Strengthening Filipino churches to share Christ's hope in disaster.
Merriam and her church were ready when COVID-19 put their island home of Luzon, Philippines under lockdown. They acted quickly—distributing food, Bibles, and praying for anyone in need. “We took that opportunity to pray and share the Gospel. Many of our neighbors received Christ,” Merriam said.
Just before the pandemic, they completed Samaritan’s Purse’s Hazard Area Readiness Training (HART). This program equips Filipino churches to lead their communities in disaster preparedness and respond in crisis. This is especially crucial in the Philippines, the world’s third most disaster-prone nation.
“We used our training to respond effectively to this pandemic. The session about soul care was especially helpful,” Merriam said.
God was at work even when Merriam was hospitalized with COVID-19 symptoms. “It was like a warzone at the hospital. I felt so alone,” she said. Instead of giving in to fear, she prayed for others to be healed and hear the Gospel. After testing negative for COVID-19, Merriam went right back to leading online video Bible studies with prison inmates and teaching health and hygiene training.
“I preached about peace in the pandemic. I shared how God ministered to me,” Merriam said.
Under Merriam’s leadership—and using the HART program that you make possible—her church has provided emotional and spiritual support to more than 200 families, 50 police officers, 600 inmates, and 70 COVID-19 patients at quarantine facilities. Through a new Bible study, six people recently received Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior.
“I praise God that our church embraced the mission and is ministering in this disaster,” Merriam said.
Thank you for standing with congregations in the Philippines and worldwide. Though COVID-19 has brought immense hardships, they remain faithful beacons for the Gospel. Your support sustains and strengthens them, putting resources in their hands to reach our world in desperate need of Jesus.