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Nothing Comes Close to a MARCH Medical & Evangelism Mission
by Chito Cusi


TWO TYPES OF MUDSLIDE VICTIMS
1. There are two types of victims and evacuees from the massive mudslide that obliterated the village of Guinsaugon and left over a thousand people dead and missing last February 17. The first and the most severely affected are the survivors of Guinsaugon---about 600 people coming from to 300 families. Each of this 600 have lost at least 4 family members dead or buried; gone, too, are their houses, fields, livestock and belongings. They are quartered in cramped classrooms at Cristo Rey High School, continuing to struggle and wait for government to build them new homes. They are totally dependent on what is given to them. At night they lay sleepless, and often resort to liquor to escape from their dreams. Nightmares, sudden outbursts, wailing and screaming are most common at night. During the day, they sit in groups and welcome anyone who visits them, eager to hear messages of hope. Some voice out their anger at how slow government is moving to give them new homes. Others complain that the houses to be built are too small compared to what they had lost. Many harbor ill feelings at the second type of evacuees to the extent of blaming them for the slow progress of construcition of their houses.

2. The second type of evacuee in St. Bernard are about 2,500 people from 5 villages surrounding the foothills of the mountain that buried Guinsaugon. These villages have been declared danger zones. While they live in the evacuation centers, their children are alive and they still can go to their fields to work during the day time. At night, they lie in inhumane conditions sleeping on the ground and on cold concrete floors. Thanks to Salvador Cariaga, funds have been provided to supply wood and nails to build beds for them. These evacuees, perhaps less severely affected than the first, yet still victims---unable to enjoy the peace and comfort of their homes. Afraid that if they do, they, too, might find themselves buried, erased and perhaps forgotten, remembered only by their loved ones.

MARCH Mission for Guinsaugon Survivors
Our first mission last February 23-25 was to give comfort, relief and medical assistance to the Guinsaugon mudslide survivors. Our medical and counseling teams were eager yet gentle in touching them with the love of Christ at their darkest hours. We also showed movies to entertain them during this brief visit. We had offered to build houses for them, but because of the oversupply of groups wanting to do the same, we will have to find some other way to help them materially. Perhaps we will give them beds, livelihood assistance, a milking goat, etc. once they are settled in their new homes. It is also very likely that MARCH for Christ will be awarded the privilege of putting up a rehab center to be manned/supervised by psychologists from my home province of Cebu and our preachers as facilitators. Tonight, a fifteen (15) man team of psychologists leaves for St. Bernard with our prayers for a successful weekend debriefing of survivors.


MARCH MEDICAL & EVANGELISM MISSION FOR DANGER ZONE EVACUEES

Four doctors of medicine, three dentists, one (1) physical therapist, two (2) medical technologists, two (2) medical assistants treated over 600 patients in two (2) days of medical evangelism organized by MARCH for Christ at the Central Elementary School and the Catmon Elementary School evacuation centers in St. Bernard, Leyte.

In addition, sixteen (16) preachers from churches of Christ in Cebu and from six (6) congregations in Leyte (Tacloban, Ormoc, Baybay, Sogod, Bontoc and Hinunangan) participated and worked side by side with the MARCH medical teams to bring free medicines, medical care and distribute old but very useable clothes to the evacuees. Our preachers went room to room with our medical doctors to speak about the church of Christ, the message of Christ, and to invite landslide survivors to search for God's calling amid the rubbles of the mudslide's destruction. After going through the over 40 classrooms full of evacuees, our preachers distributed tracts around the village of Catmon.

THE VILLAGE OF CATMON
Catmon is almost the same size in area and in population (1800) as Guinsaugon village. The people are friendly and hospitable; mostly rice farmers and a few traders. Everywhere you go in the village, the remains of the mountain that buried Guinsaugon loom so large that one wonders why it did not affect Catmon at all. It is a scary and gruesome sight to see it so near.

MANY POSITIVE CONTACTS FOR BIBLE STUDIES

Speaking with love and in humility, our preachers were able to get many contacts for bible studies. Foremost was the chieftain of an ethnic tribal people (tall, curly haired tribe) who said they had been looking for someone who could teach them the truth of the bible. He said they numbered over a hundred and lived just half a kilometer from the village center. Another religious leader who was impressed with our preacher's presentations and explanation is the pastor of the United Church of Christ of the Philippines saying that he was willing to study some more and offered hospitality to our preachers. Young and old were very receptive to our preachers' encouragement.

We are all so encouraged by their receptivity that we are now looking for two (2)preachers to stay in St. Bernard, while preachers from Leyte are committing to take turns in reinforcing the work of these two preachers. MARCH will continue to provide financial support for the preachers and the chapel facilities from its evangelism fund, and will continue to organize monthly medical/counselling/relief distribution mission.
Thanks to all your continued financial support and prayers, we are not only helping the victims of the mudslides with material aid, comfort and relief, but we are using this as a great opportunity to present the church as their doorway to rehabilitation, hope and healing.

PRAYER REQUESTS
Please continue to pray with us for:
1. Wisdom and discerning to know how God wants us to let our light continue to shine upon St. Bernard more effectively and efficiently;
2. For the increase of the seeds of love and truth planted in the hearts of the mudslide evacuees and survivors;
3. For your continued partnership with us in taking victims of disaster and tragedy to become partakers of our eternal home and inheritance;
4. For brethren to continue to work together in unity and peace;
5. For God's blessings on our plans to continue our work in the rehabilitation, recovery and healing of the mudslide victims.

Thank you, Lord, for making us all a part of this great work. Indeed how beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news!

You can send to our GUINSAUGON REBUILDING & HOPE FUND under the
following account:
M.A.R.C.H. for Christ
SA No:7131167371
Bank: Prudential Bank, Naguilan Road, Baguio
-Your donations will not be used for travel and hotel expenses and will go to intended recipients only.
-I will email/mail you of an accounting of funds as soon as this is
available. MARCH maintains regular accounting records of all donations and disbursements and is operated by a Board of directors composed of preachers and respectable professionals from the church.
-ORs will be issued by our treasurer and mailed to your mailing address.
Please send me your mailing address.
-You can specify to which particular project activity your prefer your donation to be used.
-In case you have problems sending through Prudential Bank (it is being
converted into the Bank of the Philippine Islands) you can mail your
check
to:
MARCH for Christ
c/o Chito Cusi
66 Gov. Cuenco Ave.
Banilad, Cebu City 6000
Philippines

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