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February 2014: Presence in Troubled Times

Written by Matthew Fehse
February 1, 2014

Febrero 2014 en español

February 2014 Bulletin Insert Format

God will guide you continually, and satisfy your needs in parched places, and make your bones strong; and you shall be like a watered garden, like a spring of water, whose waters never fail.
Isaiah 58:11

In December I travelled to work with partners who suffered damages from Typhoon Haiyan (known as Typhoon Yolanda in the Philippines). Bethany Hospital, founded by The United Church of Christ Philippines (UCCP), a Global Ministries partner, suffered significant damages. Flooding surges reached the top of the second floor destroying most of the equipment and toppling the emergency generator - rendering the hospital ineffective. In spite of this, Bethany continues to serve, offering free medicine and consultations for walk-in patients.

Bethany opened its doors to Doctors Without Borders and a French medical team from Medecins San Frontieres. A water filtration system was installed and free water given to all the people who came from all corners to get barrels filled. It was really great. Bethany is also a site for field coordination and a gathering point for pastors from congregations around the area.

Bethany frequently sends out teams to surrounding communities for trauma healing and stress debriefing. For children, there are games, one in particular called "Balay (Home), Baguio (Storm), Bata (Children)." It is similar to musical chairs and children run around screaming and giggling, but when someone calls out "Baguio!" they have to change homes made up of two other children facing one another holding hands for a roof. This is followed by children sharing how they feel about changing homes because of the storm.  Adults find singing and small group discussion places to process feelings and hopes while talking about what to do with the immediate future.

There is a tremendous amount of work ahead, but God's love is present in the laughter, in the distribution of food, in the community of people who offer support, like you. Please continue to pray and support Global Ministries and the UCCP efforts here. This road we walk with our partner will be a very long one.

Matthew Fehse, Global Mission Intern, serves with the human rights desk of the United Church of Christ in the Philippines and has been working on relief efforts around Typhoon Haiyan.

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