LACONIA — Grace Capital Church plans to hold a fundraiser dinner and silent auction at it's Laconia campus on Friday, Jan. 31 at 6 p.m. to raise funds for support of mission teams which will be going to the Philippines in February and March to help with Typhoon Haiyan relief efforts.
''It was the most powerful typhoon in history yet the world seems basically seems to have forgotten about it already,'' says Christine St. Cyr, who along with her husband, Ron, is one of those who plans to travel to the city of Ormoc on the island of Leyte to help rebuild homes and public buildings, including a historic church.
The typhoon, which hit the Philippines, on November 8, is unofficially the strongest typhoon ever recorded in terms of wind speed, with sustained 10-minute wind speeds of 175 miles per hour and one-minute sustained winds of 196 miles per hour. It killed at least 6,183 people in the Philippines and left 11 million people homeless.
Ormoc, a city of 191,200, was largely destroyed by Typhoon Haiyan, (also known as Yolanda) and the city previously suffered similar destruction and loss of life in 1991 during typhoon Thelma.
Ron St. Cyr says that the church hopes to raise enough funds to send two mission teams of 15 or more people to Ormoc with the first team leaving on Feb. 22 and returning on March 7 with a second team arriving on March 7 and returning on March 22.
He said that donations are being sought for the silent auction and that the church is seeking monetary donations which can be made to the church to help support the effort.
''The money will be used to buy local materials for our work. We're going to supply the manpower and woman power and repair as many homes as we can manage. There's a historic church we'll be working on as well,'' says St. Cyr, a veteran of overseas relief projects in all parts of the world who has gone on at least 20 similar missions in eastern Europe, Asia, South America and Alaska.
Tickets for the dinner are $10 per person and $25 per family and according to church pastor Mark Warren, who says that the meal will be catered by Contiagiani's. He urges that tickets be purchased prior to the event so that the caterer will know how much food to prepare.
''Faith motivates us and compels us to do this. We're going to try and meet the practical needs of the people there as best we can,'' says Warren, who says that such relief efforts ''are part of the very DNA of our church.''
He said that the church is involved in a host of other missions, including clean water projects in Africa and other disaster relief efforts. ''We have so much in our country and the sacrifice we make is so small compared to what the people there have suffered. This project provides an immense amount of hope to those who have lost their homes and been uprooted.''
Chris St. Cyr says that in addition to the humanitarian effort, the church members will also be working to spread the good news of the gospel during the mission effort.
For more information visit the church's website at www.gccnh.com.
CAPTION: photo slugged St. Cyr
Ron and Christine St. Cyr and Pastor Mark Warren of Grace Capital Church discuss plans for a fundraising dinner and auction which will be held at the church's downtown Laconia campus on January 31. The event will raise funds to send mission teams to the Philippines to help with rebuilding of homes destroyed in Typhoon Haiyan last November. (Roger Amsden/for The Laconia Daily Sun)