Philippines

It’s been just over three months since Typhoon Haiyan devastated the Philippines and there are signs of hope and restoration for the people affected by this disaster.

Bingawan, in the Panay Islands, is a territory that has not received much help. The Philippine Bible Society sent the following report from the area.

Hope and restoration

Shiny new tin roofs, fresh timber hammered into place, healthy green shoots growing from damaged banana trees: these were the sights that greeted us as we visited parts of the Panay Islands recently. And as we spent time in the community, we realised that although much work still needs to be done, these were outward signs of the hope and healing that people are experiencing as they rebuild their homes and lives.

Laden with 1,000 bags of food and 1,500 Bibles in the local language, Hiligaynon, our Bible Society staff and a team of volunteers from local churches visited Bingawan, 72km from Iloilo City. Although it isn’t close to the coast, it also experienced the fury of the super typhoon as it howled through the town, tearing off roofs and smashing wooden houses. The area was cut off for days by uprooted trees blocking roads and damaging power lines.

Despite the suffering here, we were only the second group to bring aid to this area and were warmly welcomed by residents.

Our Bible was damaged

“We are so grateful for the food and Bible – our Bible was damaged in the storm,” Lolinda Grabanso, a 49-year-old mother of six, told us. “I can’t read it myself, because my eyes are weak, but my children used to read the Bible out loud every night and they’ll now be able to do that again.

“When the typhoon came, we were so frightened, especially as we had a new-born baby in the house. We hid under our wooden bed and prayed as the roof was blown off and our kitchen flattened. Praise God, none of us was hurt. We are happy to be alive and are rebuilding our lives. We are planning to raise pigs to help us get by and send the kids to school.”

Philippines - Francis with his new Bible

Francis with his new Bible

Francis Geromiano, 16, is still shocked at the close call his family experienced when the storm hit.

“When the storm was just starting, my mother asked me to put my two-year-old sister into her cradle for her nap. Her cradle hung from the roof beams in our house. I was doing that when my father came in and stopped me, saying we were going to my grandfather’s house to shelter, as his house is made of stone.

If we hadn’t left…

“Barely 15 minutes later, from the safety of my grandfather’s house, we saw the roof of our house fly off, and the walls fall over. I couldn’t believe it. If we hadn’t left, my sister would have been carried off with the roof.”

Francis and his family managed to save their Bible despite their house being destroyed, but he was very happy to get another copy which he will share with his friends.

“The Bible has really given me great strength during this hard time. God’s promises kept me going through the fear, and they also sustain me now, as we start over. I want to use this Bible to share God’s promises with my friends so they can be prepared for when they have to face hard times, too.”

Thank you to all our supporters for their prayers and generous financial gifts for the Emergency Appeal for the Philippines.

Please pray for the on-going work to bring help and hope to communities affected by Typhoon Haiyan.