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Paul Varberg - Class of 1976

posted Nov 11, 2013, 4:50 PM by Faith Academy Alumni Coordinator   [ updated May 14, 2015, 5:04 PM ]
Dear Family & Friends,

I have lived in the Philippines for many years and I have experience four Super Typhoons and dozens of typical typhoons in the past that have caused great destruction but those storms were nothing like Typhoon Yolanda which hit Tacloban City a few days ago. Hundreds of electric posts are down so we will not have power for maybe a month or more, all cell towers in our area of Leyte are also damaged so we do not have cell phone coverage and we do not have email. I am sending this one email through a government relief service. Please forward this to others who know of our ministry because I was not allowed to send this to too many people.

All staff and families of Bethel staff are fine, but they all experienced the storm of their lives. I was supposed to leave for mission meetings the day before the storm but I decided to just let Margie go on our behalf and I stayed to look after the school through the storm. So Margie and Vicki were not with me in Tacloban during the storm. Margie was in Cebu City and Vicki was in Manila at Faith Academy.

I have attached a picture of what the Bethel staff apartments looks like after the storm. The roof is completely gone. Many of the things in the attic are scattered across the fields behind the school.

When the storm started at 6 a.m. I gathered the two American volunteer teachers and the two Chinese teachers and we positioned ourselves in front of the big window in the attic and in our bedrooms because, as usual in Super Typhoons, the wind can blow water around the edges of the glass. But after about thirty minutes of mopping up water leakage the storm ramped up to the next level. The windows the second floor were blown in and shattered. Fortunately, my back was to the window when that happened and God protected me for the glass missiles that were blasted across the room, other than a few small cuts on my head and legs I am OK. The girls came screaming down from the attic because they said the roof is lifting. Sure enough it was blown off piece by piece until very little remained. We then sought refuge in first floor bathrooms.

Later when the wind shifted to the other side of the house, I went into our room to try and rescue my camera, laptop, and hard drives, I found that half of our king size bed was broken and thrown out the window. Margie's desk is gone, too. I have only found a few pieces of it. Pictures from our many photo albums were either floating or plastered to the wall.

I cannot say much since this email is only sent through a relief services but please pass the word that we are safe. Here are a couple pictures of the school.

I have attached a picture of what the school looked like before the storm.

This second picture shows what the storm did. The Lord gives and the Lord takes away, but we bless the Lord for his continued kindness and love.

Most of the roof is gone and windows were also blown in. So damage to classroom equipment and books is significant.

We had been in the process of building the High School Gym.

Though it was engineered to handle a typical super typhoon, this typhoon was even beyond a super typhoon.

Later I will send picture of the rest of the City.

I have just attached one sample of the destruction this storm caused to a subdivision of concrete homes near our airport.

Even though the storm arrived at low tide, the storm surge in downtown Tacloban raised the sea level above the roof of the MacDonald's restaurant. Many died and food and other goods on the first floor of downtown stores was flooded.

Please pray for us that we will adjust to life without electricity, limited water, and almost no communication. For the school to continue God will need to supply funds to repair the buildings and to replace a lot of books, projectors, microphones, sounds systems, computers, furniture and other things that were damaged. Pray that donations will come in soon so that we will be able to operate the school by January.

The biggest problem here is that everyone is effected. All the police men in town lost their homes, most of the carpenters lost their homes, most of the hardware stores lost their roofs. This will make repairs even more difficult because so much of our city is destroyed.

We love all of you and we Praise God we are alive and healthy.

Your missionary,


Editor's Note: We now have a link to an organization that is taking donations for the rebuilding of Paul's school: