January 2014 Philippines Trip Report

Without electricity, the BGNi medical team worked into the night, seeing patients using video lights at Cantihing Church of Christ in Leyte
Without electricity, the BGNi medical team worked into the night, seeing patients using video lights at Cantihing Church of Christ in Leyte.

Rick Wolford reports: The time and expense to go the Philippines was well worth it for Ian and me. We were able to help conduct medical camps and distribution of relief goods at three churches, one on Bohol (earthquake relief) and two on Leyte (typhoon relief). Ian was able to get video and photos of the trip and we will be posting reports on the BGNi website and Facebook page. Please take time to view the reports and share these with your FB friends.

The major benefits of the trip were the opportunity to see firsthand the damage from the earthquake and typhoon, how BGNi and IDES has helped, and begin to build a relationship with Dr. Titus Bantiles.

Rick Wolford talks with Dr. Titus Bantiles and his wife Dolly (center) while in Ormoc City, Leyte.
Rick Wolford talks with Dr. Titus Bantiles and his wife Dolly (center) while in Ormoc City, Leyte.

Dr. Bantiles is our main contact in the Philippines. Gil has worked with him for over ten years and, while I was at FAME, we provided him with a truck to use in his ministry. The main focus of his ministry is conducting medical camps in various parts of the Philippines. He has conducted over 400 of these camps using primarily local help. Most camps include general medical, dental, and vision (reading glasses). His camps are conducted very similar to the traditional medical camps I have conducted. BGNi sends $150 a month to him to help fund his ministry.

From what I observed, Dr. Bantiles is someone we can continue to partner with for the foreseeable future. Dr. Bantiles uses a relief model of ministry. However, he has been a public health officer and I see the potential to mentor him into a more development-centered model of ministry. When I discussed CHE with him, he said he had never heard of it before. The good news is Cebu, where he lives, is the center of CHE for the Philippines and is one of only two places where you can attend a 5-week CHE internship. I am sending Dr. Bantiles more information on the CHE training available in Cebu and it is my hope that we can get him CHE trained soon.

Very little of the debris from the storm has been cleaned up in Tacloban, aside from what actually blocks the main roads.
Very little of the debris from the storm has been cleaned up in Tacloban, aside from what actually blocks the main roads.

The amount of destruction from Typhoon Yolanda (Haiyan) is massive. Over two months after the storm, much remains to be done. Tacloban, the area hardest hit, is still without electricity and we saw many people living in tents. Just about every structure in Tacloban was either destroyed or damaged and most buildings have not been repaired yet. Piles of debris were lined up along the roadside for miles. It will take months just to clean up this debris. The large storm surge in Tacloban led to the loss of many lives, estimated now at 6,000 dead or missing. The area still seems to be in a state of shock.

Farther away from Tacloban, such as in Ormoc, there is less damage but still much to be done. Some areas still do not have electricity and many roofs still need to be repaired. Because Ormoc didn’t experience the large storm surge like Tacloban did, there were few lives lost, but people are still suffering because of damage to their homes and businesses. Most of our relief efforts have focused on the Ormoc vicinity. This is because efforts are being directed through the local church and most of our churches are near Ormoc. We only have one church in Tacloban and it is a small, struggling congregation. They did have some water damage from the storm and lost part of their roof, but they were not in the immediate area that was hit by the storm surge. So far relief efforts have focused on medical camps, distributing relief goods (food, household goods, blankets, Bibles, etc.) and the repair of the damaged church buildings. Funding has been given to six churches for the repair of their buildings.

The initial $25,000 sent from IDES has been spent and I have the receipts from Dr. Bantiles to give to IDES. Dr. Bantiles will be assessing further needs and coordinating with me a second request to IDES for additional help. In this second request, I’m hoping to move away from just relief and start looking at long-term development through the churches in the vicinity of Ormoc.

Through IDES we also sent $25,000 in disaster relief (earthquake) to churches on Bohol. Five church buildings have been repaired as well as medical camps conducted and relief goods distributed. This $25,000 has been spent and I have the receipts from Dr. Bantiles. Because the damage from the earthquake was much less, relatively speaking, than the damage from the Typhoon, I don’t anticipate needing to provide any more funds for this disaster.

