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Entries in Children's Crisis Fund (38)

Update On Relief Efforts In The Philippines

 

Thank you for your continued prayers for the Philippines in the wake of Super Typhoon Haiyan at the end of last year. God has moved in powerful ways to address the needs of the beautiful Filipino communities we served, and you played a major role in the relief efforts.

When Jack Eans, our Vice President for International Child Ministries who works with our staff in the field, visited the areas hardest hit in the Philippines with our project staff a month after the typhoon struck Cebu Island, the need that stood out front and center is that of shelter. Home after home had been demolished.

They visited nearly 50 homes of One Child Matters children – all had been flattened and all their belongings ruined or exposed to the elements. In the weeks since the storm some had been able to begin a little reconstruction, tapping into government aid to get some metal sheets for roofs. But most had simply propped up salvaged pieces of their houses and put tarps over them. Others dispersed to sleep with other family, some even slept on the sand. Tents donated by Taiwan Red Cross mostly went to those with disabilities. There were no refugee centers with cots, blankets, food and water and other supplies. They were still very exposed to the elements, again living in makeshift shelters right beside the ruins of their homes.

We spoke to many children and parents about what they went through during the storm. Most talked about the incredible sound and blast of the wind – a deafening roar and whistle, then watching roofs raise and blow off, trees twisting and snapping, and running to neighboring homes when theirs fell down. They took shelter in the churches only to watch those roofs blow off.

There were miracles, though! First, no one got a scratch. With debris, coconuts, sheet metal flying and swirling and roofs and walls collapsing on top, somehow no one even got hurt. Second, the storm hit at low tide, meaning there was no storm surge. If it had hit at high tide the island and the coastal area of Daan Batayan would have been swamped. And third, local leaders did an amazing job at getting people to leave their homes for shelters. Countless would have been killed if they had stayed in the simple structures they called home.

The relief efforts

In the months since, much of the world has forgotten the remaining need of these already underserved communities, but we have not. The children continue to display good resilience, hope, and typical child-like reactions to all the hustle and bustle. Many were content to play in the rain or create obstacle courses out of the downed palm trees.

But the parents are worried. People are scrambling to rebuild their lives, burning the rubbish and continuing the clean-up. This is the time to respond and make a sustainable difference.

And you have responded! Your gifts to the CCF were immediately put into the relief efforts, providing food and shelter materials for the families of the children we served.

We estimated between 100-120 homes of One Child Matters children need to be rebuilt completely or have additional supplies provided to finish what they have started. The community staff in the Philippines continue to check on the families to determine the level of need and what the families themselves can contribute toward rebuilding.

The power of partnership

Using your gifts to the Children’s Crisis Fund, plus other donations from our incredible partners, we were able to help them begin to rebuild and do so well, together. The Garrisons, local missionaries who help us coordinate our work in the Philippines, were ready and able to meet the needs of the communities we have served thanks to a strong partnership with Convoy of Hope. The Garrisons had a shipping container full of enriched rice meals at the ready, plus another on its way.

Convoy of Hope helped us continue to get relief supplies to the areas that needed it most. A U.S. church partner stepped forward to help raise money to help with rebuilding efforts as you, our sponsors, continued to donate to the Children’s Crisis Fund. The board of One Child Matters voted to make a substantial donation toward rebuilding efforts, and Convoy of Hope stepped forward to match it!

We have been able to respond with your donations, plus $120,000 from One Child Matters and Convoy of Hope to begin rebuilding homes in the community.

Churches and sponsors continue to step up to donate funds, for which we are so grateful. As you can see in the photos below, the rebuilding efforts continue. But homes are being restored and rebuilt, and Jesus is being glorified in the process!

To make a donation toward our efforts in the Philippines, click here.

Hope Builds In Haiti

Today we pause to remember a terrible earthquake that shook Haiti to its core 4 years ago and killed thousands. Although the earthquake struck the capital, far from the northern areas One Child Matters serves, the entire country was affected. Refugees fled back north, where their familial roots may have been before they went to the city in search of work.

Ten months later, a new tragedy lurked. In the water. Cholera. Spread by unclean water and the poor sanitation practices endemic to Haiti, cholera preyed on those already struggling. It was, as they say, insult to injury. 

With your help, we responded with aid after the earthquake. Within a week, Medical Mercy was on the ground in Port-au-Prince, and returned again in March of 2010. Your donations to the Children’s Crisis Fund also allowed us to move quickly, putting preventative measures in place to keep cholera at bay.

In the four years since that January earthquake, Medical Mercy has been a consistent presence, training project staff, running clinics, and assessing the needs of the children at each project. As the latest team of volunteer nurses, doctors, and friends travel home, we offer our profound thanks – for the difference they’ve made for the children, and for the way they have trained our staff to offer the care these children need to succeed.

