Joy and I traveled to the island of Leyte last December 16th to personally bring relief goods and donations to two families that we personally know who were badly hit by Super Typhoon Haiyan. One was the family of Gil Ballon, one of the guys that we work very closely with in our ministry in reaching out to the tribal people in Mindanao. Gil’s family lives in Tanauan, Leyte which is around 45 minutes from Tacloban City. Gil lost his mother and brother during the storm surge (tsunami-like flood) in the height of the storm.
Their house was completely washed away and only the flooring of the house remained. Their fishpond, where they raised tilapia and milk-fish (their livelihood,) was completely washed away. The younger brother, Gabriel was hit by a flying roofing material during the storm and had a big wound in his stomach. He had to walk from his town of Tanauan to Tacloban City for four hours hoping to get free tetanus injection for his wound. There was nothing there so he had to walk back home for another four hours.
He was finally able to get the tetanus shots by Mercy Hospital, a floating hospital boat from the United States which was docked in Dulag, Leyte, two towns from where he was. The doctors there stitched up his wound and he was given strong antibiotics to heal the infection brought about by the wound. It was already four days after the storm that he was treated so infection had set in. He praises God that he’s alive.
Gil’s mother’s body has not been found but they were able to identify the body of his brother, Gary the same day that we arrived in Gil’s place. They buried him in the cemetery and made a tombstone for him. Gil and his family also continue to pray for finances so they can start their fishpond again. Their fishpond is the only livelihood that they they’ve done and that has been with their family for years.
The other family that we visited with in Leyte was the family of Pastor Lemuel Matiga. He pastors an Assembly of God Church in Dulag, Leyte. His church and parsonage were also damaged by Typhoon Haiyan. They didn’t have the storm surge like what Gil Ballon and his family went through but the church was dam-aged by the strong winds brought about by Typhoon Haiyan.
A lot of coconut trees fell on the church and the whole roof and the side posts fell down. They also continue to pray for God’s provision so they can continue to rebuild their church. Some do-nations have come in to buy wood and other building materials. They are praying that God would continue to provide so their church will be finished and will stand again.
Right now, they put a tarpaulin on their roof so they can live in the parsonage. They continue to have regular Sunday and mid-week services under the tarpaulin roof. When it rains, it leaks but this has not hindered the people from attending Sunday services, prayer meetings or bible studies.
Please continue to pray for Pastor Lemuel and his family and that their church will be finished.
***A note from Jeremy-(Website Admin)
I am providing a link to the You Tube video taken of Gil’s family’s property where the house once stood. I included it in the larger video about the typhoon, but I thought some might also want to see just that video.