Dear Friends, Below is our update from the Philippines, including another journey with a typhoon and another story of God’s loving-kindness. Thank you so much for praying for me and for us here in Asia. Thank you for partnering with me in the work here.
Last November, 2013, I was scouting for potential places to live and minister here in the Philippines when Typhoon Yolanda hit Cebu City where I was visiting. It also leveled Tocloban, Leyte, the island just north of me and was all over the world news as the worst typhoon in history. I remember the helpless feeling as a visitor in a hotel with limited funds, no transport and no way to communicate for a day or so.
This past month saw the eye of Typhoon Glenda come over Tagaytay City, the place where I did choose to move and minister. It was a category 3 storm and since the eye went right over the city, we were hit hard. My place flooded 2 or 3 inches from the roof, but I’m grateful that there was no damage outside of the ceiling. I spent hours trying to push water out the door to stay ahead of the water pouring into my place from the roof. What a relief when the rain calmed.
I went out after the worst of the storm with the car, dodging downed power lines and trees. I offered people rides and got snacks for emergency crews. 7/11 was the only thing opened with generators. The whole city was without power and much of it was without water for days.
We went through the local neighborhood governments to find the families who lost their homes, mostly the poorest people with poorly constructed homes. We distributed food to 21 families, have been praying with people and are looking at providing some tin to those who are in desperate need for help to rebuild a shelter.
As dark and difficult as these things are, the hardship that exists in the world offers an opportunity for the goodness and greatness of God to break in. His Kingdom reigns, even when trees, buildings and power lines fall. That has been one of the biggest stories of the month from here. I can emphatically say that I would be happy to not see any more typhoons. (Picture above from local news)
Annie’s Story Annie (name changed) works at the local cell phone shop. I have had the chance to get to know her and her workmates as I go there for my cell and internet needs. Annie came from another island to work and help support her family. She works 7 days per week, never has a day off and works for ridiculously low wages. She lives in a boarding house with her workmates and sends what money she makes home to support her family. Her focus on making sure her family is okay is inspiring. Her work situation is difficult for me to deal with.
Annie asked for two days off to travel back to her province to visit her family because it was her brother’s birthday. The trip would be a bus ride, a ferry ride to another island and yet another bus ride to her place. It would be a long trip for just a few hours to celebrate her brother’s birthday. The manager refused to give her the time off, so she texted me understandably sad and distressed. I simply told her about the goodness of Jesus. “He loves us. So let’s ask Him to open a way for you to go and visit your family.” We asked, and the next morning I received a text saying that she was on the way to her home island. The manager had changed her mind. She texted a smiley face with a little tear drop and said, “God is good.” She returned home, exhausted but happy. I was happy for her.
Jesus is certainly not a genie in a bottle, answering our every want according to our own wills. But I am convinced He longs to demonstrate His goodness and greatness; to break into the melancholy and darkness of life and to reveal the heart of the Father to the world. Just as I was, I pray you are reminded of that as you read this story and even as you deal with life in your part of the world.
LIFE ON THE FIELD
Life is almost back to normal from the typhoon. I am spending most of my time meeting people from all walks of life and building relationships. Please pray that these relationships would lead to Jesus, where His Kingdom would be demonstrated and the Gospel declared so that people might meet the One Who changes everything. Thank you for praying for us here, for standing with us and for partnering in the work of the Gospel in Asia. Thank you also for your consistent gifts that allow us to continue the work here. Love you all so much!
– David Gilliam
ANNOUNCEMENT: Please check out our new website! www.encountergeneration.com email@example.com Note: Internet is not great here. It is even worse since the typhoon. So it is hard to upload videos or Skype. However, I can email. Thank you for staying in touch.