We were pleased to respond to the crisis in the Philippines with a prayer vigil on Thursday, November 14, and a collection drive to pack some “balikbayan boxes” to send. Forty-one people showed up to light a candle on behalf of a relative or friend or group. We also offered prayers, read Psalms, and sang hymns. It was a time to express concern, sadness, and grief, but also an opportunity to look to God as the source of healing, strength, and hope.
Many thanks to those of you who brought blankets, canned goods, clothing, toiletries, toys, and other supplies. On pledge Sunday, November 17 after church, many stayed to pack the boxes, and seal and address them. The following Monday, twelve boxes were delivered to LBC and Atlas shipping companies, who will then send them to the Red Cross for distribution. As I write this article there are two other boxes fully packed and some loose supplies that can fill another two or three. We hope to finish this phase of the project to meet the deadline for the free shipping on November 23.
In checking with various church members who are either from the Leyte region, or whose relatives were living in that area, all that I have been in communications with have indicated that their relatives survived. However, most of their homes have been destroyed. Most of them lost everything. It is our hope to continue to collect supplies and send boxes. In the coming weeks, we hope to get the names of relatives in that region along with addresses to ship more boxes. This time we will send the boxes directly to the families who are related to our church. We will let you know specifics soon.
We are in no way limiting your desire to help. But you can continue to donate money toward the general relief effort. In our particular case, we request that you designate your financial donation to the United Methodist Committee on Relief (UMCOR). If you give your monetary donation to us either on Sunday mornings or through the church office, we will make sure that it reaches that agency for proper use.
We also want to keep our options open with ideas of further ways to raise funds or to gather supplies. If you have an idea for a project, please let us know. Let us all continue to be instruments for God’s indwelling spirit to give and to serve.
— Pastor Bob