Dr. Beyda shares about how children in One Child Matters projects have the opportunity for a different perspective in life:

Let's talk about purpose, mission, and priorities. How different are those three things for us as compared to those who live in Haiti. Let me share how those would be defined if you and I were Haitians.

Purpose: to live another day.

Mission: to find the next meal.

Priorities: to fend for themselves individually.

The children we care for are learning differently what those categories mean: to purposely live a life with Christ, to serve others as a mission, to put God first as the priority. So even though they live in squalor and poverty, we trust that with what they learn and experience in One Child Matters’ programs they will see beyond the "have not" and relish the "have" of a life filled with grace and love, surrounded by a community of dedicated One Child Matters workers.

What it means for specific children:

I saw a young boy out of the corner of my eye.  A tall, clearly elderly lady, unkempt, frail and barely able to walk was with him. The boy came and sat in the chair in front of me with a stoic face, waiting to be examined. A 3 year old, who acted like he was years ahead of his age. Stoicism does that.

A few questions asked and I figured it out. His parents had abandoned him and his grandmother had taken him in. And so did One Child Matters. He is an abandoned child but sponsored, cared for by a frail and elderly woman who may not be here tomorrow. He is like many others we care for. I spent some time with him and treated his malnutrition and his chronic pneumonia. He never smiled. Not then. But when I took him in my lap, he cuddled close and showed a soft smile as he laid his head on my chest. For him, love has been hard to come by it seems.

This has been Haiti. The sun is setting as we sit on the bus that creeps along the road that is not a road and for a moment there is a pause in the conversation around all the experiences everyone is sharing from today. It as at that moment that it all came together for me. An abandoned 3-year-old child is given a chance to be loved and cherished by those who embrace him in the OCM project. And with clean water to drink, a toothbrush, a Band-Aid for his cuts, a teacher who now knows how to treat a burn, a place to wash his hands, and a medical program that came and set up a nutritional rescue program, preventative health exams and illness interventions left behind, this little 3-year-old has a chance. Finally.

On the times when life-changing medical intervention is possible:

I pose the question: what was our destination on this medical mission? What were our expectations? The answer was there for me this morning.

I was asked to look at an 11-year-old girl who had surgery several years ago to remove a superficial mass on her neck. She was left with nerve damage to her arm and accumulation of lymph that made her arm swell to twice its size. She had a chest x-ray taken a while back when her mother took her to see a doctor after wondering for many years why her arm looked like this after surgery. The chest x-ray showed 2 masses in her chest. No one bothered to tell the mother what the findings were at the time the x-rays were taken, nor did the doctor who did the original surgery tell the mother what the mass was that he took out. The mother and the child were abandoned by those who took an oath to heal and care.

This time it won’t happen. With the local doctors working with me, we examined the child, came up with a plan on what tests are needed now, what the next step in the care would be, sat with the mother and explained to her in detail what we thought was going on, and committed to always be there for them.

The destination and expectation was simple: to recognize those who come to us for help as persons worthy of dignity no matter their circumstances, and a commitment to relationship that is genuine. I believe we did that. We left behind sustainable drinking water, a place to wash their hands, education and supplies to treat wounds and other minor injuries, toothbrushes and dental education and medical care that will be there for as long as they need it. 

We finished up our last day of clinic, seeing 1400 children, building permanent 2 permanent “tippy taps” in each of the 11 projects we went to, did dental hygiene, brought water filtration systems in and taught first aid and left first aid kits in all the projects. But you know that already.

But what you may not know, is who really did this all. We had a US team of 27 members and a Haitian/DR team of 11 for at total of 38 people serving the 1400 children and the communities. We had 2 local physicians and 1 local dentist who were with us, working alongside, and who will stay and sustain the care we gave. 38 people who gave of their time to serve.

At One Child Matters, our very name suggests that our motivation is the worth of every child, that anyone can give and prove to one child that he or she matters. How that looks may vary for each person, but child sponsorship is one effective vehicle to change a child's life. Giving toward or volunteering with Medical Mercy is another. To give toward the unique ministry of Medical Mercy, click here.

We also use our Children's Crisis Fund to respond to needs of individual children as their needs are identified by the staff Medical Mercy has trained. When children need help beyond the regular support of sponsorship, we rely on the CCF, and you can make a donation here.

Please continue to pray for the people of Haiti, on this day that burdens of heart of many, and in the days yet to come. Thank you, as always, for your prayers and generous giving. Thank you for changing the lives of children in Haiti and beyond!

How We Help In A Crisis: Yovany's Story

Poverty-stricken environments are rarely child friendly. The risks press in on every side, from unclean water or basic sanitation, to the lack of nutritious food that weakens their overall health.

