Typhoon Haiyan ripped through the central islands of the Philippines last week causing unprecedented devastation. Many of you have asked how you can help. Our denomination, the Presbyterian Church in America (PCA), has a Global Disaster Response Team and they have launched into action. Please pray for the Philippines and those on the front lines serving the suffering, especially our brothers and sisters in Christ.
Also consider financially supporting the work of our church’s global disaster response team. Checks can be made to MTW, designation #93995, or simply indicate "Philippine typhoon" in the memo line and mail to MTW, PO Box 116284, Atlanta, GA 30308-6284. You can also donate online.
Below is an excerpt from Paul Kooistra, Coordinator of the PCA’s Mission to the World, updating us on the work of the Global Disaster Response Team:
An Advanced Needs Assessment Team will travel Sunday, arriving Monday to meet two Filipino pastors and the president of Presbyterian Theological Seminary in Manila. There is enough infrastructure support to make travel possible and relatively safe, so we are thankful that our work can now begin. Help is arriving in Tacloban, the area hardest hit, but the outlying areas are not receiving as much assistance and our tentative plan is to focus our efforts there. There are about 10 Presbyterian churches affected by the storm, and we plan to work through them to minister to the people. This is a fast-moving situation, so plans may change and we covet your prayers for wisdom, logistical support, and safety as we plan our next steps.
I have an encouraging story to tell you about the body of Christ uniting to bring mercy to the needy. The president of Presbyterian Theological Seminary in Manila, Azriel Azarcon, shared with us that he and the students were greatly moved by the devastation. They had begun putting together money for plywood to send to a church in the affected area; they also were spending time in prayer because they wanted to do more, but they were students with few resources. Overnight, Dr. Azarcon said he received an email from our director of Global Disaster Response, offering help and a way for the students to assist in the effort. He read the email in the opening sermon for the seminary the next day. He then asked the students, "Well, how should I respond?" They jumped up and shouted "YES"! The students were elated that there was away that they could assist in a broader effort. You, the members of the PCA, could be the answer to another's prayers for help amid great suffering and devastation.
Paul Kooistra Coordinator, Mission to the World