Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Elisabeth's Story...

Her name is Elisabeth. They call her Ma’am Elisabeth. She is the principal at the only school on the island of Gibitgnil. She has the respect of the whole community and her students in that she had brought the small school in Gibitngil from a grade one through six school to one that goes all the way through the 12th grade. This is very important to the 2,500 residents of the islands. This means that their children can stay at home until fourth year high school and not have to go off the island everyday to go to school once they reach the seventh grade.

Ma’am Elisabeth and her school had a huge setback when typhoon Yolanda swept through their island. Not only did they lose many of their homes and small government offices, several of the structures at the local school were destroyed or damaged. She was worried how she would convince anyone to come help her school since they were so small and isolated.

A member of the BGR Rapid Assistance Team, Dwain Carter, came to her island and was moved by what he saw. He agreed to try and help rally resources to their aid. Dwain is not only a Pastor in Missouri but also the State Disaster Relief Coordinator as well.

This past week, I saw Dwain helping to fulfill his promise to Ma’am Elisabeth. He had some back with a disaster relief team from Missouri and supplies provided by Southern Baptists. They were working under hard conditions to help restore the school and still smiled as they worked.

Ma’am Elisabeth had taken a week off to work on her own house but when she saw Pastor Dwain coming back, she decided to help with the school reconstruction. She is very appreciative of Dwain, his group and the help provided by Southern Baptists to assist in the rebuilding of their school and keeping their children on their island until they are ready for college.

Everyone is sacrificing a lot to help the Philippines recovery effort. But it is worth it for the glory of God.

Thursday, December 19, 2013

A Parade of Volunteers Helping to Rebuild in the Philippines...

One is a farmer. One is a former State Representative. Others include a retired mailman, a State Agriculturist, a writer and a pastor. They even have one who is a “jack of all trades.” This is the team of State Disaster relief volunteers who have come from Missouri to help with the rebuilding of a school on the island of Gibitngil, Philippines.

They labor under the hot tropical sun. They work in a place with no electricity and scarce water resources. They are having to use hand tools and confess they are much more used to power tools. But in the midst of the challenges and the frustrations, they are all smiles especially when it comes to relating to the local people.

They are “heroes” of sorts; at least to the local people there. They came to the small island a few days ago and brought with them materials to help rebuild the local school that was partially destroyed by the recent typhoon.

As they arrived by a small boat, they began to unload the materials such as wood and tin roofing and looked up the steep incline to the school almost a mile away. It was going to be a long walk hauling those materials. They were anticipating taking most of the day to haul the materials but something happened. The villagers and mostly the school children themselves began to take the materials and carry them to the building site. The disaster relief volutneers picked up loads as well and began joining in the “parade”.  What seemed to be a daunting task turned into a parade of foreigners and locals working together to bring the needed construction supplies to the local school.

One of the volunteers described the scene as a festive occasion. The local people were happy to see the help come and they were happy to join in the efforts to rebuild their beloved school.

Thank you Southern Baptists for providing funds for the rebuilding of Gibitnil school. And thank you Southern Baptists for coming and help to rebuild.