Bringing God’s Hope
to Typhoon Victims
“Pls. pray for us. Flood reached ceiling. We’re in 2nd & 3rd floors of neighbor’s house. Wasn’t able to save much just few clothes, kids’ snacks.”
This was the plea for help sent via SMS by PBS Translation Officer-in-charge Sheila Romualdo to the PBS family at the height of the flooding brought about by Typhoon Ondoy on September 26. Sheila and her husband Remir, their two young sons, and her parents sought refuge at a neighbor’s house shortly before 10-15 feet of floodwaters ravaged their one-storey house in San Mateo, Rizal.
General Secretary Nora Lucero (middle) Marketing Manager Perry Cartera (left) and HRD Supervisor Marivic Velasco (right) inspect the damage inflicted by Typhoon Ondoy in the houses of PBS staff members. The muddied curtains on the left show the level of the floodwaters while the picture on the right shows furniture, appliances, clothes and other items rendered useless by the residual mud.
Sheila and Marketing Manager Perry Cartera were among the 10 staff members of the Bible Society who were seriously affected by the deluge. Both their families are presently staying at the PBS Guesthouse as their homes were damaged and buried in thick mud left by the floodwaters. Despite the toll on property, however, we praise God that no lives were lost. The PBS family donated food and other supplies to affected staff members as well as to 50 other families in the Cainta area, another stricken area where Rod Parambita, PBS collector resides. Other employees, meanwhile, lent a hand in cleaning and making the houses habitable again.
In the spirit of Bayanihan and the May They Be One Bible Campaign – we distributed nearly 5,000 copies of our calamity portion through our partners who are also doing relief distribution: World Vision, Philippine Relief and Development Services (PHILRADS), National Council of Churches in the Philippines (NCCP), Archdiocese of Manila, Rivers of Living Water Catholic Community, and the Malacanang Palace.
The 34-page booklet entitled Bagyo, Sunog, Lindol, Landslide….Aaaaahhh!!! (Typhoon, Fire, Earthquake, Landslide) is based on the tract produced by the General Secretary Nora Lucero (middle) Marketing Manager Perry Cartera (left) and HRD Supervisor Marivic Velasco (right) inspect the damage inflicted by Typhoon Ondoy in the houses of PBS staff members. The muddied curtains on the left show the level of the floodwaters while the picture on the right shows furniture, appliances, clothes and other items rendered useless by the residual mud.
American Bible Society after 9/11. It is an easy-to-read collection of verses and brief reflections that deals with questions asked by calamity victims about their situation while giving assurance that in the midst of such calamities God IS our hope, refuge, strength and source of help.
(L-R) PBS staff members bring relief goods to co-workers and help in the cleaning up of their ravaged homes. The Bible Society also distributed cooked food, Bibles and Calamity selections to other affected communities
Latest damage reports on Ondoy (international name: Ketsana) list: 335 persons dead with numerous others still missing, 10,203 homes destroyed, 629,466 families displaced, 3.1 million people affected and about 10.45 billion pesos worth of damage to infrastructure and agriculture.
With the country still reeling from the devastation wrought by Ondoy, another typhoon struck a week after and aggravated the situation. Typhoon Pepeng (international name: Parma), which made three landfalls on Northern Philippines, left several towns isolated due to floods and landslides, leaving 193 people dead and damage to crops and infrastructure estimated at over 5 billion pesos. In the remaining three months of 2009, four to six more cyclones are yet expected to enter the Philippine Area of Responsibility (PAR).
The whole country is now in a “state of calamity.” In the face of incredible odds, God’s challenge for us is to “rise up and rebuild” – to participate in the long and arduous process of rehabilitation and recovery of devastated lives, communities and economies. The havoc caused by these typhoons is so massive that need for relief is overwhelming. After the immediate need for food, clothing, medicines and temporary shelter, come the bigger task of rebuilding homes, schools, roads and other infrastructure.
For us at PBS, the mission of bringing God’s Word to the nation is unchanged, but the task has become more urgent. As the country struggles to stand again, our people need God’s Word, more than ever, to hold on to, to give hope, and sustain us in the arduous time of rebuilding ahead. Like Nehemiah, we will rebuild the walls our city (country) but this time, we pray that it will be founded on and fortified by God’s Word.
We have received reports of Bibles washed away from homes and churches in government relocation communities in Marikina, Malolos and Marilao, where we earlier distributed “Light to the Home” (Ilaw sa Tahanan) Bibles. Some of the churches and communities which were first to avail of the May They Be One Bibles in Pasig and Pasay were also flooded.
We appeal for your help so that we can print and distribute 50,000 copies of the Calamity portion and 50,000 copies of Bibles to the families affected by Typhoons Ondoy and Pepeng. Total cost will be about US$111,000 or PhP5.2million.
The Bibles will be distributed to our partner churches in the most affected areas in Metro Manila, Rizal, Central and Northern Luzon for use as “pew Bibles” and in Bible Study groups. We will able to replace only a portion of washed away/lost Bibles but rest assured this will go to the people with direst need for God’s Word.
For your donations, please deposit to our bank accounts:
Account name: Philippine Bible Society
UCPB (UN Ave. Branch) Account Number: 128-101338-1 (for Peso donations)
BPI (Sta. Mesa Branch) Account Number: 3904-0027-46 (for Dollar donations)
Swift code for Dollar account: BOPIPHMM
For online Credit Card donations visit: www.bible.org.ph
May we be one in praying and helping rebuild our typhoon-affected country and in giving our devastated countrymen a fresh start.
Nora G. Lucero
Philippine Bible Society