A STOURBRIDGE pastor is once again on a mission to help rebuild a natural disaster hit community overseas – this time in the Philippines in the aftermath of Typhoon Haiyan.
Pastor Peter Jenkins, a long-time former minister of Amblecote Christian Centre who spearheaded the News Group’s tsunami appeal to help rebuild a school in Thailand, flew to the Philippines before Christmas to see if there was anything he could do to help in the wake of the November 8 tragedy.
The 68-year-old pastor, who is now missions director for Victory Church in Wales, headed out to Tacloban, one of the worst affected areas, after hearing friends had perished in the disaster which killed more than 6,000 people in total and displaced millions.
He said he witnessed "death, destruction and devastation everywhere" and on returning to the UK he told how the ten-day trip left him in “emotional trauma”, adding: "To see children holding out their hands for a bread roll and then come back to our over indulgence was hard to cope with."
Now working with members of the Welsh church and survivors on the ground in the Philippines – the plucky pastor is driving forward a relief project to rebuild a church that was destroyed in the coastal village of San Jose in Tacloban.
He said: “It is a very poor area but we are making a difference.
“We are rebuilding a church that was destroyed and this will be used as a feeding centre and a pre-school for local children.
“A lot of the food that has been donated has ended up with the military and is being sold in shops in Manila.”
Pastor Jenkins, who has run Jenkins and Ryan Steel in Stourbridge for more than 30 years, was the driving force behind the News group’s tsunami appeal which raised £87,000 to help rebuild Kamala School in Kamala Bay, Phuket, Thailand, which had been flattened by the killer Boxing Day wave of 2004.
Following a year-long fundraising campaign, a partnership with Pastor Brian Burton at Phuket Christian Centre, Stourbridge businessman Geoff Hill and Stourbridge Rotary Club, the school re-opened in March 2006.
Now Pastor Jenkins hopes the swift and successful relief project can be emulated in the Philippines where he has worked with church groups for the last 30 years - and he is appealing for donations to help raise the £20,000 needed for the church rebuild and feeding centre project.
He said: "I'm hoping to get it built within two months.
"When we were involved in the tsunami project every pound donated went to Kamala School. Once again every pound goes to the project and no other charity can say that.
"People know if they give to anything I'm involved in every penny goes to the appeal. It is always better to give wherever possible to people who are working on the ground rather than the big agencies.
"Brian Burton proved that in Thailand and it resulted in the King recognising what we had done."
Anyone wishing to help give the appeal a boost can donate to Victory Church Missions (account number 25385760, sort code 77-62-12, reference – Philippines).