Warm Hearts and Helping Hands
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Philippines Area | February 2010 | When typhoon Ondoy hit the Philippines on September 26 everybody was unaware of how much havoc and destruction it was about to bring to areas, which are not normally affected by similar storms. It started off just like any regular storm that constantly beset the country, a strong wind was felt but the continuous downpour of rain and the release of water from various dams spelled the difference.
 
Almost Forgotten
By Kaye Tyapon-Bay
 
As the number of families and individuals affected by Typhoon Ondoy (international name Ketsana) continues to rise, there are areas which have not been reached by relief operations organized by non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and foundations.
 
The Riverside area in Potrero, Malabon is one such place. The members of Caloocan 2nd Ward, Caloocan Philippines Stake took it upon themselves to share their blessings to the people who were almost forgotten. They gathered clothes amongst themselves and from their non-member friends and relatives. When it was still not enough they went to second hand thrift stores to buy the needed clothes. An American friend of one of the members donated 300 pairs of slippers. During the visit they also provided hot congee and pandesal (local bread).
 
Sister Beth Directo, one of the movers of this initiative, shared the pain and joy they felt when they saw the look on the faces of the people in Riverside. What was heart wrenching was the condition of the children. One resident, an old man said that no one has come to give them help. They were pleasantly surprised to see that someone did remember them.
 
Holding back tears, the members of the ward found unspeakable joy in being able to provide temporary relief to the people in Riverside. Their service does not end with this one day visit. They will be visiting other areas in Malabon and Caloocan until the end of October and continue with a monthly visit thereafter. n
 
 
Land’s End
By Kaye Tyapon-Bay
 
The province of Rizal was one of the most devastated areas during typhoon Ondoy. The town of Tanay was the first recipient of the water from the Sierra Madre mountain. Water rose as high as the coconut trees which now lay on the ground. Members of the church, including the branch president, sought refuge in the meetinghouse after the flood washed away all of their houses and everything they owned. 
 
The youth of Malanday Ward, Valenzuela Stake organized a service project in Tanay and Cainta(also a town in Rizal) to provide assistance to their brothers and sisters. The members of the ward provided relief goods through donated food supplies. The items were packed by the youth themselves.
 
One of the unique things, which the group did, was bringing a cotton candy machine for the children. For a few minutes the children in Tanay were genuinely happy and were just enjoying being kids.
 
One of the young men leaders, who was married but did not have kids yet, wanted to adopt one of the children. The mother perished in the flood.
 
One young woman shared that before the visit she was constantly complaining about their family being poor. But after the visit she began to appreciate what she has.
 
The young men and young women who took part in the service project realized how blessed they are, that they can still help other people even if they are poor by sharing their time and talents. The youth came home with changed outlooks and warmer hearts.
 
Clean-Up
By Mercy J. Dumago, Makati Philippines Stake
 
The members of Makati and Taytay Philippines Stake came to the rescue of the residents of Cainta, Rizal on October 17, 2009. Armed with shovels and wheelbarrows, 285 members participated in the clean-up activity. Everyone cheerfully cleaned up the streets, piled and gathered garbage, unclogged ditches and canals.
 
Wilfredo “Boy” Sulit, Sto. Domingo barangay captain, expressed appreciation for the overwhelming support and service done for their community. “When he learned that we were from Makati he was so amazed because we’re so far and yet we were there to show our Christ-like love to his constituents”, said Makati Stake President David Alicando. Alma Tomboson, one of the residents and worker of the barangay added, “We’re shocked to see your number. We’re overwhelmed to know that you’re here in our barangay and help us do the clean-up. I’m so happy to know that there are servants of the Lord sent to our barangay to help us, we feel so blessed indeed.”
 
The simple act of service had been a great opportunity for members of the church to show Christ-like love to our non-member friends.