Wednesday, April 15, 2015

One Week after Cyclone Pam

Our backyard before Cyclone Pam
Immediately following the cyclone we were without electricity, water, and internet, but our friend, Antoinette, graciously offered for us to come to her house to use her internet and fill containers with water for ourselves and others.  Now, we are back in the USA and are currently speaking in eastern Kentucky.  We've got internet everywhere now, so we'll start getting the story published.  From the start, we want to say thanks for praying with and for us!  Read further to know how your prayers were answered!

Our backyard after the cyclone
We woke up Saturday, March 14th, the morning after Cyclone Pam hit Vanuatu, and looked outside to a scene of incredible devastation.  Huge trees were on the ground with their roots lifted 15-20 feet into the air.  So many of the trees in our yard were broken off or uprooted.  The driveway was completely blocked with large broken limbs.  It took all afternoon for us to tow the limbs off the road in order to make it to our gate, only to find that two huge trees had been uprooted and were laying across the road that took us out of our subdivision.  As we cleared the brush from the area around our gate, our neighbors came up after having walked  around the loop.  They were safe and only minor damage to their home, but some houses on our loop were completely destroyed.  As we stood talking our missionary partners, Jenny, Bennett and Junior Isaac came walking along the slippery, muddy alternative road that bypassed the fallen trees.  We can’t describe the joy in coming together in that moment.  They had survived the storm with a river of water flowing through their yard and into their home, but no structural damage.  There was no cell phone service and they were coming to check on us.
The container was completely blocked by big limbs.

Our neighbors were kept safe during the cyclone.  Pastor Jenny on the right.

We began Saturday afternoon traveling to some of the areas where we have friends, making sure that people were safe.  The following day, Sunday, we were able to make it to most of the church communities in Port Vila with rice and bottled water.  Huge trees and large pieces of roofs blocked many roads.  In all our traveling, it was amazing to see the extent of the devastation, not just a small area, but everywhere the same devastation!  What is more incredible is that as we asked the question, “Do you know of anyone from your village or family who was injured or killed?”, there were only a few reports of injuries and no reports of death from among the Christians that we met.  God obviously had his hand of protection over us!

We began to take basic supplies like bags of rice, bottled water, hammers and nails and tarps around to the areas of our churches to begin to offer God’s comfort to scared and hurting people.  How thankful we are for Nazarene Compassionate Ministry Disaster Relief and the funding that was made available to offer relief immediately after the disaster!

Peter and Jenny had a lake around their house.
One week after the cyclone, Harmon Schmelzenbach (South Pacific/Melanesia Field Strategy Coordinator) and John Watton (Asia Pacific Regional Nazarene Compassionate Ministry Coordinator) arrived in Port Vila, as well as representatives from Heart to Heart International to make assessments and guide us in making plans to assist in the recovery for the people of Vanuatu.

We had electricity to our house as of Day 5, but were still waiting for water and internet.  

We thank you all for your prayers!  One thing that we realized as we listened to the roar of the cyclone is that as incredibly powerful as that storm was, our God is stronger still!

Please continue to pray! 

Celebrating LIFE!

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