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YWAM Philippines here is the letter our National Leadership Team sent to Kona for the gathering of school leaders called by Darlene and Danny Lehman to call for engagement in the Philippines in response to the Yolanda disaster. 

December 16, 2013


Greetings from the Philippines!

Just as the disciples called their fellow fishermen to come and help with an overwhelming catch of fish, we are calling our fellow YWAMers from around the world to come and help us in the Philippines. The needs created by Typhoon Haiyan’s devastation are immense, but the opportunity to touch hearts with God’s love and reap a great harvest is even greater. We can’t do this alone. We need your help!

One result of the disaster was that the walls of resistance to the Gospel that surrounded the Visayan Islands collapsed in a single day, much like the walls around Jericho collapsed. We believe that God has positioned YWAM in an amazing way to respond with great effectiveness at this critical time. The Visayas are often considered the “heart” of the Philippines, so this opportunity is doubly significant.

We have been amazed by the Holy Spirit’s coordination of YWAM’s response. Although communication was severely limited, our local and international teams quickly found locations as well as ways to effectively reach out to the storm victims. It soon became clear that God was leading YWAM to four strategic centers: Tacloban City, Ormoc City, Bogo City in northern Cebu Island, and northern Panay Island. From these centers we can systematically adopt and engage in rehabilitation and restoration of the smaller surrounding communities.

It has become abundantly clear that God is calling us to the long-term rebuilding of communities, both practically and spiritually. The walls are down, we are strategically positioned, and we are moving and ready to move to take full advantage of this unprecedented opportunity. 
How can you engage with us? By sending teams of all types to help us pioneer in these four key locations and from these locations engage in the rebuilding of hope among the Filipino people. We will help your teams find housing, connect with local ministries, and discover practical ways to use the many giftings God has given to our YWAM family. Here is where you can help:
· TACLOBAN – This was the largest city affected, with the greatest degree of devastation. Homes were destroyed and local commerce was wiped out. Many YWAM teams have responded, and local officials show much favor to YWAM. Work remains to be done with housing and assisting families with small business and agriculture. We are pioneering a permanent location in Tacloban, and plan to run an international Relief-Focus DTS in 2014. We have a local leader for this proposed DTS but would need international staff and leaders to partner with us in pioneering this school! This location will also serve as a center for ministry in Palo, Tanauan, Dulag, and Southern Samar. Would you join us in this? (PS – We are also beginning to consider a U of N campus that would specialize in Relief and Development.) 
· ORMOC – This city and surrounding communities also suffered large-scale damage to homes, but some basic commerce remained. Teams like RescueNet, Crisis Response International, and MercyWorks have taken initiative here. It is also a key city in the area, and we want to pioneer a permanent YWAM base here as well. Would you help us continue what has begun?
· BOGO and BANTAYAN ISLAND – Located at the northern end of Cebu Island, these scattered communities and islets lost an estimated 95% of their homes. Rebuilding is the primary work right now. We plan to establish a permanent operating location in this area, probably Bogo, for continued relief and outreach. There’s always room for more in the islands!
· NORTHERN PANAY ISLAND – Communities like Estancia, Aklan Province, and Kalibo were also in the typhoon’s path and hit heavily. In Estancia, houses and fishing boats were wrecked, and with them, local transportation and livelihood. YWAM teams, especially from Korea, have partnered with YWAM Iloilo to rebuild homes and especially schools. YWAM plans to pioneer a permanent base in Northern Panay, probably Roxas City. Do you want to be part of this pioneering work?

Here are some helpful hints for teams that plan to come:
1. Communities are in various stages of rebuilding. Be prepared to sleep on floors, and to bring your own food into the relief areas. Our “staging areas” like Iloilo and Cebu have markets, but Tacloban does not yet. You may need food that does not require cooking, at least for a few days. Some areas have no electricity yet. Our local bases can help you with up-to-date information.
2. The best visa for the Philippines is the 59-day visa. Extensions cost US$220 per person. 
3. Be prepared to serve, and be prepared for a LOT of interaction with people. 
4. Korean teams seem to be especially fruitful in Iloilo/Estancia, but are welcome everywhere!
5. Internet has limited/no availability in affected areas. Cellphone service is available in most.
6. The YWAM Cebu staff is taking a break from December 27 to January 6 and will not be able to facilitate teams or transport during that time. This team of champions and servants has been in disaster relief mode since the Oct. 15 earthquake. They need a break before they break down!
7. The Cebu IWT team is likewise taking a break December 23 to 29 for the same reasons.
Your teams can join some of our other “non-typhoon” locations around the nation for a couple of weeks as well. God is at work throughout the country, and we don’t want to miss any of it!

You can contact our Visayan outreach locations as follows:
TACLOBAN: YWAM Antipolo at < This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it >; Liliosa Plaza at +63 917 715 0532; or Mitch Metzger at +63 919 450 6438; for Dulag area Michael Casey at < This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it >
ORMOC: YWAM Cebu at < This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it >; Lucille Hapa at +63 908 982 2761
BANTAYAN ISLAND / BOGO: same as Ormoc; YWAM Cebu at < This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it >; Lucille Hapa at +63 908 982 2761 also Israel Garcia at < This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it > and +63 928 319 4157; Shawn Maragni at < This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it > and +63 928 503 7596
NORTHERN PANAY / ESTANCIA: YWAM Iloilo, Lucy Cho at < This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it >

The response of the nations in time of great need has deeply touched the hearts of Filipinos. This alone has brought hope to many, and the nation is deeply grateful. It is a “God moment” for the Philippines. Come and join with us as we respond together in a united, strategic, Spirit-led response to this great need. 

In compassion and love for the Filipino people,
Douglas Sharpe
and the YWAM Philippines National Leadership Team



Last Updated on Wednesday, 18 December 2013 07:53