One of our mission presidents was kidnapped and held hostage there several years ago. Needless to say there are security issues there. However there are also several LDS Charities projects there.
A few weeks ago, Elder Benson Misalucha came into our office and said we need to go there to close out one of our projects in Cagayan De Oro. We looked surprised as he said Sister Hadlock would also go. It has been many years since a white sister has been allowed to travel to that island. He looked directly at Sister Hadlock when he said "It is because of your great faith that you are going".
One of our dreams was to go to that island. It is one of the most beautiful islands in the Philippines.
Our project was to build temporary shelters for those displaced by Typhoon Sendong. Thousands needed shelter from this 2011 typhoon. Most of the families have relocated to a permanent shelter, but a few families are waiting for that opportunity.
The shelters are made to accommodate a family of five, but can be enlarged to accommodate more when needed. When they leave, they can take the materials with them and enlarge their permanent home.
This project was done in conjunction with CRS (Catholic Relief Services), USAID and Single Drop. We like to partner with other organizations. This allows more to be done if we pool our resources.
This project was also well organized and overseen by the families living there. Committees were formed and responsibilities divided up. An exact count was also maintained of those remaining and still needing permanent shelter.
Not far away were permanent shelters being built by 'Habitat for Humanity'. The families were really enjoying these new accommodations that were being completed. Another big plus is they are on high ground and away from dangerous areas prone to flooding.
Sister Hadlock is being taught in the art of mud pie making by the local professionals. She loves the encounters with the wonderful children.
We feel so fortunate to be able to visit this special place with great hardships and hope to return as we may be allowed. We are truly being watched over.