But every once in a while we hear a story so frightening, it makes our hearts stop – and what happened to Yovany is one of those stories.

Yovany lived in an area of Honduras where few adults could find gainful employment. So Yovany did what he could to help, gathering scrap metal as he came home from school so his mother could sell it for extra money.

One day he found an object that felt so heavy in his hand, he was sure it would garner the extra funds they needed each month. He didn't realize it was a grenade, and when he got home and tossed his bag on the floor, the grenade exploded, inflicting tremendous damage to his body.

Rushed to the hospital, Yovany’s family didn’t know if he would survive, let alone how they would pay the swiftly mounting medical bills.

But Yovany was registered in a One Child Matters project, whose staff rushed to the family’s side. When they sent notice of his accident to our office, we knew where we could turn – to you, and to your donations to the Children’s Crisis Fund.

The Children’s Crisis Fund allows us to respond quickly to emergencies of all shapes and sizes, from the aftermath of super typhoons like the one that recently hit the Philippines, to the aid of children like Yovany who need emergency care.

After multiple surgeries to address the wounds in his arms, legs, and abdomen, the risk of infection was great. The doctors knew Yovany’s left eye was permanently damaged, and the CCF helped get him to follow-up appointments. It also helped the project staff respond to Yovany’s emotional needs as he adjusted to his new reality.

Today, Yovany has worked through his sadness and frustration. He continues to be highly involved with the activities at his project and is doing well in school. “I thank God for giving me a second chance at life,” Yovanny shared with us recently. His mother agreed, saying that “the care you have given my child is a great example of the love God has for each one of us.”

That is the glory of the Children’s Crisis Fund – it acts as an extension of God’s love, moving in response to tremendous need, a tangible expression of His mercy and grace.

Please consider donating to the Children’s Crisis Fund this year so we can continue to help children like Yovany when their needs go beyond what sponsorship can provide. The CCF also allows us to respond to larger-scale events like the disaster in the Philippines after Super Typhoon Haiyan.

Thank you for your generous gifts – we are so grateful for your prayers and support as we meet the needs of children all over the world.

Prayers And Progress In The Philippines

The reports from the Philippines continue to challenge and encourage us.

Our staff and partners are working hard to continually evaluate the needs of the three communities we serve. Relief supplies from partners like Convoy of Hope are helping feed families – thousands of enriched rice packs, which are enough to feed a family of six, continue to be distributed.

Our projects continue to operate as strategic hubs of care and support. The church building in Daan Bantayan has one of the few working water filters thanks to the quick action of our partners and support from the Children’s Crisis Fund. Pastor Victor estimates that they are one of the few centers offering respite and relief to this community of 1600. They continue to feed more than 200 kids.

Some of the first tarps went to the church building to protect the families who seek shelter there at night. During the day, meals are distributed and families come to get clean water. Medical clinics have been held there.

The impact of Super Typhoon Haiyan on the surrounding area continues to astound relief workers. Palm trees either bent by the force or were snapped off at the top, leaving eerie trunks reaching toward the sky. Homes were completely destroyed, and families are building shelter out of whatever’s left. Revealing the desperation of these families, many are seeking shelter in the nearby graveyards; the crypts were some of the few structures still standing in the wake of the storm.

Here are the prayer requests and the praises from the staff ministering in these areas:

PRAISE: The customs office renewed the certification needed to release the container held at their port. Praise God that these much-needed supplies are making their way north to the areas hard hit by the Super Typhoon. What’s more – 4 more container ships are on their way across the ocean. Please continue praying for favor with the authorities so these supplies are not held up in any bureaucratic way.

PRAISE: For the volunteers who continue to help the staff prepare supplies and meet the needs of the children at the projects. So far, 13 Bible College students helped assemble bags, and women who graduated from the Philippines Child Rescue Home also volunteered at the medical clinic in Daan Bantayan. Countless others are donating to the Children’s Crisis Fund, continuing to help us meet needs there!

REQUESTS: Travel to the hard-hit areas remains difficult, as the few roads remaining are clogged with supplies for distribution. We praise God that the staff’s knowledge of the area (many were born in the region) allowed the team to find alternate routes. Please pray that God continues to make a way for both our staff and for the supplies needed all over the Philippines.

Pray also for continued strength and guidance for the staff.

Pray for protection for the children who are surviving in these unsafe conditions. Some authorities are reporting that children in the affected regions are at higher risk for trafficking and exploitation as parents struggle to provide for them. Many safe places such as schools were destroyed. We praise God that two of our three project buildings still stand, and continue to serve the community.

Please continue to donate to the Children’s Crisis Fund, which is helping us respond to both the urgent needs for things like food, shelter, and water, while also evaluating the long-term needs like rebuilding the project building at Ati and other homes in the community.

