First there were back-to-back typhoons, and now a volcano was erupting?
Pastor Danny Macuha, an MVI missionary in the Philippines, could see the giant plume from the Taal volcano as he prepared to board the ferry home. What is happening now, God? he wondered.
Pastor Danny had spent the last month responding to the needs of the hurting and weary, pointing them to Jesus. On top of the busy Christmas season, Danny and his team had been on the island of Mindoro which had been hit by two strong typhoons that hit within weeks of each other, killing dozens and leaving thousands homeless.
Now Danny was almost home to his family when he witnessed the eruption of smoke and ash rising from the island of Luzon. He feared an even larger eruption was coming, and sent messages asking for prayer.
Andrew Marriott, Executive Director of MotiVate (Missionary Ventures NewZealand) has worked closely with Danny for years and immediately rallied people to pray. “It is an honour to work with leaders such as Ps Danny as he has a deep, sacrificial love for the people he serves and the respect and trust of his fellow leaders.”
Pastor Danny, and his response to the crises in his country, is a perfect example of what Missionary Ventures wants to see happen in every community around the world. We are equipping and empowering people to reach the world for Christ and respond effectively when needs arise.
“Many times, MVI will relate to crises where we have missionary ‘boots on the ground,'” says MVI President Bill Snell. “In doing so, our missionary response is directed through well developed and trusted relationships with indigenous pastors and leaders. Responding to a crisis in this relational manner helps to ensure that our response is best administrated with reduced risk and waste of money and supplies.”
Pastor Danny is one of those “boots on the ground” in the Philippines, where he has a deep love for the people and he can minister specifically to their needs.
“Pastor Danny is passionate to see lost souls come to Christ, and is loved and highly respected by youth and older generations alike,” says Andrew. “He is a strategic, visionary leader of high integrity who I consider not only to be a valued co-worker for the Kingdom but also a dear friend.”
Born and raised in the Philippines, Danny was the pastor of a large church before he felt a call to missions across the islands. “He is well connected with churches across the Batangas region and Mindoro island, and has been instrumental in coordinating them to work together for outreach and other activities, especially disaster relief,” says Andrew.
Pastor Danny has many ongoing ministries he is pouring time and energy into, like an education program, feeding programs for malnourished children, hygiene programs, church planting, and community development programs. He wants to see each one of these areas grow and develop, but he now also has an urgent need to respond to the hurting. And with the volcano disaster happening before his eyes, he knows there will be more.
As the volcano continued to erupt, the ferry carried Pastor Danny home, as tens of thousands were being evacuated. Within a day of arriving back home, Pastor Danny – along with his family and local leaders – collected relief goods and set to work handing out baby food, milk and other essential items in the evacuation centers.
Danny wrote to Andrew again a few days later: “Continue to pray for our safety. We are preparing for a possible evacuation if we experience a big eruption. As of now we have sent food packs, hygiene kits and blankets to churches who have been accepting evacuees.”
Please pray for Pastor Danny and all those in the Philippines affected by recent disasters. Pray for stability, and for the spread of the gospel across the country. To help Missionary Ventures continue to equip more local leaders like Pastor Danny, consider a gift to Where Most Needed today. To help us respond to more evacuees or be ready if a larger eruption occurs, indicate “crisis response.”