Living Water for Panay Island

By: Karl Ragan

A team of four Texas Baptist Men Disaster Relief volunteers arrived on Panay Island, one of over 1,000 inhabited islands in the Philippines, on March 21, 2014. Using Iloilo City as home base, we spent our days training pastors to build and maintain a bucket-water filtration system. This is not as easy as it may sound.

The actual training is simple, but the logistics of obtaining the needed materials and getting to the remote sites of the training proved to be anything but simple. Thankfully, God went before us and prepared the way. Therefore, the team consisting of: Phil Davenport, Bill Slunder, Bobby Wychopen and I, have many personal stories of victory and countless God moments to share.

Super Typhoon Yolanda, a category 5 storm, not only destroyed homes and in some cases entire towns, it destroyed the already limited sources of safe water. The people of Panay Island are a resourceful and creative people and took what little was left and fashioned homes and businesses out of the rubble. However, man cannot create water and without specialized equipment cannot make unsafe water safe. TBM answered their plea for help. Through the generous gifts of Baptist, TBM shipped 3,000 filters and faucets from Texas to the people of Panay Island. We purchased the buckets on Panay Island that will hold the water.

Over a two week span, we trained over eighty pastors in four provinces. We taught them how to build and maintain a water filtration system. These pastors will now train their church members. Words cannot express the experience of watching a pastor sit in the midst of the ruins of a church building, learn how to make a water filtration system and then take the materials and make his own filtration system. The joy on their faces as they drank pure clean water from the buckets they had just assembled was priceless and unforgettable.

While the pure safe water will help restore health and hope to the people, it is not physical water that we took to Panay Island but the Living Water of Jesus Christ that will change lives. Please remember the pastors of Panay Island and pray that each and every bucket will lead those who drink from them to a saving relationship with God through Jesus Christ.