Dear brethren in Christ,
May God’s love and peace be yours in abundance.
More than two months after typhoon Sendong (Washi) struck, many if not most of the people affected are just starting to recover. By God’s grace, we at ACMI were able to address some needs that were within the resources He gave us. In Cagayan de Oro, since most of the material help coming from government and other groups are already waning, we tried to do our part the best way we can. We regularly shared some cooked food to the flood victims by conducting feeding sessions every Saturday. Of course the Gospel was shared to them before giving them food. Free medical and dental clinics were also extended. So far, we have conducted feeding sessions and free medical clinics in four (4) and two (2) evacuation centers, respectively. We hope to conduct feeding sessions and free clinics as long as resources are available. We had also shared a minimal amount to two families whose houses were destroyed by the typhoon, for the purchase of construction materials. A substantial amount was also set aside for livelihood projects for the victims.
Meanwhile, the Iligan ACMI brethren are also regularly conducting feeding sessions. About 40 to 50 people are being fed every Sunday. They have also reserved some amount for livelihood projects for the victims. With regards to the shelter needs of the victims, they are still awaiting for the government’s decision on the evacuees’ final housing assignments. In the meantime, housing units are now being constructed.
We were informed that 59 balikbayan boxes from MSU Alumni in the States were shipped for the Sendong victims through the Arise Christian Ministries, Inc. The boxes are already at the Bureau of Customs in Manila but there are many hitches in claiming them. Pray that eventually these goods will reach the intended recipients.
In addition to the feeding and free medical clinics we have conducted, regular debriefing were also done by some of our members. These activities are very crucial and in a critical time since many victims are starting to get hopeless and depressed. Some have committed suicides. As the patients are debriefed, the Gospel is incorporated and many responded positively. One good thing that happened was that, some who responded to the Gospel are now having Bible studies, and are eager to know more about Christ. We are looking for possible livelihood projects we can extend to them. Since the permanent shelters are not yet finished, those who opted to repair their destroyed houses were extend some financial assistance. Overall, we have seen people respond to spiritual things, in spite of the tragedy they experienced. Pray that this will be the beginning of a new life and new hope, as they know more about God’s Word, and God’s purposes for their lives.
The recent earthquake that hit the Negros provinces also took many lives. Few months ago we were on a mission trip to one of these towns (Guihulngan) to encourage the new Christians to grow in the Lord. When the earthquake struck, all of the believers flocked to the newly built church, and spent days there praising God, praying and reading His Word. Everyone was safe.
We thank God for brethren who donated some funds thru Christian Aid for the construction of two church buildings. These two churches are outreaches of ACMI in Malahone, Nasipit (for Higaonon brethren) and Katingawan, Cotabato. The church building in Katingawan will serve as fellowship center and regional training center/meeting place, for the local brethren and leaders from outreaches within southern Mindanao. Lord willing, this will also be used as livelihood training center and possibly a pre-school.
Last February 18-19, we were in Macaopao, Bukidnon to conduct the regular Leadership Development Program of the ministry for brethren coming from Bukidnon Region. After, the training, I (Bernie) had the privilege to baptize 19 brethren. A good harvest! Praise the Lord.
The ministry is now busy preparing for the National Conference, come April 28-May 1, 2012. We expect delegates from all over Mindanao, Iloilo, Negros, and Metro Manila to attend.
We are thankful that the Lord enabled many leaders and members to pursue our vision for the Great Commission especially that the times are hard and Jesus is coming very soon.
Thank you so much for your co-laborship with us in the Gospel.
Rejoicing in His love,
Ptr. Bernardo A. Mendoza