Children from Camachile Elementary School in the Philippines receive the school bags from Camachile United Methodist Church and God’s Helping and Healing Hands Ministry. Photo courtesy of the Rev. Leslie C. Dela Cruz.
By Gladys P. Mangiduyos
May 31, 2019 | UM News
After a deadly earthquake struck the towns of Porac and Floridablanca in northern Philippines this spring, United Methodists were among those picking up the pieces.
Faith kept them going.
The Rev. Jestril Alvarado, superintendent of the church’s West Pampanga District on the main island of Luzon, remembered the fear that more tremors would follow in the quake’s immediate aftermath. The April 22 earthquake registered a magnitude of 6.1 and killed at least 16 people. Local churches and homes were among the buildings damaged.
“But we were flooded by help, encouragement, prayers and support from different churches and conferences,” Alvarado said.
The love and prayers sent to the region were transformative, he added. “The earthquake was an overwhelming experience from fear to faith.”
For more than a month now, the earthquake-stricken community has continued its life and mission, as demonstrated by Camachile United Methodist Church in Nabuclod, Floridablanca, whose congregation members are all Aeta families. The Aeta are an indigenous people who live in isolated mountainous parts of Luzon.
Despite the devastation, the Camachile church resumed its summer vacation church school, which started the day of the earthquake. United Methodists also have been rebuilding their damaged houses, using donated wide tarpaulins and sets of concrete nails and wire.
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