Santa Fe Church of the Nazarene members are using community outreach to establish a long-term presence on Biliran Island in the Philippines, including hosting a Vacation Bible School and providing the community with access to clean water.
Nearly 100 children, ages 5 to 14, attended the VBS from 19 to 22 April. Caray-caray Village Captain Jeffrey Merez provided two buildings to host the VBS, one for lodging and one for the VBS activities.
Merez even let the group use one of the village vehicles to retrieve water since the village has been experiencing water problems following Typhoon Yolanda in 2013. The situation has only worsened since 2017 when Tropical Storm Urduja hit the island.
The village has no running water during the daytime, so the government has been providing water rations to all 300 affected households. When running water is available, it exposes those who drink it to water-borne illnesses.
The following Saturday, church members distributed water filters provided by Nazarene Compassionate Ministries and Nazarene Disaster Response. Once the filters were distributed, they taught the people how to use them.
"After these initial victories, it is safe to say that indeed Biliran is for Christ," said Pastor Bryan Azura. "That, however, does not exempt us from challenges ahead. We intend to make a long-term presence in the area. We need to support the workers who will sustain all the works in the area. We need to have faith that God will provide all the necessary elements so that we can make Christlike disciples in this part of the district."