While residents in the Philippines struggle for normalcy in the aftermath of Typhoon Yolanda (Haiyan), church congregations in the area are continuing to have regular worship.
Typhoon Yolanda roared through the Central Philippines last week, killing almost 4,000 people. That number is expected to hike up as recovery efforts continue.
Relief work from the church started immediately after the storm. Rev. Edwin Bacaltos, of the Church of Our Mother of Perpetual Help in central Tacloban, told CNN that many of the survivors are asking why God would allow so much destruction in the predominantly Catholic area.
“"God is not the cause of the suffering,” he said. “God cannot prevent this. This is the work of nature."
Congregations are meeting in construction sites and shells of former churches as they wait for repairs from the typhoon. The worship offers survivors a glimpse of hope amid the devastation.
“Hold on to your faith, be strong, and Tacloban will rise again," the Rev. Isagani Petilos told his congregation Sunday.
In a prayer in a Filipino senate session Monday, Filipino Senate Minority Leader Juan Ponce Enrile prayed for strength.
“Strengthen our faith that we may overcome and be born again into a new world wiser and more human to the needs of others,” he said.
Also Monday, the Foreign Aid Transparency Hub (FAiTH) launched. The hub is meant to detail information on help and donations for better transparency. The total foreign aid pledge in FAiTH is about $271 million.