Monday morning, I awake before the boys and go downstairs and around the alleyway to the front door of Apollo's home. I let myself inside, and Apollo's wife is sitting in the front room watching the morning news. She speaks very little English, and I speak even less Cebuano. Try none. So our communication was basically just smiling at each other.
I motion towards the bathroom and say I'm going to shower. She puts her hand up to hold me off for a second and goes to grab a pair of flip-flops from the bedroom. She puts them in front of my feet and motions for me to wear them in the bathroom. Granted, my feet hung off the ends by about two inches.
I proceed to shower with the small spout on the wall and a tiny bucket for water. My dad always told me about showering with a bucket from his time on the mission. But that story was so far removed from me that I never really took it in. Well, here I was. An ice cold bucket of water.
I showered as well as I could, watching geckos crawl in and out of the cracks above my head. I emerge from the bathroom just as Mace and Walter come into the room. Apollo has prepared all of us breakfast, and we sit down to eat. Mangos, rice, and ulam, which is a blend of meats and vegetables to put over rice.
After breakfast, we quickly pack up our things and take off, heading for the church building where our goods are stored. We plan to begin another hunt for Preston. At the church, Mace makes several phone calls, and then takes off with Apollo's son to try more urgently to locate Preston. Walter and I lay down on the church pews and fall asleep. Awhile later, Mace comes into the room, accompanied with Preston!
They tell me they have an amazing story to share, and proceed to tell me about their conversation when first getting ahold of each other. I sit up while Mace and Preston both share one of the greatest miracles I've ever witnessed
Preston begins by sharing that while waiting to get ahold of Mace and I yesterday, he attended a church service on a different side of Cebu. As Preston is a trained EMT, he was wearing his shirt with medical insignia and standing at the back of the chapel. A couple of Filipinos approached, dressed in similar medical clothes, and asked him what he was doing in Cebu. Preston explained to them that he is a trained EMT and had come to help with typhoon relief. However, he explained, he could not get ahold of his fellow travelers, so he was just attending church while he waited for contact.
The Filippino group introduced themselves as a small EMT group from Manilla. They respond to emergency relief efforts all over the country, and call themselves ZEDRU, for Zion Emergency Disaster Relief Unit. They are also on their way to help with typhoon relief and stopped in Cebu to attend church and wait for their supplies and relief goods to arrive. They tell Preston that until their goods arrive from Manila, they are unable to secure boat tickets to get to the island of Tacloban.
Then Mace jumps into the story and shares how Mace, Walter, and I spent the entire prior day using our donation money to prepare hundreds of relief packages, and we were simply waiting for Preston so we could determine transportation to the island.
Then Preston and Mace tell us that we have agreed to join teams and travel together to the outskirting cities of Tacloban. We have the relief goods to go to the island now, and now we have a medically trained team that will lead us in more effective efforts. Later, we find out that ZEDRU normally travels in a group of 10. However, 4 of their members were unable to join this emergency relief effort, but the remaining 6 decided to go anyways. Then, the 4 of us miraculously came along to fill in the vacancies...
Now the slight delay in our journey makes sense; God had a mighty miracle up His sleeve that He had been working long before we even left for this trip. We all smile at each other as we affirm the greater plan of our two small teams meeting and merging.
Immediately Mace, Walter, Preston, and I begin to load up our goods. No time to waste in meeting our new team and getting over to the island. Clearly there is a path prepared for us.
We depart more confident than ever that God will lead the way.
Upward and onward,
Preston meets ZEDRU at church.