Typhoon Relief Update

We just finished the last distribution in Leyte and we are thankful to be a channel for God’s blessings to others in need.

The first week after the Korean Church Relief Team left, we spent time visiting northern Cebu and Leyte to determine the next distribution points. Northern Cebu had many isolated places that were in need of assistance and food distribution.  In Leyte from Ormoc to Baybay we saw many communities that were destroyed by the storm. Further south from Baybay the damage to houses were not as much.  In Bato where the Badjao live and where we ministered before, the church and a few houses were damaged.

Children asking for help in storm affected areas in northern Cebu.

Children asking for help in storm affected areas in northern Cebu.

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We had a difficult time at first purchasing the different supplies for the relief work. Since Cebu City has become the supply center for relief work the city itself also run out of supplies and many stores had to put limits on the amounts you could purchase. The result was that you had to go to many stores to buy all the supplies. The City even ran out of rice supplies and one could only buy expensive rice.  The shortage has also caused a rise in food prices.  But we were able to finish buy all the supplies on Saturday Nov 23.

Sunday November 24 after our church service in Barili, we brought several of the members to help us with the repacking of 2000kg of rice, 3000 cans of sardines and 4500 noodles. We thank god that we were able to prepare packs of food for 500 families that will last them 2-3 days. We thank God that we were able to finish this job rather fast with the help of many people from church.

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Repacking relief goods with the help of our church members from Barilli.

Repacking relief goods with the help of our church members from Barilli.

Then on November 26 we distributed 390 buckets with the relief food. The food was distributed in four different communities. In every community we were able to share a short message before the distribution. Some communities were more responsive than other communities. But we pray that our ministry there has opened more doors for the local pastor, Pst Richard Paul who minister in that area.

Preaching at the first relief distribution point.

Preaching at the first relief distribution point.

Our truck with relief goods.

Our truck with relief goods.

Distribution at the first relief distribution point.

Distribution at the first relief distribution point.

Preaching while others prepare the relief goods at 2nd distribution.

Preaching while others prepare the relief goods at 2nd distribution.

Distribution at 2nd distribution point.

Distribution at 2nd distribution point.

Preaching at 3rd distribution point.

Preaching at 3rd distribution point.

Distribution at 3rd Distribution point.

Distribution at 3rd Distribution point.

Distribution at 4th distribution point.

Distribution at 4th distribution point.

On December 3 we took the overnight boat to Hilongos going to Leyte. Because of the ongoing relief work as well as so many people that are rebuilding their houses, the cargo part of the ship were full of big trucks, we almost did not get on. The next morning, we visited the Badjao community in Bato, Leyte, were we distributed 105 buckets with relief goods to the Badjao.

Relief distribution at the Badjao in Leyte.

Relief distribution at the Badjao in Leyte.

Relief distribution at the Badjao.

Relief distribution at the Badjao.

 

Worship together with the Badjao after the relief distribution.

Worship together with the Badjao after the relief distribution.

After the distribution we decided to take to road trip to Tacloban, a 4 hr trip. As we traveled we notice the increase of storm related destruction from Baybay toward Ormoc City where the destruction was great. The road from Ormoc City to Tacloban was almost the rout that the eye of the cylone followed and we saw village after village completely destroyed by the storm. We were especially surprised and saddened when we saw the damage of houses around Paulo, maybe even greater than the damage in Tacloban. Even many concrete structures couldn’t stand the ferocity of the storm. A month after the storm and in most of the villages they haven’t been able to restart building house because there is still too much debris.

Coconut plantations where families have harvested for 2 or 3 generations totally destroyed.

Coconut plantations where families have harvested for 2 or 3 generations totally destroyed.

 

Huge trees were completely uprooted.

Huge trees were completely uprooted.

 

Even many concrete buildings could not withstand the wrath of the storm

Even many concrete buildings could not withstand the wrath of the storm

 

Even many concrete buildings could not withstand the wrath of the storm

Even many concrete buildings could not withstand the wrath of the storm

 

Even a month after the storm the still could not rebuild because so much debris still could not be removed.

Even a month after the storm the still could not rebuild because so much debris still could not be removed.

Now the hardest task lays ahead, that of rebuilding.  The need for rebuilding is great, maybe short term mission teams or church teams can commit to help rebuild a village.

Prayer Requests

  1. Pray for pastor Richard Paul as they do the follow-up after the relief distribution.
  2.  Pray for the thousands of people who lost loved ones (they still find bodies under the debris), and many more thousands who still don’t have a home to go back to.
  3. Pray for us as we seek guidance as to what role God want us to play in this situation. ex rebuild & church planting, orphanage for orphaned children are some of the things we are praying about.
  4. Pray how you can be involved, like short term building teams, short term mission teams, individual short term commitment or individual medium or long term commitment – longer than 3 months. Financial support for the relief work is much needed.
  5. Pray for our church in Barili. Pray for strength and new vision. Pray also for the different Christmas programs that we will have. Children Christmas party  December 22 , Church Christmas sevice and fellowship Dec 25, Bless the Elderly Dec 29 and our New Year Eve celebration Dec31.

