City Harvest Church’s eighth medical disaster relief team brought aid to typhoon victims in Passi in the Philippines.
Xanthe Chua Bee Ling, 38, had never preached to a group of people before. Neither had she ever imagined that she would, one day, minister to 28 mothers in a foreign land. But that was what exactly she did in Passi City, a province of Iloilo in the Philippines.
Together with 17 other members in the eighth medical disaster relief team in the Philippines, following Typhoon Haiyan, Chua, who is a full-time nurse, headed to Iloilo to assist with the ongoing disaster relief efforts. The mother of three children (aged 11, 8 and 4) related her experience to City News.
“Many of the 28 ladies who came for the ministry were single mothers,” she said. “I shared my testimony. I told them about the agony I went through when my second daughter had to undergo a major heart surgery three days after her birth. Even though my husband and I were in grief, we continued to trust God for healing. As a mother myself, I understand their struggles as it is really a challenge to bring up their children under the circumstances they are in, but I encouraged them to continue praying and not to give up.”
Chua’s ministry was not in vain. During the altar call, every single mother responded, wanting to be prayed for and ministered to. Besides ministering to the Filipinos, Team 8 also did house visits. One family stood out for CHC dialect church staff, Lee May Chuen.
“We visited a family with 10 children. The family’s home had been destroyed by the typhoon and they had rebuilt a very small hut to live in, but living conditions were poor and they did not have electricity. The family sells balut (a developing duck embryo that is boiled alive and eaten in the shell) for a living so we helped with the sales.”
Despite the language barrier, the team managed to sell 20 baluts within five minutes on a busy street. “God must have been with us… Just five minutes and we sold all that we had. The people in Passi City weren’t wallowing in self-pity but picked themselves up fast so that they could go on with their daily lives,” noted Lee.
The team, comprising of two doctors and two nurses, also provided medical assistance to the sick and wounded over the five days (January 7 to 11) in Iloilo. Three minor surgeries were conducted, with one of the procedures involving the partial removal of the sole of a diabetic patient whose leg was badly infected.
The photographer in the team, Tan Song Kow, 66, who works as a funeral director said that he was shocked by the devastation in the country. However, what impacted him more what the contentment and optimism that the people had.
“The warmth of the Filipinos and their positivity touched me in a big way,” he said. “Though we were all strangers to them, they warmly welcomed us into their homes and remained strong despite all that they were going through. Their willpower and resilience will be constant reminders to me as I go about my daily life in Singapore.”
In all, Team 8 saw 1,938 patients during the mission trip. While restoring hope to the city, the team members were also blessed with a new understanding of dealing with adversities.