An update from the Philippines from Dan Sem

“As we drive back from a long day on the east Samar coast, I see out the window a scene of sweeping destruction more reminiscent of the bombed-out streets of Iraq than anything else I have ever seen. Town after town of gutted homes, concrete walls crumbled in a heap, only foundations swept clean left in some places, silent reminders of the families swept away as well who once filled these homes. Fields of palm trees, thousands stripped bare or broke in half, as if hit by a blast; mountains of trash and debris fill the roads and yards even weeks after the storm. That is just a portion of what I see.

There is also the pastor whose church building was leveled, yet he stays on in a tent and refuses to leave the flock. There is a teacher whose school keeps holding class in a library with half the floor collapsed and one of four walls intact, because that is the best surviving building. There are those diligently cutting boards from all the felled trees with a chainsaw, to help rebuild the whole village. God gives glimmers of hope amidst an otherwise bleak and hopeless landscape. The need is desperate and the work seemingly without end. All we can do is start where God puts us and try to be faithful in the little we can do. Pray for the Philippines, for us and others out here trying to help.”


Added Perspective from Chrystal Sem, Dan’s wife back home in Corpus Christi, Tx

“Thankful for this team and their willingness to go help. Before Dan left, I kept thinking about James 1:27 “Religion that is pure and undefiled before God, the Father, is this: to visit orphans and widows in their affliction and to keep oneself unstained from the world.” And it struck me, visit them in their affliction. It has a cost to it; it’s not visiting them on just their birthdays or holidays, but when things are hard and rough. And there are now many widows and orphans in the Philippines. May God use this for His glory. In a separate text he also asked for prayer for strength and stamina for the team. They have just under 2 weeks left there and they are also almost out of water filters. We were able to order more and they are being shipped to a church in Cebu. Lastly, here are some quotes from Twitter (it is the easiest thing for Dan to update to) that he sent out:

“Found a group of 10 Christians-the house they had met in washed away, along with their Bibles. They were happy for even the one Bible we gave.”

“This whole island region has been without power since the typhoon hit; life stops after sundown until the roosters rouse everyone at 4am”

“What can you do but pray when a woman tells you in tears her house is gone and her neighbors all died. Mourn with those who mourn”

“Met a pastor who survived the typhoon storm surge w family by clinging to rafters, toddler fell in water 3 times & he jumped in to rescue her”

In Christ,

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