Typhoon Relief Efforts Hit Close to Home for Afton Organization

November 14, 2013

An Afton-based organization is bringing relief to victims of last week’s typhoon in the Philippines. The storm hit close to home for Advancing Native Missions.

The group has aided nearly 80 countries working with missionaries. Its latest focus is on the area destroyed by the storm. They already had ministry partners on the ground in the Philippines before the typhoon hit.

Marlou Barredo is the wife of one of the group’s co-founders. She was born and raised in Tacloban City, the center of the devastation.

Now, she and her husband, with the help of partners at Advancing Native Missions, are using their platform to bring relief to her hometown and so many others.

"That just really breaks my heart to know that these people, my people, are starving. They haven't had food in days. They haven't had clean water, and you see the streets littered with dead bodies and it's just so overwhelming, " said Barredo. "The need is just tremendous."

Barredo has not been able to speak with any of her nearly 100 relatives in the path of the destruction.

"Just to hear the voice at the other end would bring me to tears," she said.

She has received word that some of her family members are okay, but the fate of several others is still unknown.

"A cousin of mine and his family -- he had two daughters and a wife -- they've all been listed as missing," said Barredo.

A pregnant niece is also unaccounted for.

Barredo and her family are part of the Waray people, who make up many of the storm’s victims.

"The poorest people are Waray Waray peoples. They're very impoverished. In fact, the word Waray Waray means 'nothing, nothing,'" said Bo Barredo, Marlou’s husband and co-founder of Advancing Native Missions.

Typhoons are not uncommon in the area. Dealing with disaster has made residents tough.

"They're known for their courage and bravery because the storms that come yearly upon them have made them strong as a people. They can face adversities. Why do I know that? Because I married one," he said.

The Barredos hope to use their unique experience with missionary work to try to help family members and thousands of other victims from across the world.

"I am just thankful to the Lord that, at a time such as, this I am here. I may be thousands of miles away and it pains me, but at the same time, I am thankful that He has placed me in a position where I am, that I would be able to help my suffering people," said Marlou.

Advancing Native Missions is collecting money, food and other items to be sent to its ministry partners in the most devastated areas. Two of its medical mission teams have already begun treating victims.

To see what supplies they need and how you can donate, click HERE.

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