A team of missionaries from Modesto’s Shelter Cove Community Church were greeted with cheers Friday after returning from the Philippines.
They were caught in Typhoon Haiyan, which devastated parts of the island nation. They rode out the storm in a sturdier structure than most residents had and were able to distribute aid and fulfill their spiritual mission as well by helping to comfort victims.
“It’s very moving to see what other people go through, how they didn’t have as much safety as we had,” said missionary team member Erica Vail.
The team was surprised at the “Welcome Home” signs, bright balloons and applause.
“I’m blown away,” said J.P. Hurlbert, whose wife greeted him at the church.
Rosni is from Fiji and knows what hurricanes can do. She said she only had one phone conversation with her husband after the storm.
“It was about 12 to 15 hours of wait just to hear his voice and it was about 75 seconds … I worried about him and I worried for the team,” said Roshni.
To a person, the missionaries credited the Lord with allowing them to help in some small way and to be able to bring spiritual support, too.
The team and loved ones took part in a group prayer, thanking God for their safety and for the well-being of typhoon victims.
“We get to come home, but our heart is still there. We still want to pray for those people and would love to continue to help them is any way we can,” said Jaime Grover, the team’s co-leader along with her husband Gene.
They also know more help is needed.