Cyclone Pam came and went and left a lot of damage in her wake. God protected all the people of our language group and no one was injured or killed during the category 5 storm. Virtually everyone in our village lost at least one building, however.
The death toll in Vanuatu for this cyclone was very minimal, considering, which most attribute to the fact that the majority of people here live in thatch houses, which when smashed are less deadly than a tin, timber, or cement house would be in a more developed nation. Thirteen are confirmed dead, according to Vanuatu Daily Digest, out of a population of about 250,000. We are grateful for how God spared our lives and those of our people, and our house as well. We are also grateful for the prayers and encouragement of our friends around the world.
Many people have asked how to help, and we have been directing people to an account set up by our friends Ian and Joanna Walter with Build Aid. Ian helped build our house, and has been working the last year or so on building a school on the far side of our language group. (He took the above picture at a school in Linbul village north of us about an hour's drive.) Ian came out to check on us a day or two after the cyclone, chartering a plane in order to get to us. He brought a satellite phone, which allowed us to contact our parents for the first time and let them know we were alright. From there, they were able to pass the word along through Facebook. They have set up a fund that will go toward rebuilding in North Ambrym that you can access at www.gofundme.com/builaidcyclone We are ok personally for supplies and such, but many of our friends could use assistance. If you prefer to give toward needed building repairs in Vila where we go to resupply, you can give toward that same fund, but just e-mail us and let us know you'd like the money allocated for that, and we'll communicate that to Ian and Jo. The fund is not tax-deductible, unfortunately, so if you need tax deduction, organizations like Samaritan's Purse, the Red Cross, and Save the Children are helping Vanuatu with relief as well. Just be aware that gifts to these organizations can't be specified to Ambrym where we are ministering, but can go to help Vanuatu relief efforts overall.