By Rochelle Yasoña
Three months after typhoon Nona ruthlessly swept Mindoro, three Evangel Family Churches (EFC) now rise stronger after the tragedy.
A week after Nona’s (international name: Typhoon Melor) landfall last December 15, 2015, Evangel Family Churches in Quezon City and Batangas wasted no time in carrying out JECPP’s relief operation by distributing food packages to 200 people in Oriental Mindoro. Rebuilding led by JECPP founder Rev. Robert Lim and JECPP Spiritual Leaders immediately followed.
This month, the pastors and church members are experiencing the joy of God’s restoration of His people. Bamboo walls changed to plywood with wooden frames in one church, plywood walls turned to bigger hollow block walls with strong beams in another church, and rough construction upgraded to polished semi-concrete walls in the third church are among the many progress of the church buildings.
Rev. Jessie Yu, Spiritual Leader of the JECPP Luzon, mapped out the rebuilding details and sent his church staff Abel James Advincula to oversee the reconstruction of the shattered church buildings. The rebuilding plan included the cost estimate, construction methods and procedures for each building, and a simplified diagram for the target date of completion.
The calamity that hit Mindoro last Christmas reportedly damaged more than P4 billion worth of houses, infrastructures, agriculture, fisheries and more. Among those collapsed structures are these EFC churches in Leido and Merit in Victoria, Oriental Mindoro and in Papandayan in Pinamalayan, Oriental Mindoro.
EFC-Leido is an 8-year old town church with 36 members, EFC-Merit is also an 8-year old barangay church with 19 members, and EFC-Papandayan is a 15-year old town church with 58 members.
Seeing what happened to their churches when the skies calmed after Nona, the pastors in charge were left in silence. Desperate questions such as “Will we be able to build the church building? Do I have the strength to help the church when my family also need help?”
The pastors did not know where to start. They had no food, clothes, and electricity; all were waiting for ration and help from the government and private groups. What crashed the pastors’ hearts most was seeing their members suffer, and they themselves could not do much since their families also needed help.
Church services and ministries were disrupted few weeks after the typhoon. There were no places for Sunday services and Bible studies. Church leaders and members were hectic in recovering their lost houses and resources. However, that desperation was overwhelmed by their faith in God and the hope that was available through Him. They believed that God would surely help them no matter how hard their situation was.
“Prayer was the best thing they did at that desperate moment. The leaders and members did not stop praying until help came”, said Pastor Jessie Yu who headed the Mindoro relief and rebuilding operation.
When God opened the doors of help, the pastors and members helped each other rebuild the church. Despite their own needs, some members donated building materials and others volunteered in the church construction. Much prayers and words of encouragement during hardships were the foundation where these three churches now stood healed and much stronger than before.