Fellows here is the latest from Juvie in Gingoog, they returned from the Helping Hand mission, and are now preparing for the next. We have some donations coming in, thank you, and will send every dollar over for these missions.
Those pictures give an idea of the destruction.

Dear Walter,

My warmest greetings to all of you! Wishing you all in the best of health and happiness with your family!

We are happy to inform you that we are already back from the Dinagat Helping Hands Project mission, starting the new year serving the typhoon Odette victims. It took us a total of 10 days  in that mission. That includes our travel and waiting time to cross and back at the port for days with the dilemma of having no comfort room and inn or hotels to stay while in Surigao city. In that trip there were 3 nights that the 7 of us in the team including the two youth who were doing the media project slept with us inside the car in sitting position. But it was all fun. 

From Sunday Midnight we arrived at the port on Tuesday around 10pm and we were loaded onto the Navy Landing Craft. The experience was varied and we learned a lot from that trip. 

Wednesday dawn the Navy ship was able to cross to Dinagat and we arrived there at noon and after our courtesy call at the Provincial Emergency Operation Centre, we traveled around 3 hours to Tubajon along with the dump truck carrying the relief goods. We arrived at Tubajon late in the afternoon and had our breakfast. 

The devastation left by Odette even when you see the island from the place where we were sailing is truly terrible. But we are happy that other government and private groups from other places are coming to bring relief goods. But even that, because of the huge area affected by the typhoon there are still lots of people who are struggling even to have the basics like food. 

Our target for that mission is aside from desiring to help the victims we also desire  to encourage everyone to help. Either through prayer, service, or gift giving, or all. We are happy to say that we met all that. From the gathering of the relief goods to  packing, and then loading until distribution, we were working with everyone gladly. It is not only the tangible gifts we give to people but also the joyful experience while doing service to others together. 

During the mission we stayed at the Mayor's office for our accommodation. During the day she used her office to accommodate meetings and people but during the night we just put a mat on the floor and slept there. They are also staying there 24/7 even 2 days before Odette typhoon hit them.

Our focus beneficiaries during the mission were the 210 families who totally lost their homes and belongings and livelihood along the shore. There was a  storm surge that wiped out their houses. But in Tubajon Municipality alone I think the total  damage  to houses was more than 500? But we only catered  the 210 along the shore. 

It will truly take them sometime to recover. Even the municipal office and the PNP building were also destroyed and the Mayor said they don't even have funds to repair them because they have to wait for the national funding. 

Our primary concern are the people. Those who are not staying at the evacuation centers are staying with their relatives or neighbors and we know the situation is not okay when people are staying together with other people for a long time and all are stressed with their situations aside from the basics  that they are needing.

The government there are calling for help on the "Rebuilding" of the houses of families who lost their homes. We are praying we can respond to that call but at the moment we are trying to share updates of the recent mission to keep the people posted. We are praying to get a quotation of a descent and durable house considering that there are lots of strong typhoons in the Philippines every year. We are praying if we could help even just 10 families? We can help them to rebuild their houses, we can teach them on organic gardening, then family and relationship lectures, then on health so we will not only rebuild their houses but might also their relationships and family well being. This is just the initial desire of our heart but we are continually praying on how we can help them with a great impact not only on literal rebuilding of houses but on rebuilding families and communities. 

My computer is still down and I am just using my phone to email you. Unfortunately I cannot attach pictures here because it won't send so for the pictures and videos, kindly visit the fb page of Mindanaw Poverty Relief Action or my personal fb account Juvelyn Sardan Lagamon-Jomen. We are not done yet with our pictures and updates posting because the internet connection is very poor but we have lots of documentation posted already that will give you an idea of the situation in the island and our trip there. 

We would like to thank each one of you for your continuing support of our community service works here. Thank you very much for allowing us to experience even just the hands, feet, and voice that comforts the struggling through your gifts. God bless