God bless,

Rev. Petrus and Chunghee Vercueil

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Initial Typhoon Relief Work

On Nov 8 the Philippines were hit with the strongest storm ever to hit land. The path of destruction stretch from Samar island, Tacloban in Leyte, Ormoc in Leyte, Bantayan Northern Cebu, Roxas City on Panay island etc. Though the media focused on Tacloban area where the greatest number of people died, Samar and the other provinces suffered much more so in property and harvests than in loss of life. We in Cebu were not as affected as the other areas, mostly just trees that were blown over. In our own yard a medium size mango tree was also blown over, but we were able to pull it back up with a truck.

On Sunday night Nov 10 we received a call from a church in Korea that want to provide relief for the victims in Tacloban and wanted to know if we can assist them.  The team arrived Monday midnight and by noon of Tuesday we started the purchase and repacking of 18 tons of relief goods ie. rice sardines, noodles and water with the help of Citi Church in Cebu.  The biggest problem was how to transport all these goods to Tacloban. We were informed about a navy boat that will go to Tacloban and we hoped to get on that boat, though the chances were slim. We finished packing and moving the cargo to the boat by 3 am. Praise God the drivers of 3 big UN trucks with relief goods did not show up an so we could ride on the boat. It was not a passenger boat but a cargo boat and so we had to sleep on the cargo floor with 300 other passengers together with other cargo and trucks.

Relief goods, trucks, and people sleeping, all on the same floor space.

Relief goods, trucks, and people sleeping, all on the same floor space.

A huge supply of relief goods, our 18 tons compare very little to the rest.

A huge supply of relief goods, our 18 tons compare very little to the rest.

We were thankful when we arrived 26 hrs later in Tacloban. Seeing the destruction on TV was one thing, but seeing and experiencing the totality of the destruction was very shocking to all of us.  There were 6 big ships that were carried 100m inland by the storm surge on an area were all the houses and people were washed away by the same storm surge.

Our biggest problem on arrival in Tacloban was how to transport all the relief goods since most of the transportation was damaged or lost by the storm surge. After a while we found 2 big trucks from the coast guard and the captain of our ship also offloaded the cargo from another military truck so that we could use it.  With the help of the military we were able to load all three trucks and bring the goods to a holding place for the storm refugees. The government first wanted us to take it to their storage facility but we insisted to distribute it immediately to the people because they were hungry, This was the 6th day after the storm. We were able to distribute food and water to many people while the military provided us with security.  We were later told by the media that we were the first to bring relief goods to the more than 3000 people at that holding center. The people were so gracious and thankful for the relief goods, but we were so sorry that we did not have enough for everybody at the center.

Desperate in line for food.

Desperate in line for food.

Distributing Food.

Distributing Food.

The destruction with people waiting for food in the back ground.

The destruction with people waiting for food in the back ground.

Getting water in the rain.

Getting water in the rain.

Desperate waiting for food.

Desperate waiting for food.

Waiting for clean water.

Waiting for clean water.

Distributing food at the sports complex together with the secretary of the Department of Social Welfare.

Distributing food at the sports complex together with the secretary of the Department of Social Welfare.

Long lines waiting for food in the rain.

Long lines waiting for food in the rain.

We were able to arrive safely in Tacloban, but now we need to leave and that was a major challenge. Since the roads to Cebu was inaccessible, there were thousands of people waiting to be flown out at the airport, where all the buildings were destroyed including the control tower. Praise God the run way was not destroyed.

People waiting for many days in long lines for a chance to leave the city of Tacloban.

People waiting for many days in long lines for a chance to leave the city of Tacloban.

So we had to wait and we slept that night on the ground next to the runway waiting for a plane to take us out. The next day, Friday afternoon, we were able to fly out with a military C130 from Korea that brought relief goods, (I was so glad then that my wife is Korean). When we arrive at home that night, I was grateful for the shower that night, the first since we left our house on Tuesday morning.

Pray for as as we seek God’s guidance as to our next involvement in future relief efforts and ministry.

God bless,
Petrus and Chunghee Vercueil

Ps. I did not take the pictures. The pictures was taken by a professional photographer and journalist Koo Sung-Chan of the Kukmin Daily, who was with the team who went to Tacloban.

October 2013 News

Dear prayer friends
It is good to know that God promises us that He will watch over us and that He will carry us in His arms. “The eternal God is your refuge, and underneath are the everlasting arms. He will drive out your enemies before you, saying ‘destroy them!’ (Deut 33:27.) He tends His flock like a shepherd: He gathers the lambs in His arms and caries them close to his heart; He gently leads those that have young. (Is 40:11)

On Tuesday, Oct 15, 2013, while we attended a prayer meeting, we experienced a 7.2 magnitude earthquake (We did not know it was that big at that time). It was very scary and then we were asked to leave the building. We stayed around for a while and then headed home. At home we discovered several cracks and broken tiles and mirrors in our house, but no other major damage and our children who were at home at that time were safe. Several buildings in Cebu collapsed. The epicenter of the earthquake was in Bohol, our neighboring island. They suffered great damage and 6 Catholic churches that was between 300-400 years old totally collapsed. Around 150 people died on Bohol and Cebu. The first two nights were still very scary because of strong aftershocks. The church and house on the farm have no damage because they are on the other side of the island.

