True Love Waits Philippines will be directly helping one specific ministry that has been in Tacloban since the 90s. Tacloban Bible Community and Pastor Paul Varberg has been using our True Love Waits Philippines discipleship material for almost 10 years. We have a relationship with this ministry and TBC will be strategic in the spiritual needs of the community in the days ahead.
Paul has lived in the Philippines for many years, experienced numerous typhoons but nothing like Yolanda which downed hundreds of electric posts knocking out the power for what may turn into months. Cell towers are also down making communications difficult. Paul managed to get one email out through a government relief service detailing the information contained in this post. Paul did write that staff and families of Bethel staff are fine.
The city of Tacloban is 8 kilometers from the school but Yolanda did not spare the staff apartments, the school or the outdoor court.
Paul wrote "When the storm started at 6 a.m. I gathered the two Americanvolunteer teachers and the two Chinese teachers and we positioned ourselves in front of the big window in the attic and in our bedrooms because, as usual in Super Typhoons, the wind can blow water around the edges of the glass. But after about thirty minutes of mopping up water leakage the storm ramped up to the next level. The windows the second floor were blown in and shattered. Fortunately, my back was to the window when that happened and God protected me for the glass missiles that were blasted across the room, other than a few small cuts on my head and legs I am OK. The girls came screaming down from the attic because they said the roof is lifting. Sure enough it was blown off piece by piece until very little remained. We then sought refuge in first floor bathrooms. Later when the wind shifted to the other side of the house, I went into our room to try and rescue my camera, laptop, and hard drives, I found that half of our king size bed was broken and thrown out the window. Margie's desk is gone, too. I have only found a few pieces of it. Pictures from our many photo albums were either floating or plastered to the wall."
The storm arrived at low tide, the storm surge in downtown Tacloban raised the sea level above the roof of the MacDonald's restaurant. Many died and food and other goods on the first floor of downtown stores flooded.
Please pray for Paul and the people of Tacloban that they will adjust to life without electricity, limited water, and almost no communication. For the school to continue God will need to supply funds to repair the buildings and to replace a lot of books, projectors, microphones, sounds systems, computers, furniture and other things that were damaged. Pray that donations will come in soon so that they will be able to operate the school by January.
The biggest problem here is that everyone is effected. All the police men in town lost their homes, most of the carpenters lost their homes, most of the hardware stores lost their roofs. This will make repairs even more difficult because so much of the city is destroyed.
I am texting Paul each day to pray for him and encourage him. It has been a challenge to find a way to get supplies. Their church was destroyed and the 600 members who live in Tacloban also need help. The church was located in the town of Tacloban. The school is outside of the town along with the house where Paul is staying. Paul is burdened with helping his people. We want to help Paul so that he can be the one to help others. In addition to the church families, there are 288 students of their school and of course Paul has a passion to bring hope to the parents and children of the school.
Last night at 10pm Paul text me: "Relief agencies moved a couple of portable water purification trucks today and I was able to go get five jugs filled. I hope those will continue to operate. A friend traveled to a neighboring town today and brought me back some fresh fish and some dried fish.
The rain just started to pour and I am on the first floor of a house with no roof. But at least my house gives me more protection from the rain than many people have here tonight. We have been actively using True Love Waits seminars for several years now.
The wind just started to blow and the rain re-soaked a bunch of books and pictures that I had been drying. I look forward to seeing you soon, Good night."
So pray for remember Paul in your prayers. Consider how you would feel if your town was gone in one storm. It really brings to my mind "Love others in the way that you are concerned about your own needs". That is True Love; thinking highly of others and less of ourselves. In True Love Waits we teach it everyday.
Posted by Derek Ross, TLW Director