$13,400 from IDES was sent last year to start a piggery project at Canlangit Church of Christ on Bohol. I did not get to visit this church but did get to spend time with Jolito Aceron, the pastor of this church. The project is up and going and I have receipts for IDES. I was impressed with Pastor Jolito and am hoping this project may serve as a model for development projects with other churches.

Where do we go from here?

  • Coordinate a second request for help from IDES with Dr. Bantiles. Goal is to make this request more long-term development centered and less disaster relief.
  • Mentor Dr. Bantiles into using a more development model of ministry. Encourage him to attend CHE training.
  • Post video reports on the trip on our website and FB. Use these reports for additional fundraising for Philippines assistance.
  • Monitor the progress of the piggery project and explore the possibility of using this as a model for development at other churches.

1st Philippines update…

Rick is having difficulty getting to Manila still.  He’s had a series of flight delays and mechanical delays slowing him down.  He’s been re-routed to Seoul (instead of Nagoya, Japan) and will go to Manila from there.  We’re unsure if he’ll make the rebooked connecting flight to Cebu at the moment, but we believe based on his latest Facebook post that he is in the air now.  Please keep praying for him to be expedited out to the Philippines without further delays.

Ian has safely made it to Manila and is awaiting Rick’s arrival.  Here’s his first video journal from the trip:

 

We’ll post more as we know more.

BGNi Philippines 2014 with Rick, Ian and You!

Ian Lozada is keeping a video journal of Bring Good News International’s January 2014 medical missions trip to the areas of the Philippines devastated by Super Typhoon Haiyan (Yolanda). Here are some of his pre-trip thoughts.

It’s not too late to support the Philippines Typhoon Relief trip.  Click below to help!

Donate Online Today

Memories of Deepak

Deepak Dhingra, 1960-2013
Deepak Dhingra, 1960-2013

We sat down today with Bring Good News international Director Rick Wolford, who shared one of his favorite Deepak stories with us:

I met Deepak on my first trip to India in 2003.  I was quickly impressed with his enthusiasm and commitment to Christ.  It was obvious to anyone who knew Deepak that he had a passion for winning his people to the Lord.  I experienced Deepak’s deep compassion for the hurting and his willingness to do what he could to help them on that visit to India.

Deepak and I were riding in his car with one of his pastors driving, when we hit a farm tractor that pulled out in front of us.  I ended up with a severely dislocated elbow and my right arm in a sling.  It became almost amusing how much Deepak helped me because I couldn’t use my arm.  He felt so bad because I was injured while visiting him.  That happened over 10 years ago and Deepak would still ask me how my arm was doing almost every time I saw him.

I, like all who knew him, am deeply saddened by his passing.  However, I rejoice that Deepak, like the Apostle Paul, can say, “I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.  Now there is in store for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, will award to me on that day.”  (II Timothy 4:7,8)  Please continue to join me in prayer for Simmi, their children, and all those associated with North India Christian Mission during this time of mourning.

Parting is such sweet sorrow

We received word this Sunday evening that our good friend and partner, Deepak Dhingra, went home to his reward after a short illness.  We know that for Deepak, that he enters into glory, but we still feel the loss of his companionship and passion for the Gospel.  We ask you to lift up his wife Simmi and their four children in their time of grief, and that God raises up even more workers to stand in Deepak’s place.

BGNi founder Gil Lozada had this to say about Deepak’s passing:

It saddened me very much to hear of Deepak’s departure from our midst to be with our Lord in heaven.

My initial reaction was that he was so young to leave us so soon. He answered God’s call with fervor to be a sower of love and truth to his people. Deepak was used by God mightily to advance his kingdom especially in North India. Deepak’s dedication to follow Jesus’ great commission was so admirable when he confided that his waking hours were consumed with how he could glorify God through the fulfillment of the vision the Lord gave him. (By the way, his day started at five in the morning until late in the night building relationships with the leaders he was training and solving problems with them.) Indeed, he had so much energy that he invested to the Lord’s work.

