Philippines (MNN) — A string of extreme weather events has left the Philippines in a sorry state — a typhoon in December followed by heavy rains, flooding, and landslides in January, and an earthquake last month. Earlier this year, we asked for your help raising funds for relief aid given out through World Mission. Greg Kelley of World Mission spoke to us this week to update us on the situation and remind us why they do what they do.
He says, “Things actually are going quite well, considering what they endured. The flash floods of January 2017, it was literally one-in-a-thousand-year event. So, it was pretty devastating and affected thousands and thousands of families.”
World Mission’s national partner operates in some of the areas that were affected, so a response chain was quickly set up to distribute relief aid. In addition to food and temporary shelter, this partner distributed The Treasure, an audio Bible.
“The people were so grateful. I mean, if you can imagine, so many of the people lost everything. Every worldly possession they have, these floods… it took it from them. And there were a number of people who lost their lives as well.”
Kelley says the outpouring in response to the sudden disaster was great.
“It was beautiful to see the Body of Christ in the Philippines respond and be a blessing and just be the hands and feet of Jesus to those people.”
The flooding was followed by an earthquake in February which also took lives and caused destruction. Aftershocks went on for weeks afterwards. Kelley says it delayed the rebuilding progress as more buildings were damaged and businesses closed.
“There are a lot of people even today who are still sleeping outside in fear of their homes and the buildings they reside in falling down. So that’s really where our efforts are at now.”
World Mission continues to provide temporary shelters to families who have lost their homes. They are also helping gather food resources.
“But things are improving,” Kelley says.
Generous giving, timely response, a major impact
Emergency funds enable ministries to react immediately when crisis strikes. For World Mission, stepping into a trial like this is a matter of urgency.
Kelley says, “For the Church to engage in those moments when there’s crisis creates that much more of an opportunity for that hardened heart to receive the Good News. So that’s why anytime World Mission, when we do a response, a humanitarian response, we always include a Gospel presentation.”
This is true not only in the Philippines but in countries in the 10/40 Window as well. The Gospel presentation, which is usually done by distributing the audio Bible called The Treasure, let’s people know the motivation behind the blessing. These recorded Bibles are in the native tongue of the recipient and also have discipleship training recorded on them.
“We can’t just preach Jesus and not be there in their most desperate time of need. We have to also through our actions demonstrate that we love them without strings attached.”
So, how can you be part of important relief work that demonstrates Christ’s love? There are a couple of ways.
First, ask God to use this ministry to impact people in a big way — that they would embrace the Gospel and also have their physical needs met as well.
And, Kelley urges, pray for the national workers all around the world who are ministering to people and distributing Treasures.
“These people are literally working around the clock, running from one community to the next. They’re tireless, they’re fearless, they’ll go into places where there’s great persecution. But we need to be praying for them because they are precious, precious people who are giving up, literally they’re sacrificing everything.”