Typhoon hits churches hard in the Philippines

By December 5, 2006

Philippines (MNN) — Typhoon Durian struck the Philippines late last week and the death toll is expected to rise to 600. The typhoon packing winds of 165 miles per hour, is the fourth to hit the area located southeast of Manila.

SEND International has worked in the region for years. SEND’s Frank Severn says, “Our missionaries are all safe, we thank the Lord for that. One of the areas we worked at for many years, the small Island called Marinduque, was directly hit by the typhoon. And, I just got a report this morning that said 80-percent of all the houses are without roofs.”

That affects more than 100,000 people on that island alone.

Severn says the national church has completely taken over their work on Marinduqe. He says one of their ministries was hit hard. “One of the Bible camps has been completely destroyed. The specific request I got was for the camp itself, because they were planning to have a Christmas retreat and that’s impossible now. I’m sure church ministries have been tremendously affected.”

While it’s too early to know all the needs, Severn tells us a few of them. “The camp will need to be rebuilt and I’m sure many of the churches will face structural damage in their churches, as well as believers without homes.”

Economically, the island is facing a huge problem, says Severn. “The coconut crop, which is really the primary economy of the island, as been destroyed, and it takes about five years for them to renew, after a typhoon like this.” Which could also affect locally funded work.

Severn is asking Christians to pray for believers as they press on on the island. “The island has been quite resistant to the Gospel in the past, but in the last 10 years they’ve seen significant growth and it’s totally in the hands of the national church. Pray that God would even use this to open men’s hearts to the Gospel.”

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