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Typhoon hits Philippines, heads toward other parts of Asiacomment (0)

November 8, 2013

They chose to return. International Mission Board (IMB) representatives Carl and Suzie Miller were in another Filipino city when they heard the news that their home in Tacloban City on the island of Leyte, was in the path of Super Typhoon Haiyan.

Sustained winds of 195 miles an hour and gusts reaching 235 miles per hour make Typhoon Haiyan the strongest recorded storm in the world, CNN reports. Typhoon Haiyan, called Yolanda in the Philippines, is a Category 5 typhoon. Twenty-five million live in the typhoon’s trajectory.

The typhoon swept through the central Philippines, hitting the Miller’s island of Leyte around 5 a.m., local time, Nov. 8.

Stan and Dottie Smith live on the island of Cebu and supervise the Miller’s work. The Smiths asked the Millers about delaying their return since their area would be the hardest hit.

The Millers said they felt they needed to be with the people they serve during the disaster — and be there for them in the aftermath.

“I appreciate the attitude of being with the people during this bad time,” Smith said.

Smith said the Millers are being agents of God’s truth, and they are seeking guidance from the Lord about how He wants to reach the people during this hard time.

The BBC reports that at least three people have been killed from the storm. People in 20 provinces are seeking shelter.

All IMB personnel have been accounted for, as well as IMB national partners.  

Smith said he spoke with several national believers who said large trees were leaning in the direction of their homes, but fell the opposite direction during the storm, sparing their homes.

“We were laughing, ‘The angels must really be tired from holding up trees,’” Smith said. “We thank God for their safety and well being.”

Dottie Smith said she looked out their back window around 12:55 p.m., and a tree had fallen in their yard and their neighbors may have lost their roof. The typhoon passed through their island around noon on Friday.

Electricity is out in many areas, and cell phone towers are down in many areas.

Storm-laden area

The Philippines are no stranger to typhoons. Typhoons batter the Philippines every year, and Typhoon Haiyan is the 24th storm to hit this year.

On Oct. 15, an earthquake rocked the islands of Cebu and Bohol. Many people in Bohol are still living in temporary housing and the island is still picking up the pieces from the 7.2 magnitude earthquake.

Smith said Baptist Global Response relief work in Bohol will be put on hold until the aftermath of the typhoon is assessed. Baptist Global Response is communicating with partners on the ground about disaster relief needs in areas affected by the typhoon.

Mark Moses, also an IMB representative, reported at 2:56 p.m. that the worst of the storm had hit his city in Panay Island.

“Winds were very strong, but fortunately the storm was fast-moving, so no prolonged rains that could have caused massive flooding,” Moses said.  “Still, local flooding in low areas is likely.”

Moses and Smith said they are waiting until the storm has completely cleared to assess the damage.

Moses asked for prayer for people living along the coastlines. Storm surges threaten their homes.

Smith asks for prayer for opportunities to share about God’s purposes.

“[Pray] That this would be an opportunity to really minister to them,” Smith said. “Our No. 1 prayer request has been that God would bring good out of great bad here.”


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