Following the devastating typhoon that hit the Philippines in November 2013, Agape Europe and our humanitarian aid partner GAiN Germany worked with members of their Network to provide immediate relief aid. Today, some 18 months later, GAiN is still involved in restoring lives and property destroyed by the storm. This report is from a recent follow-up trip lead by GAiN Australia.
Back in February, 13 people left Australia for 10 days of ministry on the Philippine island of Cebu. The plan called for seven mobile clinics in and around Bogo City, which is still recovering from Typhoon Haiyan.
The venture was a success: 1,553 received medical help, 168 people received dental care and 468 people made faith decisions for Jesus.
However, what the individual team members learned about faith is just as important as the results they achieved.
Jiji Skariah, the Global Aid Network local ministry leader, tells the story. “Two days before departure we learned that all of the doctors who had agreed to help us were no longer available.”
The excuses included problems with work scheduling, personal emergencies and unscheduled leave. “However, we believed if this mission was God's will, then He would make our path straight and provide for our needs at just the right time,” Jiji declared confidently.
When the team arrived in Cebu they were told that the government hospital could provide four doctors who could work two at a time.
Each GAiN mission trip usually includes a children's program. While the parents are seeing a doctor, volunteers organise games, sing songs and share stories from the Bible.
“But we didn't have any people who were trained to work with children,” Jiji reported. “We made this a matter of prayer, because on our third day we were scheduled to meet in a playground.”
The team could not see a solution. However, when the day arrived, six volunteers from a church in Hong Kong were waiting to help.
“Would it surprise you,” Jiji exclaimed, “that all six of them were trained children's workers looking for an opportunity to serve the Lord?”
“We literally saw the hand of God working ahead of our plans,” he added.
On the same day, a tourist from Scotland visited the program. He started talking to a counsellor by the side of the road and then made an appointment to see a doctor, despite not being sick.
When he reached the counselling station he confessed he had no idea why he was there. The counsellor explained God's love and plan for his life and offered to pray with him. The young man accepted Christ as his own personal saviour.
As he left he said, “Now I know why I am here.”
Upon reflection Jiji commented, “God perfectly places people in the right places at the right time to bring about His eternal purpose.”
On the journey home, some of the team members stopped over in Tacolaban on the island of Leyte. On 8 November 2013 the city was largely destroyed by Typhoon Haiyan; 6,000 people died and 200,000 were made homeless when 4 metre waves and 300 kilometre per hour wind gusts smashed through people's homes.
The devastation was complete,” a shaken Jiji reported.
So far GAiN has built 75 houses which are now occupied by grateful families. However, there are no schools for their children.
“We are committed to building two classrooms for the local elementary school,” Jiji states. “It is a step of faith because we will have to raise the funds before we begin construction in a couple of months.”
Despite the devastation, God is still working in the Philippines. Grace Driven Church in Bogo City (Cebu) is following up the people who have faith decisions for Jesus. Campus Crusade for Christ International wants every disciple to also become a disciple-maker to make an impact for God's kingdom.
Join us in praying for GAiN’s work around the globe.
Find out more about their international network by visiting the GAiN Germany website.
Read more about the efforts of GAiN Australia.
Article written by: Jiji Skariah, Geoffrey Johnstone
Edited by: Suanlee Campbell, Tracy König
Used with permission.
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