Collapsed church in Bohol

Collapsed church in Bohol

Another collapsed church in Bohol.

Another collapsed church in Bohol.

Collapsed building in Cebu City

Collapsed building in Cebu City

Rescuers  working to remove bodies from a collapsed fish market in Cebu.

Rescuers working to remove bodies from a collapsed fish market in Cebu.

The last two months, August and September had been very busy for us. In August we had a visit from the elementary intersession group Church in Busan, Korea. This was a very large team, 32 children and 8 adults. We ministered with this team in several schools and places in Cebu City and then we also went to the farm in Barili. Here they ministered at a college, several communities and an old age home.

Children's team presentation at a school.

Children’s team presentation at a school.

Children's team presentation at a college.

Children’s team presentation at a college.

Childrens team presentation at a old-age home.

Childrens team presentation at a old-age home.

Children's team presentation at Canaan Church anniversary.

Children’s team presentation at Canaan Church anniversary.

Lunch with everybody after church anniversary.

Lunch with everybody after church anniversary.

We were also blessed by a medical mission team from Korea. God is slowly opening up more doors for us through this medical mission and we were able to make good contacts in the communities around the church. Be, sides the medical part the team also did children ministry, haircut, foot therapy and the also help to paint the roof of the garage and kitchen.

Dental work during medical mission.

Dental work during medical mission.

Haircut during medical mission.

Haircut during medical mission.

We thank God that we had several new visitors in the church as a result of the ministry of these teams. But they need a lot of prayer because they receive a lot of opposition from the community and the local Catholic Church. As soon as we start a Bible study at someone’s house or if a visitor attends a Bible study they are called in by the leaders of the Catholic Church and then they are warned or threatened. As a result they often don’t come back to a Bible study or church meeting. They are threatened that they cannot get a baptism certificate for their children, this certificate is required for enrollment by schools, or that they will have no place to be buried because most grave yards are owned by the Church and other threads.

Prayer needs.
1. Pray for the families that lost loved ones during the earthquake.
2. Pray the new people that come to church or Bible studies to have strength against the persecution.
3. Pray for Pastor Hans as he continue to minister with us.
4. Pray for our protection against the natural elements.

God Bless,
Petrus & Chunghee Vercueil

Cebu News June 2013

Dear Prayer Partners,

I have recently just been meditating on Jesus as our Good Sheppard. Our Sheppard lead us, go before us and we as his sheep follow him, even when it is difficult, He leads us through the valley of death and He prepares a table for us. The last few months has been rather difficult but we we know we have a Good Sheppard that leads us. My wife and I were able to visit Korea during May. The main reason for our visit was Chunghee annual cancer checkup and we praise God that she was cleared. The second reason for our visit was to remove some growths in my stomach that was previously discovered to be malignant but not yet cancer. The doctor said that he was able to remove every thing, praise God. Then unexpectedly God opened the door for me to be operated on my knee to bring healing to an old sports injury. I am really tankful for this operation, but I am really struggling with the recovery process that taking much longer than expected.

While we were away I asked another missionary who is a tentmaker missionary (self supporting missionary) to help us with our church while we were in Korea. But things did not go very well during our absence and the church attendance also dropped drastically. But we thank God for our Sunday School teachers who continued to work hard and most of the children still continue to come to church. While we were in Korea I felt the need to have a baptism service when we return to Cebu. So soon after our return we decided to have a baptism service at the beach for those who wanted to be baptized. The eldest of this group was a man about 60 years old, there we also had a husband and wife and then 4 other young people. This was the first time that it was not just young people that were baptized. It was really a great day to see God work in the hearts of these people and also just to have fun together.

Baptism candidates

Baptism candidates


churchmembers and Baptism candidates

churchmembers and Baptism candidates


Having fun in the water

Having fun in the water


Waiting for lunch

Waiting for lunch

We have been praying for a long time for an assistant to come and help us with the church in Barili. Recently we found a young man who was willing to come and work there. His name is Hans. His father is also a pastor. We will introduce him more formals in our next news letter. Luz Aguilar, one of our young people that is studying at a Bible School is doing well also. Is is now 2nd year and enjoy her studies.

Prayer requests
1. Pray for pst. Hans as he is adjusting to the people there. Pray for acceptance and new vision for him.
2. We plan to have our 2nd church anniversary in August. Pray that it will go well.
3. We will also have a mission team of 40 people visiting us in August. Pray for wisdom and grace as we make all the arrangements.
4. Pray for the health of Petrus Vercueil, especially his knee. Pray for quick recovery.