On Tuesday, December 4 at about 3 o’clock in the morning Typhoon Bopha, called “Pablo” in the Philippines, hit Eastern Mindanao island in the Philippines. When the eye slammed into the rugged east coast of Mindanao it was a Category 5 storm, simply called a “Super Typhoon” in the Philippines. It’s winds were over 150 mph and rain was falling in excess of 2 inches per hour. As of today, nearly 600 bodies have been recovered. While the Philippines does get hit with as many as twenty typhoons per year, making it one of the most active typhoon zones in the world, most of the typhoons hit the northern Philippines. After years of typhoons battering the north, people tend to build their homes much stronger to withstand the storms. Mindanao, however, rarely gets hits with these typhoons. The last one that hit killed over 1,200 people only a year ago. Because of this the government gave strong warnings about the typhoon. Everyone knew it was coming. However, in Mindanao there are few safe places to go. The government assigned “shelters” for people to go to, however most were nothing more than village basketball courts and were never intended to be a “safe zone” for surviving a category 5 typhoon. Many of these “shelters” were completely destroyed. In New Bataan, in Eastern Mindanao, hundreds of death occurred at one shelter which was completely washed away in flash flood waters.
Here are some of the pictures of the destruction in the immediate aftermath taken by Pastor Ben Embaan who is the President of the Tribal Convention of Churches in Mindanao and Facilitator of the Antioch Institute.
Just in June, 2012 I was in this area celebrating the graduation of dozens of tribal leaders after they successfully completed three years of training. From these pictures, you can see the beauty of this area before the typhoon hit a few days ago.
I know the Philippines is far away from you and very few readers will ever had visited the Philippines, much less eastern Mindanao island. It is a very remote and rural area, but it is an area where millions of people and a majority of Christians have their homes.
The Bible says, “. . . there should be no division in the body, but that its parts should have equal concern for each other. If one part suffers, every part suffers with it. . .” (1 Corinthians 12:25-26)
This Christmas, let’s not forget our Christian brothers and sisters who are suffering with the destruction of their homes in Eastern Mindanao, Philippines. Please pray for the people in Mindanao and the how you may help them.
Typhoon Information: In case you can’t remember 5th grade world geography, a “typhoon”, “hurricane” and “cyclone” are the exact same thing. The name is only different according to which ocean it starts in. A “hurricane” comes from the Atlantic Ocean, a “typhoon” comes from the Pacific ocean and a “cyclone” comes from the Indian ocean.
All major storms are given “people” names and this storm was tagged as “Bopha” which is the Cambodian name for “flower” and it a common name for girls. The storms are named in alphabetical order. The Philippines, however, chooses to name the storms themselves. This storm was named “Pablo” in the Philippines.
Another interesting thing about this typhoon and its southern hit on the Philippines. There is a meteorological “rule” that a typhoon will never form within five degrees of the equator. That is why few typhoons hit Mindanao, which is very close to the equator. This typhoon broke that “rule”.
Antioch Institute is receiving donations for rehabilitation and relief of the victims of the Philippine typhoon. 100% of the funds will go toward the families. The focus will be on rebuilding homes and church buildings lost in the disaster. Our leaders live in this area and our commitment is long-term not just a temporary. These pastors are giving life-giving ministry in these areas and are a part of the communities which were destroyed.
Funds can be sent to:
Church of Glad Tidings
PO Box 1630
Yuba City, CA 95992
Contact person: Paul Ward, Administrator
Phone: (530) 671-3160
It is also possible to give online through the church website at:
In the “notes” section you can make the gift for “Antioch Institute: Philippine Typhoon Relief”