Let me start by saying that Bethany and I are fine. We have had several emails from our friends back home asking if we were affected by Typhoon Frank, which steamrolled the Philippines over the weekend. The storm didn't pass over Davao City, so everything is okay here. There were severe winds that made a terrible racket, but didn't cause much damage.
Other parts of the country were not so lucky. As you have no doubt heard, a passenger ferry was caught in the storm, and more than 700 passengers are feared dead after the boat capsized. There has been severe flooding in many regions of the Philippines and the death toll is approaching 600 (obviously that number does not include the ferry victims).
On Sunday evening Toti and I received an emergency request for 200 water filters from Magindanao, a province that is about 4 hours from Davao. They report that the flooding is severe in Magindanao and about 1000 families are without water and electricity. 200 filters is way beyond our capabilities, but we've been working for the last two days to find a way to help. We have about 15 filters in stock right now, so we have canceled this week's deliveries so that we can take all of our filters to the flooded region.
Someone will be sending a large truck to transport the filters to the region. The truck was supposed to come today, but plans changed. Officials believe that the arrival of so few filters is likely to cause a riot, as people fight to gain access to either the filters, or the clean water that they produce. Instead, they have delayed the delivery for a week so that we can continue to build filters and increase the size of the delivery.
I don't know anything about floods or their effects on drinking water. I don't know if the affected area has utilities such as city water, or if people use their own personal well. I have no idea how the flood effects well water, or how long those effects are felt. Information is not easy to come by right now, so I just have to trust that waiting until next week is wise.
I feel way out of my league right now. The need is so great, and we are such a small little operation. Even if we are able to get them 25 or 30 filters, is it too-little-too-late? Meanwhile, I have about four different regions that were expecting filters this week that will have to wait for more than a week while we stockpile filters for Magindanao. The worst thing about all this is the waiting. Without deliveries, all we can do is build filters and wait. Meanwhile, four hours away, people are desperately in need. I think we are doing the responsible thing, but the waiting is killing me.
I haven't got any pictures of the floods, but I'm hoping that someone will send me some soon. In the meantime, I'll show you a couple of pics from our Saturday delivery of five filters to the Women's Correctional Institute. The women gathered together in the mess hall to learn about the germs that were making them sick and how the filters could help. Several times my speech was interrupted by cheers as the ladies learned that the filters would provide them with safe water for as long as they were living at the prison. We were able to tell them that Jesus loves them and He knows each and every one of them by name. We told them that Jesus knew about their need for clean water and sent us to help. It was such a privilege to watch these women receive a gift from the Lord.
I'll keep you updated on the flood situation. In the meantime, Be Blessed!