Monday, October 19, 2009

Pray for the Philippines

John and Deborah Wolfram have a heart for world missions. They have been able to minister to the masses, as well as one-on-one, in more than 30 nations around the world since the early 1980's.

One of the highlights of their ministry came in the early 1990's when they helped take the gospel to the war torn nation of Vietnam, where in 1968-1970 he had served two terms with Underwater Demolition Team 11 (Navy SEAL's).

For more information about their ministry please visit them on the web at

Currently Missionary Wolfram is on location in The Philippines. Recently he sent this prayer request regarding our brothers and sisters in that part of the world.

I am amazed how third world countries have a way of facing tragedy with such grace and dignity.

Deborah and I have witnessed the worst storm to hit the Philippines in 40 years. Most everyone here agrees that the government’s estimates of deaths are way below the body counts of the various towns and barrios.

Just last night, I went to be with a family who two weeks ago witnessed several miracles. When “Ondoy” hit they were hosting an all night prayer meeting. By early morning their house was completely underwater, broken apart and swept away along with dozens of others that were built on the river’s edge.

The swift current pulled the family members apart as they fought to stay above water. A frantic elderly grandmother grabbed a piece of floating debris. She also held in her arms a terrified four-year old girl named Maiden Grace.

Divine providence provided a small washbasin to float by in arm's reach. She placed the tiny Maiden Grace inside and said a prayer as the current separated her from the child. In the hordes of bodies being pushed downstream a man grabbed the small ark and placed his own little girl in the basin as well, almost capsizing the flimsy craft. Together all three rode the current for over nine hours as he steadied the basin with one hand while holding on to a piece of floating wood with the other. After a cold frightful night the little girl’s mother, father and grandmother were rescued but separated.

No one knew whether or not each other survived or drowned for three long days. After a lengthy search all of them were reunited. Their greatest surprise was little Maiden Grace was also alive. Not all of their family and friends were so fortunate. One hundred and twenty of their fellow villagers in the Paltok barrio drown or were electrocuted from the many live electric wires submerged in the water. Their amazing miracle was dampened this past Saturday when the thirty-nine-year-old father, Fernando Jemido died from an infection caused by a cut in his foot during his heroic effort to stay alive throughout a dark, chilly night.

Though the floodwaters have subsided in many places, and the clean-up has allowed thousands of people to return to a more normal life, thousands more are still homeless or fighting for their lives. A former Bible school student also has succumbed to this water born disease (leptospirosis) because he didn’t have enough money to pay for a blood transfusion.

This past Wednesday I took two-dozen Bible school students to a displacement center in Barangay Tatalon, Quezon City to feed and encourage the homeless. After the students joined each dejected family on the floor amid cardboard boxes and plastic bags of salvaged or donated goods to share a personal Bible study, we had church. Entire families were baptized. The local pastor, Elsie Pestano has 15 families in her assembly alone, whose houses burnt down after electrical wires set fire to their flooded homes.

If you compound this calamity by several hundred churches on Luzon, plus thousands of saints, you can get a better picture of what many of our unfortunate brothers and sisters are going through.

Please continue to keep these precious souls in your prayers.