Thanks as always for your prayers – as our partner Glenn, who has lived in the Philippines for years has shared, “Praise the Lord with us. God is so good. He is hearing and answering all kind of prayers.”

Storm Does Not Dampen The Hearts Of Children

Super Typhoon Haiyan destroyed the Ati Child Development Center in the Philippines -- but it is still a magnet for kids! Even the seasonal heavy rains can't keep these kids from playing!

Special thanks to Sarah, a servant-hearted woman who works at one of our less-affected projects in the Philippines, but was among the first to reach these hard hit areas to check on the children!

How The CCF Helps Us Respond In The Philippines

It’s been a week since Super Typhoon Haiyan devastated the Philippines. Here’s what we’ve learned since then:

Our staff and partners in the Philippines are simply incredible.

So far, they’ve been able to confirm that the children in the projects affected are okay. And here’s what they’re doing to keep them that way – and how you can help!

First, a group of staff traveled from the main office in the Philippines to the northern area on Cebu Island that was harder hit. They had packed a bus full of supplies, but it was very slow going.

They had lists of the children in each community and had to set off on foot to try and track them down. This took so much fortitude and dedication, but our staff love the children just as much as we the sponsors do.

The needs are tremendous, but we are in it for the long-haul.

News reports continue to point out that the relief supplies aren’t making it to people on the
outskirts – but that’s where we already are. The communities know us and trust us, and because we are already committed to their health and well-being, we are uniquely positioned to help them through the arduous rebuilding process.

So far, donations to the Children’s Crisis Fund have gone to purchase food, water, and medicine; to transport those supplies (the devastation in the area meant we had to get creative, such as renting boats from less affected areas to get to the other islands where our projects are located); securing supplies like tarps for temporary shelters and buying generators to help the projects continue to operate plus fuel to keep them running.

In the three communities we serve that were hit hard, most of the homes were destroyed. Donations to the CCF will help us respond to the needs of your sponsored child's family as best we can, which is why continued donations are so important!

The CCF while help us respond to the children's families while also helping the projects continue to serve the children.

Each of the three projects suffered structural damage. The project at Daan Bantayan lost large portions of its roof, as did the project and church building at Masapascua.

The project that served the Ati tribal region, a remote community on another island, was in a simple building that was completely destroyed. The Ati community is already beginning to repair their homes, and we are committing to rebuild the project that provided such valuable help to the children there.

We’re meeting the pressing needs, anticipating what's next, and responding as best we can.

Yesterday, we learned that those you helped us minister to have become ministers themselves. Girls who graduated from the Philippines Child Rescue Home (many of whom were rescued out of exploitative or trafficking situations) volunteered to help relief efforts. They and the nurse from another One Child Matters project traveled north to Daan Bantanyan to put on a free medical clinic. The scrapes and cuts many children have received could easily become infected – a potentially life-threatening situation in this region where there is no treatment available.

This is the type of response you can help provide through the Children’s Crisis Fund. Please donate and help us continue to meet the needs in these three communities. One of our staff members offered this prayer request:

We need all the Lord’s strength. I still have no way to understand their depths of despair or anguish… it seems each hour we hear of another group still unreached and begging for help. My staff is emotionally exhausted already, it takes me back to years ago when I learned I have to leave them all in His hands and remember He carries us all. I also learned that many people were there to lift me up when I became too weary to even pray for myself.

Please continue to lift up the helpless, homeless and hungry. And then pray for those giving a helping hand!

Thank you for your donations and for all your prayers. Please share these requests and continue to lift up the people of the Philippines!

Let all who take refuge in you be glad; let them ever sing for joy. Spread your protection over them, that those who love your name may rejoice in you. (Psalm 5:11)

More Prayer Requests From The Philippines

We’re continuing to receive updates from our staff in the Philippines. Here’s what we know, and here’s how you can help:

Three of our projects were in the direct path of the Super Typhoon Haiyan. Those three projects are Daan Bantayan Child Development Center (PH-003), Lugon Malapascua Child Development Center (PH-004), and the Ati Child Development Center (PH-006).

We praise God that so far, there are no major injuries or deaths in our projects – the children are safe.

Here’s what our staff have to say, and ways that you can pray with us:

The needs are tremendous. Due to the extreme poverty in that region, homes were simple and could not withstand the force of the storm. The town of Daan Batayan is “devastated and unrecognizable;” our staff estimates that 90% of the homes destroyed.

One of the best ways you can help is to donate to the Children’s Crisis Fund. This is what we use to respond quickly, providing for basic needs and allowing the projects to become centers of help and hope.

