From Our President
Rebuilding after Typhoon Haiyan
Dear Faithful Partners,
Blessings to you in the New Year. As we begin 2014 we look forward to what the Lord will do to glorify His name in all the earth – from the humblest rescue of an orphaned child to a great move of His Spirit in a previously unreached area.
On November 8, 2013, the strongest recorded storm to reach land, Typhoon Haiyan, slammed into the central provinces of the Philippine Islands. Ten million people were affected by the devastation with over 5,000 Filipinos dead and the rest left homeless or displaced. The challenge now is to rebuild.
The personal cost of Typhoon Haiyan is indefinable, but can be seen in the accounts we have received by telephone and emails. A child evangelism worker, Regie, in Tacloban, the storm’s epicenter, told of the terror she and her family experienced along with two other families who had come to their house for shelter. The rising waters sent them upstairs, but the waters followed. Then the roof blew off and the rain and wind pounded them. The eight children clung to their parents or grasped hold of a rope to keep from being snatched away by the fierce winds. Meanwhile the water downstairs continued to rise. After four terrifying hours, the storm abated. They were soaked and exhausted, but everyone had survived. Several more hours passed before they were able to check on extended family members who lived nearby.
Regie’s four year-old nephew, Gaivan, had been swept away by the torrent. They found his body on the roof of a destroyed house nearby and constructed a little makeshift coffin from pieces of wood debris and buried him.
Regie and her husband are moving forward now and preparing to resume classes for those who remain from among the 900 children in their after-school Bible clubs. All of the children’s materials they use were lost in the storm, but she is determined to be there, ready to receive returning students and offer comfort. For a while instead of the normal curriculum, she will be listening, praying and counseling the traumatized children.
When asked how she could explain the terrible losses from a believer’s perspective, Regie said, “God has a purpose. He is a sovereign God. He is still in control of everything, no matter what. It is still hard to believe that this event has happened, but I choose to believe God and trust His promises.”
Regie said she wanted us to, “Pray that the people in Tacloban will learn that in all circumstances they can trust God.”
We do not believe God purposely brought this catastrophic storm to the Filipino people, but we are assured of His resourcefulness and believe that many whose hearts have been hard toward the Lord in the past will reach out to the everlasting God, the Lord, the Creator of the ends of the earth for sustenance at this time (801DIS-01). The people in this area of the Philippines have generally been resistant to the gospel. We are believing that through the efforts of Christ’s earthly ambassadors, hundreds of churches will be planted in the aftermath.
We continue to remind you of the plight of the refugees from Syria because God has used this tragic man-made event to make inroads into Islam. After years of prayer, believers in Syria and surrounding countries are seeing unprecedented numbers of Muslims who have fled from the conflict believe Christ Jesus for their eternal salvation. Collectively there are now more than a million Muslim refugees packed into Syrian border countries. Pray for ministry workers who, by God’s grace, are doing their best to show the Way, the Truth, and the Life to hundreds of thousands of Muslim refugees (414EHCS-01).
Many of the missionaries Christian Aid assists in the central Philippines and Syria possess little more material belonging than the survivors they help. Their service in spite of their own loss stands as a light and a witness of God in places where devastation seeks to reign: They will be called oaks of righteousness, a planting of the LORD for the display of His splendor (Isaiah 61:3c)
God uses difficult times to display His strength and glory. Believers who serve God with ministries assisted by Christian Aid are a “display of His splendor.”
And, as always, we are grateful to you for supporting our work on behalf of native missionaries who are making the gospel of Jesus Christ known among all nations.
In the sustaining love of Christ Jesus,
Click here to see past letters from the President