The Philippines

An “endless path of misery” – MSNBC

Survivors are desperate for food as debris slows aid – Fox News

Every hour the victims’ desperation grows as aid slow to reach hardest hit areas – CBS

These are just some of the headlines many of us are seeing daily in connection to the Super Typhoon Haiyan.  The storm, one of the strongest to ever hit the Philippines, has devastated families and left many of them struggling to survive.  But among the tragedy is hope – through God’s love.

The United Church of Christ in the Philippines, a partner of PC(USA), is standing with the people – helping them cope with the loss of loved ones, homes, businesses.

“I feel that this tragedy must not deter us from our calling as Christians, whose commitment to serve is inspired by the giver of life himself, Jesus Christ,” Bishop Reuel Norman O. Marigza, the General Secretary of the UCCP, wrote to those within the church. “These are trying days and challenging times as well. Let us not falter nor shirk from that calling to serve, for this means also serving God, the greatest giver of all.”

The Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) works in partnership with UCCP, which was formed in 1948.   The church has long been involved in theological education and leadership development, evangelism and new church development, social service and development, young adult and women ministries, justice and peace, security and reconciliation.

Now that mission work has shifted – to one of aid and support during this difficult time.

A Song of Lament and Unending Hope
by Rebecca Lawson

People dying, children crying—where have all the flowers gone?

Somehow we must carry on, while our souls have stopped to mourn.

We must rise up, lift our eyes up—we must not stay here too long.

Our resolve will keep us strong, our struggle is reborn.

Poor ones in a world of pain, rich ones set on selfish gain-- how can our HOPE remain UNSHAKEN BY THE STORM?

Give us courage, grant us wisdom… use our hands to help and heal.

Through our acts Your LOVE revealed to people bruised and torn.

Comfort send us, caring mend us—raise Your children from despair Bound as people called to share, our struggle is reborn!

Mission co-worker Rebecca Lawson is in Manila where she normally works in the UCCP office in the area of Human Rights. She is now focusing her efforts on collaborating with the National Council of Churches in the Philippines sorting supplies being sent to Leyte, one of the hardest hit areas.

Meanwhile, in Dumaguete City on Negros Island, mission co-worker Cobbie Palm and his wife, Dessa, are in close contact with the UCCP General Secretary and in an assessment mode. Because the UCCP has lost so much, they are working to figure what rebuilding looks like in the months to come. Cobbie Palm is to be part of the team to assess and formulate the plan to address the needs of the many over the long term.  

It’s something Presbyterians are good at – the long term recovery needs of all God’s people.

“This tragedy no matter how harrowing beckons our Church towards greater unity to serve the marginalized,” Bishop Marigza said of the challenges ahead. “As a faith community, we locate ourselves with the poor and the powerless and the voiceless.”

You can take part from afar.  Presbyterian Disaster Assistance (PDA) has established an account to receive contributions to relief efforts following the devastating typhoon that struck the Philippines Nov. 8. Donors may also text PDA to 20222 on their smartphones to give $10 (standard SMS rates may apply).

Learn more as we walk with those who are in need in the Philippines. Read the rest of Bishop Marigza’s message to the church and his assessment of the current situation in the Philippines.