The year 2013 will be a year that we will never forget.
We started the year by building a new Internet Café Building to lower our rental expenses.
We dug a new well on Jao.
A group of Veterinarians from the US visited us and ran training programs on animal care and Rice Duck Farming. In preparation for this visit we dug a small dam for the ducks and started experiments with an incubator that I made.
We used this program to reach local farmers with the gospel. The church youth also learned how to do street ministry.
Thanks to several generous donations we purchased an abandoned church building on the island of Jao and started repairing it. We also obtained a fish pond that had been neglected for many years and started repairing it for an income generating project.
With all these projects moving along nicely Bohol was hit with a devastating earthquake that destroyed 50,000 homes. All of our projects were put on hold and we started with the relief effort and ministry opportunities that resulted from the earthquake.
When our power had been reconnected and we were just starting to recover from the earthquake the Philippines was hit with typhoon Yolanda. This was the strongest storm ever recorded in the pacific with steady winds over 200mph.
About 4,000,000 people are homeless across the Philippines and more than 6000 bodies have so far been recovered.
Many bodies are unlikely to be found as the storm generated a tidal surge due to low pressure that covered entire communities with 40ft of water near the coast.
Now we have shifted from helping homeless families in Bohol to helping homeless families in Leyte. With the power still out in many areas over a month after the storm and the lack of basic necessities it is very difficult to rebuild. One of the most difficult items to obtain is wood for construction. Due to logging bans in the Philippines there is no milling equipment here. All wood is milled by hand with a Stihl 070 chainsaw with a 3ft bar. We have been busy organizing teams of chainsaw operators to go to Leyte and mill lumber. During our trips we have also had the opportunity of transporting relief goods and other needed items. In the last several weeks we have milled fallen coconut trees for about 20 families to each build a small house. I also recruited 4 extra chainsaw operators to work commercially for the many families that we were not able to provide free milling for.