Our staff is seeing this in these devastated communities, where families rode out the storm together in the church buildings that also operate as our child development centers. As one put it, “kids instantly know where to go for help, because it is where they have been getting help all along. God is their safe haven.”

The projects and partner churches will also need help to continue these vital relief efforts. Many of their buildings were damaged, and yet their doors are open, providing shelter to families who have lost everything.

Your generous donations to the Children’s Crisis Fund will help us continue to meet the incredible needs in this area as we help our projects and the communities they serve rebuild.

In addition, here’s how you can pray:

Our staff already has a 40-foot container at the port on Cebu Island which is filled with the protein-enriched rice packs (often called Manna Packs) which are crucial to meeting the nutritional needs of entire families during trying times. Please pray that the bureaucratic red tape is cut away, allowing the container to get to the people who need it most. We know if God can part the Red Sea, He can part red tape as well! We need this container in the northern part of the island, please help us pray it there!

Here are some images of the staff packing up what they had on hand. To continue to meet the needs in these communities, please pray for the container to be released!

Please also continue to pray for those who are trying desperately to locate family members. One staff member shared her heart as she traveled north to find her mother, sister, and family:

“What I saw broke my inner being...but the thought of the people in the middle of it all, made me weak and literally, for that moment, my world stopped... I became speechless but pictures will speak to you in a language only your heart can understand. I arrived home but my mother was not around. They told me she went to the city with my sister, brother -in-law and two nieces to be able to get in touch with me and to ask for help. [When we finally met up] it was a beautiful reunion. 'Thank you,' my mother cried. 'I thought I never get to see you again!' A single hug was enough to ease the pain.”

We praise God that Sarah’s family weathered the storm, but we know countless others are still waiting on word. Please pray that the God of all comfort feels very real to them in this tremendously difficult time.

Friends, thank you for your care and support. Please consider giving to the Children's Crisis Fund. It will help us respond quickly and effectively -- thank you!

Update: Significant Damage In The Philippines

Friends, thank you for your patience and prayers.

We have received preliminary reports from our staff and friends in the Philippines in the aftermath of Typhoon Haiyan (also called Typhoon Yolanda), one of the strongest storms ever recorded.

As we feared, the damage is severe. Our staff is in the process of reaching two of the areas that One Child Matters serves, but the roads and bridges are completely destroyed, and communications are still down.

As you can tell from the image above at right (courtesy of the Cebu Daily News), many families lost everything.

Here are some ways you can help right now:

Give to the Children's Crisis Fund, which is helping us respond quickly. Our staff in the Philippines were proactive, securing supplies and organizing transportation to the areas in the direct path of the storm. Your donations will help them continue their outreach and relief efforts in the two communities we serve that were hardest hit, Daan Batanyan and Malapascua.

Pray for the way to be made clear, for our staff who are traveling long distances in difficult conditions to try and locate children and their families. The damage is surreal, and many of our staff have family in the areas as well. While the northern part of the island of Cebu was hardest hit, other areas suffered damage, too, and several projects are continuing to minister to families in need where they are. 

Pray for supplies such as the protein-enriched rice packs that can feed entire families, a container of which is currently in a shipping yard. Pray for any red tape to be cut so these supplies, which the staff had been securing for other outreach efforts, could quickly make their way to the families in greatest need. Pray against corruption and that the officials in charge release the supplies quickly.

As always, we appreciate your patience as our staff work diligently to reach the children in our care. We will contact you directly if your sponsored child was affected.

Thank you again for your prayers. You are strengthening the staff who care for these children daily, and they need it now more than ever. Bless you!

Massive Storm Strikes Philippines

Another massive storm is barreling down on an area where One Child Matters' projects are located, and we are requesting your prayers for the children and staff in that area.

Typhoon Haiyan is equivalent to a category 5 hurricane, with winds over 150mph and heavy rains, and is considered the strongest storm seen this year. The areas our projects serve are expecting to be hit hard.

We will post updates as we are able -- the staff have been able to report that they have preemptively sent additional food and supplies to areas that may be in greatest need. Please be patient as we wait for updates -- disasters like this often make communication difficult.

When natural disasters and personal emergencies strike the children we serve, we rely on the Children's Crisis Fund to respond. A small donation can go a long way in helping a family get back on their feet. Please consider making a donation today to help us meet the tremendous needs created by storms such as Haiyan.

Thanks as always for your prayers. In the past we have asked for prayer and seen storms turn around -- such is the power of our God, the storm-stiller. Please join us in praying for protection and provision for these children and their families.

How Children Are Affected In Disasters

A little more than two weeks ago, we asked you to pray for the children in our care in a region called Coastal Orissa in northeast India as a super cyclone came ashore, devastating this impoverished area.

