Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Howdy Loved Ones! Kids and I are in Cebu right now. We arrived last Thur. Lou had to see the orthodontist. Richard came over from Leyte to see us for about 22 hours. He arrived Fri. morning, and had to take a boat back Sat. morning, that was the only ticket back he could get. We crammed as much as we could into the day. Changing money for relief goods, purchasing relief goods, lunching with family, visiting with Ken Wilkey in the afternoon, talking about plans for the relief work, and even squeezed in a dinner at T.G.I. Fridays to celebrate the girls' birthdays early. Richard was so tired, I know he spent most of the day looking dazed and a little overwhelmed to be back in our world. He said his heart and soul was just weary. They had a ton of pictures and videos they made, that were heartbreaking to see. I will try and attach a few. I am trying to get this short report done while I have good internet here in the city. Richard is supposed to return to Cebu tomorrow and drive home with us. The dump truck is coming back too. We have ordered 60- 100lb bags of rice in Negros. We will be packing relief goods Monday night and Tues., and getting more tools and carpenters together, and they will head back to Leyte. The two chainsaws and operators have their work cut out for them. Trees are down everywhere. Richard says it looks like a wasteland for about 70 kilometers between Ormoc and Naval. Trees were either snapped in half or completely blown over. Whole coconut plantations are just flattened. We hope to use the chainsaws to help as many as we can make lumber from the downed trees to use to rebuild their houses. Food is still a great need, but so is shelter. People need a way to get out of the sun, since there are no trees left for shade, and a way to get out of the rains that still come almost daily. The first thing I noticed Fri. morning when Richard was walking up to the door was how dark he was...I have never seen his arms and face so tanned. After the next round of relief goods are handed out, the dump truck will come back to Cebu to load up as much G.I. sheets, nails, and hammers as we can find. We are so thankful for so many of you who have helped by sending funds. Austin Avenue Church of Christ has been trying to send the funds to us as soon as they are arriving there. It has all been such a blessing. We have used about $10,000 so far on buying & shipping relief goods (rice, sardines, noodles, crackers, cookies, shampoo, soap, lollipops, & candy), and salaries for chainsaw operators, carpenters, and electrician. The electrician and carpenter were able to make a special cable for charging cell phones and rechargeable lights thru an inverter and car battery. They could charge a 100 cell phones at a time. People were so thankful they could charge their phones and try to make calls out to family. Richard has pictures of people walking all over the hill looking for signal for the cell phones. Communication has been a great struggle for all of us. We hope in the coming days that will get better. I will try and sit down with Richard when we get home tomorrow or Tuesday and get more information out of him. I know he plans to set up a base camp where he and the guys can work from. The Baybay and Bato churches will help store materials and goods. I don't think there are a lot of repairs that have to be done to those two church building. The Naval church lost most of it's roof, but it is still standing strong and being used by many people who lost their homes. Richard wants to try and get the roof fixed so more people can stay there that need to. A list is being made of members whose homes were badly damaged and who needs help. We will try our best to help as many as we can. I wish I could attach my favorite video here...it is of children swinging on broken hanging down coconut palm branches...their laughter and joy is the best. In the midst of so much destruction, and heartache, the Filipino people still smile and press on. They are so grateful for the help. They even try their best to help us as we help them. Richard got permission to use one Catholic chapel to set up a station for people to charge phones and lights, and the village leaders came out to help control the crowd. Richard is trying his best to take food relief to areas that have not received any help or assistance. The presence of the U.S. military here is amazing. They are making a huge impact-they are flying in goods by helicopter and dropping them off in remote areas that no one has been able to reach. We can see big ships here in the bay in Cebu and so many big air force airplanes landing in Mactan unloading supplies. Getting back and forth from Cebu to Leyte is still a struggle by boat. Richard just called me, that he was a chance passenger on a WESAM boat tonight from Ormoc. I hope to pick him up in a few hours. Then hopefully, he can get a good night sleep and we can meet with Wilkey again in the morning to talk about plans before we head home to Negros. I know this is short and rambling...I am sorry. I just wanted to let you all know what is going on and be sure I could send this from Cebu while the internet is better than what we have in Calag Calag. Thank you so much for all your prayers and support over the past two weeks. Our Christian brothers and sisters from around the world are making such a great impact in the lives of people who are struggling to survive and start over in Leyte, Cebu, and other places. Please continue to pray for those suffering and those who are trying to help serve and meet needs. We know God will not give us more than we can bear, and He will provide a way for us stand up and do what is best for those hurting and struggling. In Him, Becky and Richard

No comments:

Post a Comment