However, I thought there is much to rejoice for what was accomplished, especially the eternal life for the thousands of people who came to the Lord because Deepak shared his life with them… such a blessing, more than we can imagine. From Deepak’s legacy, my hope is that his wife, Simmi, and their four children will continue to be blessed and be a blessing to more people in India. Please pray for them to make it so.

Rick Wolford and Ian Lozada were able to spend time with Deepak last month at the International Conference on Missions.  Deepak has been a great encouragement to us during this transition, and it meant so much to sit with him and talk about his work and about our place in that work.  The very last time that Ian saw Deepak, he recorded a short video message of encouragement for our founder, Gil Lozada.

We thank God for sharing Deepak with us over the years.  We pray that when we see our brother next, we’ll have plenty to tell him of how we helped God continue the work in the Punjab.

***

The following is the email we received from Martha Emmerson, North India Christian Mission forwarding agent, including the email she received from Pastor James of NICM:

It is with great sadness that we forward this message from Pastor James about our loss of Deepak Dhingra. Please open this post to read the entire letter. This is a very sad time for all involved in the mission but especially Simmi and family. Please keep them covered in prayer. The boys (Deepak’s sons) are on their way to India, please pray for their safe travel.

Martha for the U.S. Board of NICM

The note from Pastor James:
Dear friends,

I, Chairperson of NICM Chandigarh, India with great grief announce to you all the sudden demise of Pr. Deepak Dhingra yesterday evening at around 8:30 pm. He was admitted to the hospital for a viral infection thereafter he went on ventilator for loss of breath and severe chest congestion. With all the resources at hand, the doctors did their part round the clock but it was God’s will to call him back to His heavenly abode. He now rests in God till His second coming to lift up His loved ones.

The funeral service has been decided for Wednesday as per the arrival of all relatives friends and associates. I would like to request you once again to remember the Dhingra family in your prayers as you had been doing in our times of need when we needed them most. Last, but not the least, I would like to thank all our workers, friends, believers, well-wishers and supporters who stood by the Dhingras to a call given out by God to,“Reach out to the lost at any cost” and we will move forward as a vision given by God to Pr. Deepak Dhingra.

Pastor James

New prayer request UPDATED 11.30

This prayer request concerning BGNi partner Deepak Dhingra just came in from Martha Emmerson, forwarding agent for North India Christian Mission:

I have just received word form Simmi (Deepak’s wife) that Deepak is in the ICU with a serious lung infection.  Please pray for him that the medicines the doctors are giving him will remove the infection.  I was told that when he got home from ICOM he and Dr. Soni started to do medical clinics and soon after that Deepak became very ill.  They don’t know what the infection is and it will take about another 48 hours to culture.  Please pray for him and the family there in India.

I will let you know when I get an update.
Martha Emmerson
We will continue to keep you updated as we hear more.
UPDATE: This just came in from Simmi Dhingra:
Deepak is in the hospital in ICU. The doctor says he got a very serious infection in his chest — may be due to Pneumonia. The test report we still have to wait for another 24 hours. But they have started his treatment with heavy antibiotics.
I will keep you inform about his condition and also about the test report.
We know that our God is a great God and he is always with his children and he is our hope our strength. Keep us in your prayers and I will keep you updated on his condition.
Love you
Simmi
FURTHER UPDATE: (11/30) 
Martha Emmerson passed this on to us today:

I just received a call from Simmi to update us about Deepak.  He really needs your prayers at this time.  He is still in the ICU and the doctors are putting him on a ventilator to lessen the stress to his body.  Simmi said the doctors think he may have gotten the virus during his trip home from the US where he had been attending the missionary conference in Kansas City.

Please be in prayer for Deepak’s healing that the doctors will have the wisdom needed to treat this virus. Also, please pray for Simmi to have the strength she needs at this time and for her to have the peace that only Jesus can give.  I will update you when I receive more information.  Keep praying – our God is strong and He is the great physician.
Martha Emmerson
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