ROBERT, La. - 'The winds were stronger than Katrina, although it reminded me a lot of Katrina.' But Diane Lee says the devastation across the Philippines from Typhoon Haiyan, which she and her husband survived, is overwhelming.
She said, 'North of our island here, there's a lot of destruction and damage, but the island is almost in total collapse on the island of Leyte.'
Diane and Doug Lee have been living in the Philippines for a year, running a ministry teaching music and English at a bible college and doing outreach at 80 churches. Many of those were destroyed in the storm, along with members' homes and likely many of their lives. The mission is affiliated with Crossgate Church in Robert, where Diane's brother is pastor.
'We went almost two days and couldn't communicate with them,' said Pastor Louis Husser. 'We were very concerned, a bit unnerving, and then she was able to get a little bit of electricity up to send a few emails and make a couple of phone calls.'
In June, Crossgate Church was broken into and money raised by vacation bible school children, to buy a car for the ministry in the Philippines, was stolen. But after our story, people helped raise six-times what was stolen, and the car was purchased. It survived the storm and now people can help the church help others again.
Husser said, 'On the island they're on, Negros, the banks are open where they can get some money out, get some items that's desperately needed now and get them into the hands of these students and say go back and find your family. Take this to them.'
It's a recovery the Lee's are ready to take on.
If you'd like to help the Lee's efforts through Crossgate Church of Robert, you can call them at 985-345-0827 or visit their Facebook page here:
Husser says all donations will be put directly into the ministry's account in the Philippines.