A brief update here from Manila as it approaches midnight on what should be our last night in the city before launching into the south. We had to delay a day to better coordinate transportation to the disaster area, as well as acquire supplies and get some paperwork in line for the mission, but all systems seem go and tomorrow morning we head in.
We will be going by ground all the way to Eastern Samar region, which was one of the hardest hit areas from the typhoon. The missionary here has warmly housed us and incorporated us into their compassion ministry planning and ongoing relief efforts, and directed us to this region to work with good contacts in the area that are in need of help for their devastated communities. The local group here has done typhoon relief in the past, but they were very intrigued with the water purification idea and saw the potential in reducing their logistic requirements to truck in water to affected areas by converting what is there in the villages to usable, potable water. They said several areas have lost their water plants or pump stations, and are relying on contaminated ground wells for their water. Some of the locals report an increase in diarrheal illness amongst people in there areas too, undoubtedly tied to the dirty wells. Pray God might keep the door open so we could go and help them have clean water again, as well as share the Gospel with those we seek to go and serve.
We will be in various cities in Eastern Samar, including a trip to Guuian at the request of a man here who has family in the city, and he said his house and everything in the city was demolished and gone. He said that city also was dependent on water plants and has only dirty well water now, as the plants were wiped out. Following this, we will go to central Leyte and meet up with a relief truck being sent in by the church here from Cebu (taking a RORO to Oromac and then driving in the rest of the way) loaded with thousands of pounds of rice, sardines, biscuits and other needed food items. We will stay after the aid drop and work with affected villages to try and help them get some water purification stations going.
We plan to restock and regroup in Cebu before heading back into Leyte to render more aid, and are planning to try and airfreight in many more filter units if we can, hoping that time is not too short to get them there. The needs here are staggering, and I can already see we will quickly deplete our resources even in Eastern Samar, much less central Leyte. Hopefully we can get the resupply here in time to make a difference. God knows.
Thank you to everyone for their prayers and support, it means a lot to us out here knowing there are many churches and individuals praying for us everyday. It truly is a spiritual endeavor and needs help from the Lord. Providing clean water here is vital, but even more so is the pure water of the Word that can quench the thirst that mere water cannot touch. Thanks again to all, updates from here on will probably be much shorter as we leave the wifi access and go into the interior.