By Shannon Baker, BCM/D National Correspondent
BEAR, Del.—At least two pastors affiliated with the Baptist Convention of Maryland/Delaware have family members affected by Typhoon Haiyan in the Philippines: Jessie Arce of Healing Water Bible Church International in Bear, Del., and James Martinez of Agape Baptist Church in Washington, D.C.
“One of our member’s family was greatly affected during the typhoon,” shared Arce, in an email to Ellen Udovich, BCM/D team strategist for evangelism and missions. “Praise God that only houses and properties are destroyed.”
Out of the 30 houses in their community, Roxas, Capiz, only two remain but “not without damage, roof has been torn down, there may be deaths too,” he explained.
Arce said it will take up to less than two months before they can have electricity. “While Tacloban is the main city, yet other areas are greatly affected too. We are now directly in touch with our members’ loved ones and will be assisting them and their community in the near future.”
Healing Water will form a committee to discuss how they can minister not just physically and materially but also spiritually to the storm’s victims.
“We are praying that we can do it not just on short term but also long term with the purpose of sharing the Gospel to our members’ loved ones and to their community, even thinking if possible of starting a church in the area,” Arce said, noting they are also thinking of using this as an opportunity to be connected to the Filipino community group in their area in Delaware for relational evangelism.
Likewise, James Martinez and his wife Virginia anxiously continue to watch the news about the Filipinos who were touched by the typhoon. He has relatives still unaccounted for and cannot make contact due to the loss of power in the region.
In the meantime, his brother, who lives in Central Luzon in the Philippines, plans to trek down to the storm area to check on their status.
Martinez also has members in his church whose families were also affected by the terrible storm. Thankfully, one member’s mother has been found and is said to be okay. Another family has lost their home, but are otherwise healthy.
As Martinez has waited, D.C.’s WUSA-Channel 9 and NBC Channel 4, as well as the Christian radio station, 91.9 FM, have interviewed him to see how everyone has fared.
His church is taking donations of clothes, nonperishable food items, medicine and financial gifts to send at a later date to families in the Philippines.
Agape is jointly affiliated with the Baptist Convention of Maryland/Delaware and the D.C. Baptist Convention, as well as the Montgomery Baptist Association. Agape presently meets at Wisconsin Baptist Church on Sundays at 1 p.m. Contact Martinez at (202) 966-2259 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Contact Arce at Healing Water at (302) 373-9365 or email@example.com.
Baptist Global Response (BGR) is coordinating Southern Baptist international relief efforts. In this first stage of response, BGR is deploying only Southern Baptist Disaster Relief (SBDR) Tier 1 volunteer teams trained to meet Sphere Project international disaster response standards. The first team departed from the U.S. on Nov. 13 to join with others already in the storm zone to assist people with immediate survival. Trained Disaster Assistance Response Teams will deploy next week to focus on making detailed assessments. Once these teams have done their work and developed a long-range disaster response strategy, BGR anticipates that many Southern Baptist volunteers will be needed for at least six months.
Udovich urges churches not to send supplies unless they have a specific partner in country to distribute them. The cost to ship them is far too high, in-country logistics remain difficult and specific needs on the ground are not yet known. The best ways Southern Baptists can help are to pray and to give funds directly to Baptist Global Response designated for Typhoon Haiyan Response.
Donate online at https://gobgr.org/donate or mail in donation by check made payable to Baptist Global Response to: Baptist Global Response, 402 BNA Drive, Suite 411, Nashville, TN 37217. Stay connected for more at https://bcmd.org/philippinestyphoon.