Friday, October 2, 2009

Philippines flooding claims members

I know the First Presidency Message Is Out for the month of October, but I can't help but share, and dedicate space here for these stories. When we think of our circumstances here in the States, we sometimes think our situations are worse than many many others across the world. May the Dear Lord bless all these people. Let us keep them... in our prayers.

Many members homeless after flooding caused by typhoon Ketsana
Published: Thursday, Oct. 1, 2009

Flooding triggered by typhoon Ketsana that devastated Manila and surrounding areas Sept. 26 left 12 Church members reportedly among the dead and another 14 missing, according to a Church statement issued Sept. 30.
Photo by Pasig Philippines Stake President Cirilo Laceste
Flood waters surround the Pasig Philippines Stake center. Devastating floods in the Manila, Philippines, area were the result of tropical storm Ketsana on Sept. 26.
Among residents of the affected area, at least 246 died in the flooding and 38 were missing, according to reports at press time. About 400,000 families — or nearly three million individuals — were impacted by the worst flooding metropolitan Manila has seen in more than 40 years. Ketsana hit the main Philippines island of Luzon.

Eleven members were reported dead in the Morong Philippines District and one in the Valenzuela Philippines Stake.
A total of 25 meetinghouses were flooded while 25 others served as evacuation centers to more than 300 people, including victims who are not members of the Church. It is feared the number of casualties will rise as priesthood leaders receive more reports from previously isolated places.

All full-time and couple missionaries were safe and accounted for. The Manila Philippines Temple was not affected. There was some damage to the Manila Beehive Clothing and distribution center.

Photo courtesy Philippines public affairs
Rae Deanne Fajardo, left, and Sheryl Garcia, young single adults of the Paranaque Philippines Stake, sort used clothes to be sent to flood victims. 
In a 24-hour period, Ketsana (called Ondoy in the Philippines) dumped more than what is normally the average monthly rainfall in the area. About 80 percent of the city of 15 million was flooded. Some areas had floodwaters as deep as 20 feet.

A day after the torrential rain, members of the Church, many gathering after sacrament meetings, pooled their resources to donate food, clothes, blankets and towels to those displaced by the floods.

Photo by Rae Deanne Fajardo
Missionaries and members of the Paranaque 4th Ward, Paranaque Philippines Stake, visit members' homes a day after Ketsana battered the Philippines capitol of Manila. 
Many of those donating have houses that were also flooded, but knowing there were others whose houses were completely destroyed, they gathered what was left and shared them with those in greater need. Some left their flooded homes and cared for those sheltered in meetinghouses, or visited fellow members' homes to check on their condition.

The Church provided food, water, clothing, hygiene items and other relief supplies to victims of the flooding.
Outside Metro Manila, unaffected stakes and districts also sent help. In the northern province of Pangasinan, where typhoon Chan Hom made landfall last May 7, members — many still living in makeshift houses or staying with relatives — surprised their leaders by giving generous donations.

Alaminos Philippines District President Porferio Balute Jr. said even children gave their school allowance.
"Though we did not receive any instructions at that time, we feel that we have the obligation to help our needy brothers and sisters affected by typhoon Ondoy in Metro Manila, following the Savior's example," he said. "The overwhelming response of our members is a humbling and learning experience for us. Indeed, it doesn't take a lot of wealth to help others."

Rescue and relief operations had been hampered by floodwaters that remained for days while damaged communication lines were unreliable.

Elder Benson Misalucha, Area Seventy and the Church's Philippines Area welfare manager, said: "We all need to realize that these are times when we can exemplify the power of faith and prayers. No matter how difficult things become, the gospel of Jesus Christ can see us through."

Aside from the immediate need of those in evacuation centers, local Church leaders and members are also planning for the longer-term needs of cleaning up and helping provide shelter. Donations will also be made to victims who are not members of the Church through non-government organization partners.

Plainview Texas Branch; Lubbock Stake Announcements;

October 3rd :Saturday General Conference; 11:00 & 3:00
October 3rd :Saturday Priesthood Telecast 7:00pm

October 4th :Sunday General Conference; 11:00 & 3:00

October 7th :Leadership Training @ Stake Center

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