Cyclone Phailin’s force as it made landfall was comparable to Hurricane Katrina – and given the fact that most people lived in fishing villages in simple structures of thatch and tin, the scale of this disaster is vast.

We’ve received an update on the damage to the communities our projects serve. If you’d like to help us respond to the urgent needs in this area, please consider making a donation to the Children’s Crisis Fund. Here are a few of the ways the children have been affected in the wake of the storm:

  • In some areas, the storm surge was between 6 and 12 feet high. Many people took shelter in our schools during the storm, yet the buildings also sustained significant damage. Many of the buildings lost their roofs or windows, and classrooms were damaged by the winds and rains.
  • Families in this region tried to make a living by fishing; the storm not only destroyed their homes, it swept their fishing boats out to sea, leaving many without means to earn an income.
  • Food is scarce and expensive – the cost of staples like onions and potatoes has risen 600 percent. Most families are living off of dal (lentils) and rice. Currently the projects are feeding the children each day (even if school is not held) but there is not enough food to feed their parents and siblings, too.
  • Thankfully, the government is trucking in clean water twice a day, but it is not enough to sustain people. In some areas, our projects had wells, but many are now filled with sand or polluted with runoff and not suitable for drinking.
  • Sanitation methods were destroyed, putting people at increased risk for illnesses – whatever water that was left has stagnated; many doctors fear an outbreak of cholera.

This is why the Children's Crisis Fund (CCF) is so important. It enables us to respond quickly to meet the urgent needs of families who may have lost everything. We can also use the CCF to help projects repair damage, allowing ministry to the children to continue during a critical time.

As always, we will contact you if your sponsored child was directly affected by Phailin or by any other disaster. Your sponsorship, combined with measures like the Children's Crisis Fund, help meet the needs of your child who otherwise may be overlooked in times of disaster.

Your prayers for the children and their families in Costal Orissa are as valuable as ever. Thank you for standing with us in prayer and support for the children!

 

Update On India And Cyclone Damage

Thank you for your prayers for the children and those who serve them in India!

We praise God that so many people were able to evacuate (more than 1 million people fled from the coastal region in the cyclone's path) and so many lives were spared given cyclone Phailin's scope and strength.

However, the storm response and clean-up are just beginning. We  have received preliminary word from our country staff about damage to some project buildings. Several families also lost their homes, especially in the coastal fishing villages.

As is the case with any natural disaster, we will notify you if your sponsored child is directly affected. We appreciate your patience as the project staff continues to check on areas damaged by the storm; most of the power lines were destroyed and train service disrupted, making communication difficult.

Please join us in praying that those whose homes were damaged can find shelter and food as they begin rebuilding efforts. Water sources may have also been contaminated by flood waters, so please pray for the health of the children and their families.

You can help us respond to natural disasters and medical emergencies by giving to the Children's Crisis Fund. And thank you, as always, for your prayers and support!

Prayer Request: "Super Cyclone" Hits India

Tropical Cyclone Phailin's path as of noon on Saturday. Image courtesy of the Pacific Disaster Center's weather unit. pdc.org/weatherTropical Cyclone Phailin made landfall near coastal Orissa (also called Odisha in some news reports), a region with several One Child Matters programs.

Our staff reports that several thousand people have been evacuated from the fishing villages along the coast, and news stories mention that as many as 500,000 people had been evacuated before the storm hit.

Tropical Cyclone Phailin is considered a severe storm, with winds well over 100mph; it is expected to dump at least 4-8 inches of rain in most areas. In strength and size, Phailin is considered comparable to Hurricane Katrina, and the area in which it made landfall is home to thousands who live in simple homes made of thatch and tin. Bangladesh is also receiving massive amounts of rain as the storm surges.

(The Medical Mercy team that was serving in India this week is departing from another region and is thus far unaffected by the storm.)

Please pray with us for the safety of the children and their families, for our staff who have families of their own, and for our projects that often become places of refuge in times like this.

You can help us respond to the crises wrought by storms such as Phailin by making a donation to our Children's Crisis Fund. Every donation helps us meet the immediate needs of families devastated by disasters and illnesses.

Thank again for your prayers, and for your partnership for the benefit of the children!

 

Mlandvo's Story -- John 14:18

When five-year-old Mlandvo’s mother died, the cause was listed as “undisclosed sickness.”

In Swaziland, this is how a community refers to the fact that the person had HIV/AIDS. Mlandvo’s mother succumbed just as several of his father’s other wives had. Polygamy is common in Swaziland, and in some ways this hastens the spread of the disease.

In some ways, it also explains why so many children are left to fend for themselves.

In other ways, it does not – although Mlandvo’s father was still alive, he did not live in the same house. And as is common with these polygamous family situation, his father’s other wives were not interested in caring for Mlandvo and his younger brother, Simiso.

