Several weeks after Typhoon Rai devastated major cities in the central and southern parts of the Philippines, the Seventh-day Adventist Church, through a variety of organizations within the country, continues to extend assistance to families heavily affected by the calamity.
Thousands of families received food packs on January 31, 2022, at the Adventist Academy Cebu gymnasium, providing enough to sustain evacuees for the next few days.
This initiative was made possible through the Central Visayan Conference (CVC) leadership in coordination with district pastors and Adventist Community Services (ACS) headed by CVC ACS coordinator Donato P. Barcenas, and James B. Rubrico Sr., the ACS coordinator of the Central Philippine Union Conference (CPUC).
"The food packs include five kilograms [11 pounds] of rice, five packs of noodles, five cans of sardines, one pack of local noodles, and one loaf of cinnamon bread,” Barcenas said.
“Recovering from this calamity is quite a challenge, but we continue to pray and find ways that we can be of assistance to these families on their road to recovery,” he added.
Leaders from the Southern Asia-Pacific Division (SSD) and the CPUC also attended and participated in the distribution.
Eliezer T. Barlizo Jr., president of the Adventist Church in Central Philippines, thanked the division leadership for their presence, love, and support. He also commended the CVC administration, directors, and district pastors for their initiative and unifying effort.
Charles L. Nogra, the president of CVC, also expressed his gratitude to God for the opportunity to share God’s blessings, along with the supportive leaders from the SSD, CPUC, and CVC.
“To those who are willing to extend their help, kindly contact our local mission and union leaders for your assistance that we may share it with our brethren who are in need,” Nogra said. “Cebu City and Bohol suffered a lot from Typhoon Odette [Typhoon Rai]. In a report, there were four districts in Bohol where 90 percent of our brethren are homeless. There is no electricity yet in the province. So, let us continue to help and pray for them.”
SSD president Saw Samuel also conveyed his gratefulness to God that there was no loss of life and to see the spirit of resiliency among church members.
“I thank God for this opportunity to be with our leaders in the union and conference: to sit together and to put our combined effort into rebuilding our churches and in rebuilding our institutions so that we can carry on with the mission God has entrusted us to go,” Samuel said. “Let us continue to claim blessings and guidance from our faithful and powerful God. Together, we will rebuild this city. Together, we will rebuild our church. Together, we will continue to advance the work that He has entrusted to us in Central Philippines, and together, we will hasten the Lord’s coming. May the Lord bless you.”
Recipients showed happy gestures and expressed gratitude to God for His faithfulness amidst the trials they faced.
"This food distribution helps our family a lot, because we [now] have food for supper. That's why we thank the Lord for His providence,” Liezelda Valiente said after receiving the food packs.
Another recipient named Elaine Panoncia of Talisay City said that she didn't expect to receive the food packs, but God graciously provided for their needs. “I am grateful to God for the blessings. To all the sponsors and organizers, thank you so much,” she said.