A resident of the village of Andap in Mindanao lights a candle near a huge boulder where the house of his parents used to be. (Image courtesy of OMI)
Philippines (MNN) ― Typhoon Bopha, known locally as Pablo, was the world's deadliest disaster in 2012.
It struck the Philippines at dawn on December 4, and the 500 kilometer-wide (311 miles) storm destroyed everything in its path. Over 1,000 people were killed by Bopha, and 834 are still missing. Government reports say nearly 3,000 people were injured and more than 800,000 are displaced.
Operation Mobilization has an active presence in the Philippines, and OM leaders visited recently to assess the damage. They went to a few heavily-affected areas in Mindanao and found the most devastation at the village of Andap.
No fewer than 500 homes had been wiped out by flooding and boulders from a nearby mountain. Villagers said the area used to be full of greens such as coconut and banana trees, but all that remained were stones and rocks.
"I chanced to chat with a few older people who were lighting a candle near a huge boulder," says Jun, the leader of OM Philippines. "I was told that that was the exact place where the house of his parents had been built, and his parents could not be found anymore.
"Someone said that maybe only 30% of the residents in the area had escaped the deluge."
So far, OM is helping eight churches and a few households in small ways. They've provided 22 water filters, medicine, and the hope of Christ, but they could reach more with your support.
Before the typhoon, Andap exported bananas to neighboring countries. When the storm arrived in December and destroyed these income-generating plants, it seemed like all hope was lost.
But the OM team saw new banana plants growing a month after Bopha/Pablo wreaked havoc.
"We returned to Manila with a mental picture of the new banana shoots beside the dead trunks--an encouragement that there is life after tragic loss," Jun said. "It is amazing to see the body of Christ responding and shining Christ's light in the devastated area.
"Pray that we can extend more help."
Pray for open doors to share the hope of Christ with disaster victims. Pray that many would come to know Jesus as they experience His love through others.
OM Philippines began as a children's outreach in a slum area in 2008. Although children's ministry in partnership with local churches remains its main focus, OM Philippines quickly grew to include youth missions discipleship, missions training and exposure, educational programs, and women's ministry.
You can learn more about OM Philippines by clicking here.