Instead, Mlandvo and Simiso were left in the care of their older sister. She was enrolled in the equivalent of 9th grade and had a chance at creating a better life if she completed school. And so Mlandvo and Simiso would stay at home while their sister was in class.

With these additional responsibilities, Mlandvo’s sister was soon overwhelmed. Mlandvo became very sick, and Simiso was growing weaker and weaker. Their father did not believe in seeking medical treatment, and thus their little lives were in peril.

And yet nearby was a One Child Matters child development center. The staff at the Ludzeludze center became aware of Mlandvo and Simiso’s situation and intervened. Because the center had access to a local clinic, they secured testing and treatment for HIV and tuberculosis.

One staff member relates that “Mlandvo would be lying helpless on a sick bed or even have died a long time ago” without the assistance of the center staff. One Child Matters' Children’s Crisis Fund provided consistent support so Mlandvo and his brother could continue their treatments.

Mlandvo is slowly gaining weight and growing stronger. He receives daily meals at the child development center, and special protein-enriched rice packs are available for him to take home to supplement those meals. He is enrolled in the center’s preschool and is excited about learning and playing like all little boys.

This is the ministry you support – help to those physically orphaned and left with little recourse. Because of your giving, we can continue to offer help to children like Mlandvo – and that help comes in the form of medical assistance, nutritious food, and love and support from caring adults.

When speaking to his anxious disciples before his crucifixion, Jesus comforted them by saying, "I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you" (John 14:18.) And so do we. One Child Matters works to help those in the greatest need, especially the children.

To learn more about the Children’s Crisis Fund that helps children like Mlandvo, click here.

Prayer Request: Storm Strikes Philippines

This is Typhoon Bopha's project path as of December 4, 2012. Please keep the Philippines in your prayers! (Image courtesy of the Pacific Disaster Center's Global Hazard Atlas at weather.pdc.org.) A massive typhoon churned through the Philippines, and our country staff is asking for your prayers.

UPDATE: Our projects received rain but sustained no real damage; most of the storm's force was well south of them. However, they ask for your continued prayers:

"Please pray for these people who lost their loved ones during the typhoon. It will be hard for them to celebrate this special season because of their present situation. There are some who are still missing due to landslides. Thank you so much for your concern."

Typhoon Bopha made landfall early Tuesday morning just south of the island where most of our projects are located. Although spared a direct hit, they are experienced heavy rains.

When it first made landfall, Typhoon Bopha was considered a "super typhoon" with Category 5 strength (roughly the size and power of Hurricane Katrina). Thankfully it has since weakened to a Category 2 storm. Most families in this region of the Philippines live in the most basic of homes with tin roofs and wood slat walls. It’s estimated that more than 50,000 have fled seeking shelter from the rains and mudslides that are common in the mountainous areas of the Philippines.

We’d appreciate your prayers for the safety of the children and their families as this storm passes. To help us respond to crises like typhoons (and smaller yet equally devastating incidents such as medical emergencies) One Child Matters relies on the Children’s Crisis Fund. Your donations enable us to move quickly in times of need. If you’d like to help, visit www.onechildmatters.org/ccf to make a donation online.

Thank you for your continued prayers and support. We will provide updates as we are able.

UPDATE: Cyclone Turns Toward Ocean, Prayers Still Needed

Image courtesy of the Pacific Disaster Center's Global Hazard Atlas. For updated storm pictures, click on the image to be taken to their website. March 4 UPDATE: Your prayers are working! Tropical Cyclone Irina has shifted course and is not following the path initially projected.

As our friends and staff in Swaziland shared, "a strange phenomenon has the cyclone circling in the ocean. 'Strange phenomenon'... LOL... yeah, we know His name!"

Please keep praying with us. The new projections still pose some risk for our project in Xai-Xai, Mozambique, especially, which already suffered major damage from previous storms in January. The areas our projects serve are marked with white dots in the image above.

Please continue to cover them in prayer, that Irina continues to turn and does not hit Xai-Xai or other areas in Swaziland or Mozambique.

The original March 2 Path and Request:

Tropical Cyclone Irina as of March 2. Image courtesy of the Global Disaster Alert and Coordination System/UN/EC. Our friends and staff in Mozambique and Swaziland are coveting your prayers as Tropical Cyclone Irina heads their way. Expected to make landfall in the next 24 hours, Tropical Cyclone Irina is gaining strength; the Mozambican cities of Xai-Xai and Maputo, where Mission of Mercy has two projects, are in its path.

The storm is also projected to hit Swaziland, and many in the area are already fearing damage on the scale of a 1984 storm that devastated the region. As the maize (corn) harvest is approaching, the expected flooding and wind damage could have disastrous effects on the nation's food supply.

