For Bishop Marco B. Yopo of Guinobatan 1st Ward, Legazpi Philippines Stake, ministering to the members of his ward in the aftermath of back-to-back disasters can be quite a challenge. Members of his ward bore the brunt of four consecutive storms in the past six weeks, practically every weekend since the last week of October.
One example is the Nota-Sanchez family, who were preparing to evacuate to safer ground when the rushing waters came without a warning. According to 16-year-old daughter Arlyn who survived, when their house was hit by the initial impact of the pyroclastic (lahar) mudflow, the family members got separated in the flood. She was carried by the torrent of muddy water, almost buried by sand and rocks. She only managed to survive because she was able to hold on to a tree branch when her feet felt solid ground.
Arlyn’s mother, Marilou, and her two brothers were not as lucky. The lifeless body of the 49-year-old mother of five was found near their house. The body of youngest child Enrique, 10, was found 30 kilometers downstream during the funeral wake for Marilou. Oldest son Manny, 18, is still missing.
Members of the ward have been doing their best to tend to the survivors of this ill-fated family. They grieve with them for the three lives lost and offer encouragement as they consider the grim prospects of starting over with only the clothes on their backs.
Area Temporal Preparedness Guide
When caring for the temporal needs of his ward members overwhelm him, Bishop Yopo looks to the welfare and self-reliance principles taught by the Church. Since “by small and simple means are great things brought to pass” (Alma 37:6), he believes that when he persuades the members to act in faith and do their part to care for their temporal needs, God will magnify their small and simple efforts.
To help align the efforts of faithful members to the established pattern revealed by the Lord, the Church will release temporal preparedness guidelines geared towards the specific needs of Filipinos. This special resource will magnify the efforts of the members to become more prepared in times of natural disasters, calamities, and many other crises.
Offered as an addition to currently available Church literature on the Emergency Preparedness, Food Storage, Financial Planning, and other related topics found on providentliving.churchofjesuschrist.org, this new tool is specifically adapted for Church members in the Philippines. It is updated to include the most essential aspects of temporal preparedness including planning guides, worksheets, checklists, and diagrams in an easy-to-use, visually appealing format. It also includes a timely new section on Emotional Preparedness, so that members can also be prepared to cope with and adapt to emerging related challenges.
The manual contains two parts — one part with guidelines and activities for individuals and families and another part for councils: stakes, wards, and presidencies. It will soon be available in English from the Gospel Library app or the Church website.
Upon learning of this new resource, Bishop Yopo rejoiced at the idea of having a manual that would allow families to thoroughly prepare themselves in the following aspects:
• Emergency Planning
• Home Storage and Production
• Financial Preparedness
• Emotional Preparedness
“Be ye doers of the word” (James 1:22)
“As soon as we receive this Temporal Preparedness Guide, I will mobilize my ward council to make sure every family gets a copy. I will ask the Relief Society and Elders Quorum presidents to make the distribution and study of the manual the assignment of every ministering brother and sister,” Bishop Yopo shares excitedly. “This will help our members recover faster, and prepare them to meet similar challenges in the future,” he adds.
It is expected that this groundbreaking resource material will magnify the efforts of local priesthood leaders and bless the lives of Filipino Latter-day Saints as they strive for self-reliance in the face of adversity. God’s promise that 'If ye are prepared ye shall not fear' (Doctrine and Covenants 38:30) will be realized if we all study and apply the principles in this new manual. ◼︎