"So We Prayed"

November 28, 2013

With the help of local volunteers, Samaritan’s Purse is distributing thousands of hygiene kits to families in the Philippines.

When Yvonne arrived at a warehouse in Cebu City, Philippines, to pack hygiene kits, she didn’t know that she was an answer to prayer.

But that’s what she was—along with dozens of other local Filipino volunteers who found time to pack some of the 15,000 hygiene kits that Samaritan’s Purse will distribute in and around the devastated city of Tacloban in the coming days.

The typhoon victims in the area have lost everything—their homes, jobs, and many loved ones. Some have managed to leave the area and move in with relatives in other parts of the Philippines, but many have stayed and are surviving in what were once their homes. With very little running water and no sewage system, there is a dire need for ways to keep clean.

In response, Samaritan’s Purse is distributing buckets of hygiene items including toilet paper, toothbrushes, toothpaste, soap, and more. But several pieces of the logistical puzzle needed to come together before the team could get started.

“We needed many things,” said Peter Ivermee, information officer with Samaritan’s Purse. “A warehouse to gather the items, volunteers to pack them, supervisors to give direction, then a truck to send them out.”

Three offers of warehouses, mountains of hygiene items, and several key volunteers later, packing was miraculously underway.

“Last time we packed was Sunday afternoon and we had plenty of help—this was Monday afternoon and everyone would be working,” said Ivermee.  “So we prayed, and the trickle of volunteers turned to a flood.”

Next, a power outage at the warehouse meant work would have to stop after sunset. “So we prayed,” said Ivermee. “Before daylight faded, the power came back on and we carried on working.”

Electricity isn’t a guarantee in the area right now, and neither are delivery trucks—even if they’re scheduled to arrive at a certain time, as was the truck picking up the load of hygiene kits that day. Once again, “We prayed,” said Ivermee. “At the right time the truck turned up and we loaded the buckets.”

“God provided all that we needed.”

The hygiene kits were sent off with love from Samaritan’s Purse, all the volunteers who helped pack them, and the donors—including generous Canadians—who made it all possible.

“We stacked the buckets in batches of 1,000 and whenever we finished another 1,000, a huge cheer went up,” said Ivermee. Yvonne was among those cheering.

“I’m just so happy to help,” she said. “It’s all for Jesus.”