“I will redeem and rescue you with an outstretched (vigorous, powerful) arm and with great acts of judgment.” – Exodus 6:6b
I had the privilege of spending time with a very dynamic woman of God. As I listened to her story I felt I was standing in the midst of a living epistle.
By Autumn Nims
Marlyn Impang graduated from Living Rock Ministries School in Calbayog, Philippines. Together with her husband, they took a ministry in Tacloban. Ministry was not easy; but they had a meager home, a small church to lead and a town that looked to them for spiritual leadership.
In 2014 typhoon Yolanda hit. The news reports were downplaying the storm’s intensity. The people living in Tacloban were taken by surprise. Storm surges of water up to 30 feet high overtook the town. The storm hit in the early morning hours in pitch black darkness. There was no phone service, no power, no light. Marlyn said she clung to a pole for four hours. She described it as being in a washing machine, churning for what seemed like an eternity. finally she prayed to God: “Lord, if my family dies take me too.” She did not want to stay in this world without her family. Miraculously, she made it till dawn and so did her family. It took days for the water to recede. Ships were washed up into the center of town. Bodies were floating everywhere. All drinking water was contaminated. The smell of decaying bodies permeating every crack and crevice.
Marlyn and Ronald Impang were encouraged by their family to leave the contaminated city. Some even said they would let them come and live with them in Manila. It was recorded that 20,000 bodies were laying all around the area. There was no food, no water and no shelter. It seemed right to leave, but Marlyn prayed and asked God to help her know what was right.
Out of the whole town, only five families were left. Ronald and Marlyn decided it was God’s will to stay and pastor those five families. Those five families needed them. They needed their encouragement. God showed them that He intended to use them by his mighty outstretched arm to minister in their devastated community.
Slowly they rebuilt their home, and the church. God made it possible for the devastated church to be a staging area for feeding and giving out water. Through it, Ronald and Marlyn became Jesus’ outstretched arm to an entire city. Today Tacloban is a thriving community again, but it still has many needs. Children lost their parents that day. and parents lost their children. There are many street children who have no families and no way to support themselves.
You can help Marlyn and Ronald serve the people and meet their communities ongoing needs and that of the street children by giving to Living Rock Ministries.
Autumn Nims is the Executive Director of International Women’s Ministries.