NEGROS ORIENTAL, Philippines – When an earthquake struck the Philippine Islands earlier this month, it triggered landslides that buried two villages in the Negros Oriental province of the island nation and claimed the lives of at least 51 people.
Many people are still missing. The disaster wiped out houses, bridges, and other infrastructure in the surrounding territory.
Following the earthquake, a mini-tsunami struck the province, sweeping away more than 100 houses with its strong waves.
Even the 16-year-old house church of Pastor Severino Fuentes did not escape the huge waves. It now lies flattened, several meters away from where it used to stand.
Pastor Fuentes cried, not over the loss of his house, but because he is grateful that his wife and granddaughter who were being carried away by the strong current, survived.
He said the calamity has given him more purpose in life.
“I am not giving up. I believe God saved us so that we can continue His work,” he told CBN News.
“Everything that we have comes from him. Our life, our intellect, but we use them to please the world,” Fuentes explained. “All this is a reminder that God is the God of the whole earth and He is the most powerful one.”
Pastor Pio Ancol, with the Assemblies of God church, shared how he experienced God’s power as the big wave rushed toward his church.
“I commanded the wave. I said, ‘Stop in Jesus name and go back to where you belong!’” he said. “And the wave stopped and went back into the sea.”
“My prayer was ‘Lord, save the people. Open their spiritual eyes. Let them know the truth.’ Jesus Christ is the truth. I pray that they will give their lives to Jesus and for all the people to serve only Him,” Ancol said.
Ancol’s prayer was answered when teams from CBN International arrived and set up a relief distribution station at his church.
He seized the opportunity to share the word of God with earthquake victims who came for help. On that day, more than 200 people prayed to receive Jesus Christ as their saviour.
The CBN ministry gave the survivors food and mats. It will also conduct a feeding program for 72 malnourished children.
The ministry also plans to hold medical missions in the area and seek other ways to help the people recover from the tragedy.
“Thank you very much CBN. You are a big help because we really need food for our families. I am so happy because today, I really feel that God loves me,” Vicky Romano, an earthquake survivor, said.
While CBN’s Disaster Relief operation teams are ongoing in the earthquake-stricken areas, the organization is still helping victims of typhoons and flash floods that hit other provinces in recent months.
In Quirino province, CBN is providing medical care to those in need. It’s also giving out fishing nets and lamps to fishermen to help them begin making a living again.
Meanwhile in the Cagayan de Oro and Lanao provinces, CBN water stations are still providing fresh, clean water to victims of flash floods.