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When Disaster Hits Hard, Christians Take up the Torch

Photo-credit--Fragile-Oasis-via-Photopin,-CC

By Mission Network News, November 11, 2013

Philippines (MNN) ― Every Christian knows they’re supposed to help the poor and needy. It is amazing to see this principle put into action during disaster. Typhoon Haiyan has certainly highlighted some needy people. For some Christians, however, the matter is personal.

This is true for Compassion International. “We’ve got over 66,000 kids in our child development centers throughout the Philippines, so about 340 church partner projects in the entire country of the Philippines.” Tim Glenn of Compassion reports, “We think probably 99 or 100 of those church projects have been affected or impacted in some way, which could mean as many as 19,000 kids.” That makes up about one-third of the children that Compassion works with in the country.

Compassion is still in assessment mode. Because of this, numbers are uncertain. The teams located on the islands will start the process of assessment with their church partners. “There could be as many as 200 kids per church, so they’re going out and they’re going family by family by family, and trying to track people down,” says Glenn. The process will be long and difficult, since many members will have left without leaving any information behind.

As of Monday, no deaths have been reported among their sponsored children. Compassion will be contacting the children’s sponsors directly if there is any news about their child.

As to the extent of the damage, Glenn says it varies depending on location. “We’re hearing everything from flooding and heavy rains to entire little communities wiped out.” Definite numbers of deaths are unavailable as many bodies have not been counted, and evacuees are unaccounted for. Glenn hopes the number to be much less than the current estimate of 10,000.

Travel between islands is difficult, and communication is wiped out in many areas. But Compassion is on the move to aid who they can, using resources from their disaster relief fund. “We’re already providing some emergency food for affected families. In some of the regions, [our team] is already handing out emergency food, and that’s what that disaster relief fund provides. It provides food, it provides temporary shelter, some clean water, some clothing if they need it, some basic necessities.”

The deadly wake of the hurricane has provided an opportunity to share the Gospel. Compassion has 339 church partners in the Philippines alone. Glenn explains: “Our mission is to allow the church to be the church in their community, to provide what we can for that church to be the minister, the healer, the provider for the folks in their community. We’re inviting people to come into the church, learn about the Gospel, learn about the love of God, and learn how we’ve been called as Christians to care for the poor and do exactly this: to minister, to serve, and to disciple.”

To continue this work, Compassion sincerely needs your help replenishing their funds. Online contributions to their disaster relief fund can be made here.

Glenn also asks that you be in prayer for communication to be reestablished to their teams as well as the children and families involved in their program. Pray that they would be able to track down the families in need and provide them with the supplies necessary for survival.

Photo credit: Fragile Oasis via Photopin, CC

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