Several weeks after Typhoon Rai heavily devastated major cities in the central and southern parts of the Philippines, the Adventist Church, through different organizations within the country, continues to extend assistance to families heavily affected by the calamity. Thousands of families received food packs Monday afternoon, 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 leadership, in coordination with the district pastors and the Adventist Community Services, headed by Pastor Donato P. Barcenas, ACS coordinator of CVC, and Pastor James B. Rubrico, Sr., ACS coordinator of the Central Philippine Union Conference.
Barcenas said in an interview that most of the recipients are from the Lapu-Lapu District, South Central Cebu District, Talisay City District, South Western Cebu District, Southeastern Cebu District, Western Cebu District, Western Cebu North District, Adventist Academy International Church, and Bulacao SDA Church.
"The food packs include five kilos 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.”
Moreover, leaders from the Southern Asia-Pacific Division and CPUC also attended and participated in the distribution.
Pastor 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.
Pastor Charles L. Nogra, president of CVC, also expressed his gratitude to God for the opportunity to share His blessings, along with the supportive leaders from 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.… Cebu City and Bohol suffered a lot from Typhoon Odette. 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," Pastor Nogra shared.
In addition, Pastor Samuel Saw, president of SSD, also conveyed his gratitude to God for no losses of life and the spirit of resiliency among the 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.… 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," Saw expressed.
Furthermore, recipients showed happy gestures and expressed gratitude to God for His faithfulness amid the trials they faced.
"This food distribution helps our family a lot because we already have food for supper. That's why we thank the Lord for His providence," Liezelda Valiente, of Lawaan 3, Talisay City, Cebu, shared after receiving the food packs.
Another recipient named Elaine Panoncia, of Talisay City, said 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 concluded.