I found this post I had written but never got around to posting. I think it captures the way things were pretty well, so Ill post it now, even though its a little outdated :-).
I felt pretty discouraged at the start of this week. It was hard to feel helpless as people around us were hungry and homeless and we had no way of getting aid to them. My heart was heavy as we started to get news of the great need and could see the gravity of the situation. So we prayed for God to guide us and started where we could.
Over the past 2 years we (with our partner Claudi) have been putting away a monthly amount from our support to go towards an Agutaynen fund. The idea was that we would have this money extra to help people with medical or in emergencies. So our first step was to spend what we had on food and get that to the people as soon as possible. But how? Weather was bad and boats were not able to sail. We had only one big ferry travelling to Cuyo once a week since the others were broken and literally no way to get food fast.
As the week progressed we got more bad reports from the islands and realised the seriousness of the situation. More than 4800 people homeless on just 2 islands (not to mention the other 3 islands). Seaweed farms destroyed and damage estimated at 2 billion pesos. So not only have they lost homes, they have lost their ability to earn an income.
But as the bad news came in God was at work! Our NTM pilot told is about funds coming in to pay for relief flights and from there things began to snowball. As I type this we have 4 NTM pilots here helping us fly relief goods in. One is flying the helicopter and landing on the islands giving them food directly! 2 MAF pilots are assisting us with being on the ground, maintaining the planes, coordinating etc. Fellow church planting missionary friends are helping load the planes, get fuel to the hangar, others in different areas help get fuel for the planes to us, Pastor Dave on Cuyo is coordinating the getting of food relief from the airport to the town where the church is and volunteers are making up food packages there. The police are driving the relief goods the the pier so some can be sent by boat.
We are purchasing goods, packaging them into smaller packages so they can just hand them to families, coordinating everything with pilots, mayors, gov. officials and people on islands. Funds have been coming in so that we have enough to send up in the planes and we can continue to help everyday so far. The government has even helped us with fuel to fly the planes!!
We are tired but so very blessed through what God is doing! He has indeed taken the “fish and bread” and multiplied it to feed the 5000. He has made the impossible possible and I am in awe of the magnitude of His Grace. As I think of the impact this food will make on the destitute I am overwhelmed. And as I contemplate the impact this could make to pave the way for the Gospel I am brought to tears. No one knows what tomorrow holds, but I know for sure that I can trust Him who holds tomorrow.
I started the week discouraged and helpless because that is what I am – on my own. But I end this week triumphant because of who HE is.
Please continue to pray for us. This devistation has no short term solution. We cannot continue to help them inevitably. Please pray for wisdom to know how to help best. Please pray for peoples eyes to be opened to see Christ through this and for their hearts to be softened for the truth. Pray for safety of our pilots as they fly long flights and land on difficult terrain. Pray for all of us as we have long days and are sometimes overwhelmed by the magnitude of all of this. But mostly join us in Praising Him for His compassion, His provision, His Grace and His love.