Responding to the typhoon's devastation
By Francis Daytec
(Editor’s note: Francis Daytec has been a Climbing For Christ member since March 2008. He is a medical missionary living with his wife Leah and their young children on the island of Mindoro, Philippines. He served with C4C Philippines on Mission: Philippines 2013 in June in Tacadang. The Daytecs endured Typhoon Haiyan and Francis responded to the relief effort that devastated provinces south and east of where they live. He sent this report to supporters and friends of his Living Grace Ministry on Dec. 4, 2013. We were blessed to receive it.)
I felt sad as I walked knee-deep in the water away from the island to board the boat that would take me to the New Tribes Mission helicopter, which would take me to the airport to catch my scheduled flight to Manila. I was with a Medical Ambassadors Philippines (MAP) team helping provide relief and medical care to one of the most neglected areas affected by typhoon Haiyan/Yolanda: the remote islands in northern Palawan inhabited mostly by the indigenous Tagbanua tribe. I wanted to stay longer to help, but God is in control. I will be back, God-willing, with the next waves of relief efforts.
Dr. Francis providing medical assistance to a survivor.
I just returned to our home after 10 days of serving with MAP in the most devastated areas affected by the typhoon. A group of several nurses and three other doctors and I started out in Tacloban, handing out relief goods, offering hope, giving free medical care for six days. We treated so many broken bodies and loved so many broken hearts. The strength of the survivors is unbelievable.
We then traveled by plane to Coron, Palawan to another devastated region. This time I was the only doctor, accompanied by two nurses. There we saw and treated more than 375 patients in three days, and were touched by the resilient spirits of the survivors.
After the storm: the destruction, above; people waiting for relief aid, below, and temporary homes for those who lost everything, bottom. (Photos by Francis Daytec)
Amidst the devastation, I witnessed true hope arise in people. This was made possible by your efforts; our friends, family and even strangers, who were led to pray and give. Your prayers and giving enabled us and our partners to provide relief in the form of food, clothing, shelter, medical care and, most importantly, hope through counseling and Spiritual care in the remote and most neglected areas affected by the typhoon.
I have seen the destruction and heard the stories that affirm God’s faithfulness. In Tacloban, a particular church building withstood the rushing water and 200 mph winds. This church became a refuge, not just for survivors but for rescuers and relief operators and volunteers. One member of the fellowship gathering in this church narrated how amazingly his wooden house remained standing as he watched from his window the buildings being flattened by the wind and rushing water. Having his family and house saved from the typhoon gave him the privilege to serve those who are serving his hometown— by driving volunteers to where they are needed on his motorbike, which also was amazingly saved without a scratch after a coconut tree fell on it.
Amid the losses, there is hope. In the town of Tanauan, an elderly man wished to have a Bible. His Bible was washed out with all of his other belongings in the rushing water. He said he was afraid, but the incoming huge waves brought him courage: “I was amazed. I saw the power of God as the towering waves were coming in. Courage overcame my fears and made me praise and give thanks to God. We are now rebuilding our house from whatever debris was left. I want to continue reading and memorizing God’s written Word. I believe the time is nearing when we need to have the Word of God in our hearts, where no storm can get rid of it.”
All around me was devastation like I have never seen before: bodies still being dug out of the rubble, whole towns decimated and flattened, entire families washed away, many children who had lost both parents, parents who lost all their children. The agony and brokenness is hard to put into words. One mother who came to be medically checked told how she had given birth to twin boys the day before the typhoon hit. When the waves came, they swept her baby boys away, and she has never found their bodies.
We are so grateful for the prayers and the very generous financial gifts that many of you gave for the relief effort in these places. With your help, we were able to channel more than $6,000 to MAP to go directly to giving care and helping to love and serve the survivors. Thank you! There is much work left to be done, and we are not finished. We will continue going back and serving until life begins to be rebuilt.
Keep praying. We are blessed by you!