A new video from the LCMS Office of International Mission (to watch, click here) shows how a $25,000 emergency grant from LCMS World Relief and Human Care is being used to help survivors of severe flooding on the Philippine island of Mindanao.
The flooding — caused by a Dec. 17 tropical storm — affected more than 120,000 people, many of whom are still in need of food, water and shelter, according to LCMS missionaries.
The 10-minute video is hosted by LCMS missionary Sean Harlow — the only resident LCMS missionary serving in the Philippines — and shows the contents of one of nearly 3,000 relief kits that are being assembled by Lutherans in the Philippines for distribution to flood victims.
Each of the kits includes a frying pan, a cooking pot, cups, utensils, plates, rice, noodles, coffee, water, medicine, a pail, a kettle and and a printed “introduction to the Lutheran church and the Christian faith,” according to Harlow.
“The church has really put in a lot of time and energy, strategically wanting to help people with their physical needs,” Harlow says in the video, “but they’re taking the opportunity to share their faith and to share God’s love through this catastrophe.”
The video includes comments from a local pastor of The Lutheran Church in the Philippines (LCP), LCP members who are helping in the relief effort, and LCP President Rev. James Cerdeñola, who describes the church body’s response and thanks the LCMS for its support.
Cerdeñola says it was painful to see “how disastrous the flash flood was” when he arrived in Mindanao on Christmas. “I have seen homes being destroyed, … subdivisions where people lived and now [are] nothing but mud.”
He was “so happy,” he said, when he heard about the initial grant from LCMS World Relief and Human Care. The relief items the grant has provided are appreciated, he said.
“It really was a big comfort to the people who lost members of their families, who lost their homes, who lost almost everything,” Cerdeñola says in the video. The people, he said, “are very grateful.”
He adds that he is “so happy that our pastors, our people who are helping serve and give this relief, always redirect these people: ‘Don’t thank us, thank God.’ “
He also expresses his appreciation to “all the members of The Lutheran Church–Missouri Synod. Thank you so much for your love, thank you so much for your care, and especially thank you so much for all the gifts that you’ve given us, so that through these gifts, and even in times of disaster like this, we could witness [and] show mercy and serve other people.”
To make a donation for Lutheran relief efforts in the Philippines:
Any funds not needed for this relief effort will be used for other disaster-response purposes as determined by LCMS World Relief and Human Care. Your gift is tax-deductible to the extent permitted by law.
Posted Dec. 30, 2011