A few weeks ago we had warnings of category 5 Cyclone Ian hitting Tonga. So we did all the prepping and praying we could and then stayed up all night waiting for it to hit us. Thankfully, it never did hit the biggest and most populated island of Tonga. But it slammed Tonga in the Ha'apai group leveling 900 homes and damaging more. Of the 8,000 residents, most are still without power. The Cyclone tore up crops, coconuts, and damaged water tanks leaving most Tongans with polluted or no water. Cows and horses dropped dead from the heat as all the shade is gone with the trees. The decaying corpses lay every where as the Tongan's scrambled to preserve the meat. Desperate people began looting Chinese shops and young children could be seen running off with food.
Our hearts broke when we heard the news and we began praying that we could go up and help. Within a day our prayers were answered with a call from Samaritan's Purse, an organization that responds and brings relief to disaster areas. They desperately wanted to assess the damage so they could send assistance with tarps. They paid all expenses (plus more!) to send Chris and our friend Sam to take pictures of the damage and meet with the pastors and leaders in Ha'apai. They then sent Chris up a second time with volunteers from Australia to meet with the Church of Tonga and make arrangements for sending tarps. When the tarps arrive Chris will be assisting a pastor with distributing the tarps to those who need it most and helping put the tarps up.
Chris had made arrangements with a resort for us to stay in exchange for him helping with clean up and fixing up the place. They called yesterday and said no, they've changed their minds. They would allow him, but not his family. Sooo, we're kind of frustrated because our desire is for our family to go up with Chris and help him deliver the tarps from Samaritan's Purse and then stay for the next 3 months helping people rebuild their homes. I'm looking now for a place to stay that has clean water, a roof, and a toilet! But as of right now our other option is to find a place to camp. We will need assistance with a place to stay, and food and water as they are very limited and expensive now. Most people in Ha'apai have no means or skills to rebuild and as Chris has had experience building our house out of local materials he will be very helpful. Seeing the devastation it is almost impossible to NOT do something. How can we live this close and NOT help the Tongan people? Which is why we will do whatever we can to get our family to Ha'apai regardless of whether we have a decent place to stay or not. We have been called to these people and we can't turn away when they need it most.
If you want to help us help them please donate on our paypal account. We do not have an exact amount as we're still trying to find a place ( remember this is Tonga, things move a bit slower) but our needs will be for three months (food, water, roof) and for the ferry which would be around $300 US round trip.