Please join us in praying that Cyclone Irina changes its course. These two nations are still recovering from the havoc wrecked by two massive storms in January. We are standing with the children, their families, and the staff that serves them in prayer. Please pray with us!

We will keep you posted as we learn more information. As always, if your sponsored child is directly affected, we will contact you as soon as possible. If you would like to help us anticipate the needs in these two countries, please consider a donation to the Children's Crisis Fund.

Looking Ahead... Lots To Do!

We have much to be grateful for... and looking ahead, a lot to look forward to! Do you know how you can take your ministry to the next level in 2012? Check out this timeline to learn more.

Same Country: New Prayer Request

Cyclone Funso's projected path as of 5pm January 24th may avoid areas our programs serve. Image courtesy of the Pacific Disaster Center's Global Hazard Atlas.

UPDATE: Cyclone Funso's path is taking it out to sea. Praise God with us that our friends in Mozambique and Swaziland were spared more storms.

When it rains, it pours. And that’s definitely happening in Mozambique and Swaziland. Less than a week after Tropical Storm Dando made landfall and ruined both church buildings and homes in the communities we serve, now Cyclone Funso is threatening.

Today it strengthened to a Category 4 storm with winds over 130 mph. Thankfully, it seems to be drifting along the Mozambique Channel and has not veered inland.

We are praying Cyclone Funso continues on its projected path and skirts past Mozambique and Swaziland. Still, bands of intense storms are raking across southern Africa. Even Bulawayo, Zimbabwe is getting large amounts of rain. (You can see the general location of our projects in the white dots on the image above.)

As the ground is already saturated from Tropical Storm Dando, the aftereffects of Funso can still cause major damage. Please join us in praying for the safety of the children and staff in Mozambique, Swaziland, and Zimbabwe, especially those who may be staying under damaged roofs.

The weather reports show another round of storms brewing behind Cyclone Funso -- please pray with us that those storms also miss these beleagured countries. But if they don't, we pray that God will be making a way for those in the storm's path to find shelter and hope. And may His church continue to move to meet the needs of our brothers and sisters around the world.

You can help Mission of Mercy respond to crises like cyclones and floods with a donation to the Children’s Crisis Fund. In the past, funds have been used to rebuild homes, provide medical treatment, and allow the staff to meet the most pressing needs in a community. Thank you for your continued support of our friends and the children they serve!

Praise: Children OK In Mozambique

Fernando, a Mission of Mercy sponsored child, was inside his home when it collapsed but escaped without major injury.Friends, we are so thankful to tell you that the children and staff at our Xai-Xai program were not injured in Tropical Storm Dando.

We do know, however, that many of the children's homes were severely damaged. Many homes in Xai-Xai are built of reeds and thatch and could not withstand the wind and rain.

The lightweight nature of the materials was also a bit of a blessing for children like Fernando pictured at left, who was inside his home when it collapsed. Thankfully he escaped with little more than a few scratches.

As you can see, much needs to be done to help rebuild the Xai-Xai community. You can help by making a donation to the Children's Crisis Fund, which is available for children whose homes were destroyed. As we reported earlier, we are also raising funds to repair the roof of the Xai-Xai project's building (which also acts a church).

We appreciate your prayers and support for the residents of Xai-Xai. These difficult times also provide an opportunity for the love of Christ to become tangible for those who have so little. Thank you for all you do.  

Tropical Storm Hits Mozambique

Weather as of 1pm MST, January 17. Image Courtesy of TerraMetrics via Weather Underground.We are asking for your urgent prayers for the children we serve in Mozambique, as they recover from the effects Tropical Storm Dando.

With forceful winds and heavy rain, Dando wreaked havoc in Mozambique, and in Xai-Xai (pronounced shy-shy) in particular. Today we received reports that the roof of the building that served as the project and church was ripped off.

The staff in Mozambique are in the process of checking on the children registered in our programs. As always, please know that if your sponsored child was directly affected, we will contact you personally; however, given the general state of things this may take some time.

If you would like to make a donation to help Xai-Xai rebuild, or to help the children and their families repair homes that were damaged, please consider making a gift to the Children’s Crisis Fund. Mission of Mercy relies on the CCF to respond and rebuild in situations like these.

Thankfully, Tropical Storm Dando has slowly lost intensity after making landfall, but is still dumping rain in Mozambique and Swaziland. Please pray for the children whose homes may have been damaged. May the Lord be their protection and keep them dry. And may His church rise up beyond the building itself and continue to serve this community.

Prayer Request: An Update from Honduras 

In the aftermath of the recent flooding in southern Honduras, information about our children and projects has slowly started to trickle in.

Click to read more ...