Former OC president, alumnus lead Philippines relief efforts
Oklahoma Christian University alumnus Salvador Cariaga is helping lead the efforts to provide relief to the Philippines after Typhoon Yolanda hit on Nov. 8, claiming as many as 10,000 lives.
Cariaga is the executive director of ministries for Shepherd's Hill International and Oklahoma Christian president emeritus Mike O'Neal is on the ministry's board of trustees.
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Most of the buildings — and goats — at Arapal Christian Camp are gone, says Salvador Cariaga, a Church of Christ missionary who oversees the camp on the island of Cebu in the Philippines.
Typhoon Yolanda, a Category 5 storm with winds approaching 200 miles per hour, ripped across the northern tip of the island on Nov. 8. The storm, one of the strongest in recorded history, may have claimed as many as 10,000 lives, CNN reports.
The storm destroyed much of Arapal camp, a church-supported demonstration farm where Christians practice sustainable agriculture and livelihood projects. Shepherd's Hill International, also known as Give A Goat, contributes to the work, as do other church-supported nonprofits, including the Christian Relief Fund. Nearly 50 people who huddled in one of the camp's concrete structures survived the storm.
"Lost all our buildings in Arapal, but glad no lives were lost — just goats, but not the dreams" Cariaga reports via Facebook. Currently in Texas raising funds for the work, the missionary is in contact with a team of volunteers surveying the damage.
In March, a team of students from Southwest Christian School in Fort Worth, Texas, worked at the camp to build a new home for Bebe, a recovering alcoholic who lives on the camp's property. (Read the story of Bebe's transformation.)
That home is now a mass of broken limbs and tarp, Cariaga says.
"We will reach out and give relief," he adds, "rebuild and restore, renew and revive."