Pastors and members gather outside Light & Life Christian Fellowship in Balion, Philippines, which was rebuilt with help from the Bishops’ Crisis Response Fund. (Photo courtesy of the Free Methodist Church of the Philippines)
In the months since Typhoon Haiyan — one of the largest storms in recorded history — struck Southeast Asia last November and displaced millions of people, the international news coverage has nearly disappeared but the rebuilding continues. Relief and rebuilding efforts have received a significant boost from more than $145,000 in donations through the Bishops’ Crisis Response Fund.
“Thank you for the incredible outpouring of support for those suffering from an unusual year of typhoons and flooding in the Philippines and Vietnam,” Free Methodist Church – USA Bishop Matthew Thomas said. “Free Methodists throughout the U.S. have showered and continue to shower their support, which has been more than a relief to those suffering. It has been a gift from God through the hands of His people.”
Donations are being used to rebuild or restore buildings at five locations in the Philippines. Relief funds also have been directed to church members affected by flooding.
“We have been back four times in the super-typhoon-hit areas visiting and distributing relief goods to members and some community people as well,” Bishop Jim Tuan said. “Our FM churches in the area were able to rebuild the church buildings partially, but the parsonages are still in the process. Two of our pastors’ families in Ormoc and Tacloban are still staying in the corner of the church.”
Pastors Gerry and Jan Coates of the Moundford FMC in Decatur, Ill., were in Butuan, Philippines, with several pastors from the Central Visayas region when Typhoon Haiyan hit.
“We prayed with them through the hours when they were unable to communicate with their families and unsure if they were alive. We took note of their deep faith in Christ, which held firm through the storm,” the couple said in a joint statement.
Contributions may be made online at fmcusa.org/bfund or mailed to the Bishops’ Crisis Response Fund, 770 N. High School Road, Indianapolis, IN 46214.0