PHILIPPINES – As the Philippines struggles in the aftermath of a devastating typhoon, Lutheran Church–Canada (LCC) is calling on its members to offer up prayers on behalf of the suffering. More than 2,200 people have been confirmed dead, with thousands more injured and hundreds of thousands displaced. The destruction of homes and infrastructure is widespread.
“The people in the Philippines have suffered great devastation,” said LCC’s Executive for Missions and Social Ministry, Rev. Dr. Leonardo Neitzel. “Let us commit to keeping in prayer our brothers and sisters in that part of the world who are suffering—that God would give them comfort and aid in this difficult time, and that He would bless the work of relief workers.”
LCC is currently in dialogue with partner churches of the International Lutheran Council (ILC), including The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod (LCMS), about how best to meet the needs of those affected by the typhoon. The Lutheran Church in the Philippines (LCP)—a member-church of the ILC—has reported they were hit hard by the storm. Communications with the Philippines are still spotty, but the LCP’s President James Cerdeñola was by Sunday able to determine the following: “We have three congregations in the areas worst hit by the storm,” he reported. “One is in Mahayag, Albuera, Leyte (a coastal town), and the pastor, Rev. Xavier James Palattao, told me that almost all houses in his area including those of our members are either totally destroyed or significantly damaged by Yolanda’s winds. The church building and the parsonage were not spared.”
In a later report (see the video below), President Cerdeñola noted that the LCP’s three churches in the area “are gone—one, totally flattened.” Despite the devastation, he reports the good news that “many of our members—almost all of them actually—are safe,” though “their properties and means of living are gone.” The LCP’s own disaster response team is already hard at work, but the full extent of damages and loss of life is not yet known. An LCMS World Relief team is set to leave for the Philippines on Friday.
In the meantime, LCC asks its congregations to keep the Philippines in its prayers during worship services. The church offers the following prayer for congregational use:
Almighty God and Father, You are the Creator of the entire universe and all that is in it. You are the Source of all good, and through Your mercy You govern and preserve all things. Your thoughts and ways are infinite, higher than our thoughts and ways. In Your unfathomable wisdom, You permitted the typhoon that hit the Philippines. We implore You, out of Your mercies, that You have compassion on all who are suffering in the midst of this destruction and devastation. Assist Your Church in reaching out in love to provide shelter, food, and medical assistance to those in need. Comfort all who mourn the loss of loved ones and heal the wounded. We implore You that the shining light and love of Jesus Christ would be manifested during this tragedy, through Your people’s loving hands and proclamation. Bring comfort, strength, and peace to all. We pray this all in the name of Jesus Christ, our Lord. Amen.