It's been more than a month since Typhoon Rai wreaked havoc in the central Philippines. Many island communities still don't have cellular signal or electricity. Residents also have been getting very sick due to very limited access to clean drinking water.
CBN News met up with Pastor Reysen Navarro whose family and community were hit hard by Typhoon Rai. He recently questioned his calling as a minister after facing major trials one after the other. It started when his wife suffered a stillbirth in May, and then, before the year ended, Typhoon Rai destroyed their church.
"I was angry with God and blamed him for what happened," Pastor Reysen said. "Losing our baby brought so much pain. And then, our church where we also lived was totally damaged by the storm."
While seeking answers to why God allowed these tragedies, Pastor Reysen experienced another blow when he suddenly passed out because of severe diarrhea. He said he was so scared and thought he would die.
"After the storm, there was no more clean water on the island so we were forced to drink dirty water. When I collapsed, I thought it was the end for me. I pleaded to God, 'Please don't take me yet because my family needs me, especially my wife.' A child heard my cry for help and he called the villagers who then brought me to the hospital," he recalled.
Pastor Reysen is among many residents of the Bohol province who got sick because of dirty water.
According to the pastor, pitchers of drinking water were sold at a high price, three times higher than the regular price. There were doubts about its purity; however, because there is still no electricity on the islands.
Ryan del Barrio, an Operation Blessing volunteer, responded by sacrificing Christmas with his family to set up water filtration stations in the Cebu and Bohol provinces.
CBN's Operation Blessing Brings Christmas Cheer, Relief to Typhoon Rai Survivors on Remote Philippine Islands
He said, "I missed being with my family on Christmas and New Year's Day. But when I saw the suffering of the typhoon victims whose houses were totally damaged, I am glad I am able to help. Rich or poor, they lined up for clean drinking water."
The water filtration station supplies an average of 1,700 liters of clean water per day to more than 90 families.
Pastor Reysen is grateful that his prayers have been answered.
"I thank the living God who sent you to help us. Thank you, Operation Blessing. Now we have clean drinking water in the island," he told CBN News
Operation Blessing also provided food bags to 6,000 families. And O.B. continues to distribute relief goods in other provinces affected by Typhoon Rai, helping the survivors rebuild their lives.
HELP Operation Blessing meet the urgent needs to disaster victims.
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