Philippines (MNN) — While many churches around the world were celebrating Christmas, Christians in parts of the Philippines were just thankful to be alive. Tropical Storm Washi's flash flood has claimed more than 1,000 lives. Churches in the region are now questioning their future.
Pastor Jay Rosales with Gospel Church in Iligan City, Mindanao, says he and his family were right in the middle of the flash flood that ripped through the city. Pastor Rosales says in his church, "Two people are dead. 10 are missing [and presumed dead]. Two of them are children."
What about his 17-year-old church? Rosales says water reached the top of his two-story church building, and "it's totally wiped out. There's nothing left except the posts. All the things inside the church, and the parsonage — everything is entirely gone."
Rosales is concerned about the future of his church. "The government will no longer allow us to rebuild it in that place. Our problem today is: where are we going to put our church because we don't really have the money to build a church. Secondly, getting a place from the city would be [too expensive]."
Rosales says 30 church families have been displaced, and he asks for prayer as he reaches out in Jesus' name. "It's hard to ease their pain. I just embrace them and cry with them. I don't know what words to use. It's really hard. I share [with them] that God is in control and that He is amazing because God did not allow us to die in this incident."
Aid has been slow in getting to the region. However, reports indicate that it's now reaching the affected areas.
Compassion International is raising $500,000 to help their program in the region. Seven Compassion children died, and 21 are still missing. You can help Compassion by clicking here. Food for the Hungry is also committing to help an evacuation center which is serving 3,000 people. Click here to help Food for the Hungry's work.