UM pastor in Tacloban recalls typhoon ordeal

By Gladys Mangiduyos*

At a certain point after Typhoon Haiyan nearly destroyed the Philippines city of Tacloban, the Rev. Iris Picardal Terana was wondering if anyone cared.

Picardal Terana, a United Methodist pastor who was thought to be missing for a brief time, recalled her ordeal via text message.

Having been isolated in Tacloban City for five days after the Nov. 8 typhoon, she said she broke into tears when she felt nobody cared.

“I cried last Wednesday evening, I can’t send text messages, they all failed, I can’t even receive any message…I felt nobody cared…,” she wrote.

Iris means ‘rainbow’ in Greek, and Picardal Terana said she never lost hope even after the fury of floods and violent winds from Haiyan, known locally as Typhoon Yolanda. And, finally, relief supplies are beginning to trickle in.

“We will live day by day through God’s grace…,” she said.

Typhoon takes major toll

With the official death toll now at 3,621, Tacloban City  has just started burying a hundred bodies and has been reeling as it tries to recover from Haiyan’s unfathomable devastation.

According to Picardal Terana, two members of Tacloban United Methodist Church — the sibling of the Rev. Lelito “Lito” Luana, her associate pastor, and his grandchild — died as a result of the typhoon. The mother of the child is missing.

Luana had traveled before the storm to Ormoc City for medicine for his Parkinson’s Disease and had informed the Rev. David Cosmiano, Eastern Visayas District superintendent for Leyte, Samar, Bohol and Cebu, that he was safe there.

The church building in Tacloban, which also served as the associate pastor’s house, was destroyed as were the homes of other church members.  “Especially those in shoreline, where tsunami-like water engulfed them, their houses were totally washed out,” said Picardal Terana.

She said that her family, including her husband, Jhonril, and their 2-year-old son and other church members are staying in the house of her relatives because there have been threats of looting. “Every night, all the males are on guard,” she said. “All of us, women and children, are together when we sleep due to the threats of looting.”

Now, the pastor added, they feel more assured of security because more armed forces have been deployed to the city.

Other church members have been living in jeepneys, the most common form of public transportation in the Philippines.

Since relief goods have finally arrived, food is less of a worry, Picardal Terana  reported. Church members also need items such as wood, roofing materials, roof sealants, nails, big mosquito nets and mosquito repellent lotions and sprays.

*Mangiduyos is a deaconess in the United Methodist Philippines Central Conference and a professor at Wesleyan University-Philippines in Cabanatuan City. News media contact: Linda Bloom, New York, (646) 369-3759 or [email protected].

Support UMCOR’s relief and recovery work in the Philippines by contributing to International Disaster Response, Advance #982450.


Like what you're reading?  United Methodist Communications is celebrating 80 years of ministry! Your support ensures the latest denominational news, dynamic stories and informative articles will continue to connect our global community.  Make a tax-deductible donation at ResourceUMC.org/GiveUMCom.

Sign up for our newsletter!

umnews-subscriptions
Racism
The Rev. David Maldonado. Video image courtesy of IMU Latina (Iglesia Metodista Unida Latina) via YouTube by UM News.

Church must hear Hispanic/Latino voices

The lack of voices from Latin America represents a major gap in the global conversations occurring in The United Methodist Church.
Mission and Ministry
Bishop Rodolfo A. Juan (in red stole) and a team of United Methodists pray over generators for the Bicol Philippines Conference. The generators from United Methodist Communications are being loaned to churches to provide free charging to communities affected by a series of powerful typhoons in the Philippines. Photo by Jerome Mercado.

United Methodists rally to help typhoon survivors

From sheltering evacuees to raising money, gathering supplies and sharing generators, Filipino United Methodists and church partners are embracing those affected by recent storms.
Mission and Ministry
The heavy rains brought by Hurricane Eta caused major flooding, especially in the northern part of the Honduras. Tocoa was one of the areas affected by the floods and United Methodists are supporting the recovery of the affected communities. Photo courtesy of the United Methodist Mission.

United Methodists in Honduras face tragedy with solidarity

After Hurricane Eta brought devastation to Honduras, United Methodist churches mobilized to provide food, supplies and shelter.