Baptist Global Response
By Caroline Anderson
CEBU CITY, Philippines — Southern Baptist relief workers and their partners in the Philippines spent all day Nov. 18 packing relief kits for the inhabitants of Gibitngil Island.
Typhoon Haiyan swept over Gibitngil Island on Nov. 7, leaving the community battered and without easy access to relief supplies.
Students from a local university and church members of the International Southern Baptist Church of Cebu assembled the kits in the church’s sanctuary.
Resources provided by Global Hunger Relief (formerly the World Hunger Fund) were used to purchase the rice, canned meat, sugar, powdered milk, ramen noodles and Nescafe for the kits. These supplies are enough food for a five-member household for one week.
Alexis Mendoza was one of 12 students from the Philippines Baptist Theological Seminary in Baguio City, Luzon, who arrived in Cebu City at 3 a.m. to help with the aid efforts.
Mendoza is studying missiology at the seminary. She said their team will provide counseling for typhoon survivors.
Mendoza and her classmates helped pack relief kits before boarding a boat to Leyte Island.
“Pray over each bag,” IMB missionary Dottie Smith told the volunteers.
Susan Stokeld, a BGR project director, added, “It will help those who have nothing.”
Dwain Carter, from Freshwater Church in Jefferson City, Mo., and Michael Beasley, from Trimble Baptist Church in Trimble, Mo., traveled with BGR partner Adore Sabido to Gibitngil on Nov. 16 and 17 to assess needs.
Carter and Beasley came as part of BGR's rapid assistance team.
Carter, who is the disaster relief strategist for the Missouri Baptist Convention, said 449 families on the island are in need of water and food.
Right now, the island’s only water source is rainwater.
“It’s a place that nobody else is going,” Ben Wolf said. Wolf and his wife, Pam, are the directors for BGR work in the Asia Rim. “We want to touch the fringes where no one else has gone.”
After building rapport with the village leader, plans were put in place for the relief kits and, in the future, volunteer teams to help the community rebuild.
Carter said all of the roofs in the village, except for the village leader’s roof, were gone. The school on the island took a beating.
Carter said the village leader held them at arm’s length at first.
“What if we bring enough food for one meal for everyone on the island?” Carter asked the village leader.
Carter said the leader’s eyes widened and his heart softened.
After touring the island and seeing the battered school building, Carter asked the school’s principal if a volunteer team would be helpful in rebuilding the school.
“She was overjoyed that we would come and work,” Carter said. “What a way to reach the entire island -- and show them Christ’s love.”
Distribution of the relief kits to Gibitngil Island was scheduled for Nov. 20.
How relief kits can help a family
Food Packet – Feeds a family of 5 for 1 week - $15
Sack of Rice – Feeds a family of 5 for about 8 weeks - 50 kilograms (about 110 lbs) - $50
Tarpaulin – Extra heavy duty - $50
Drinking Water – Enough for a family of 5 for 1.5 days - 4 one-gallon jugs - $4.65 per family.
Learn more about how you can help storm survivors by visiting BGR's Typhoon Haiyan project page.