to this natural disaster. In the end, Word & Deed agreed to send a total of $50,000 USD for emergency aid, to help with the repair of school buildings and homes, and to aid in the construction of very basic one-room houses to replace homes in the community that were destroyed. Volunteers from the local church went to work right away to help construct these homes. The volunteers will not only build and repair houses for these people, but will share the Gospel message, proclaiming an all-powerful God who is mightier than any storm that will ever hit their city.
At the end of the email that we received from SMO the day after the storm, our partner ended with these fitting words: “The sun now shines, and the Lord is granting us another new day and hope. Please pray for us. On Christ, the solid rock we stand!”