Waiting for word from relatives in super typhoon's path

St. Louis County (KSDK) - Forget the physical distance from the destruction. Typhoon Haiyan is a very personal storm for many St. Louisans.

"I feel so nervous because I have relatives there in Visayas," says Pastor Rolando Manrique.

"I've been trying to get in touch with my brother," echoes Aris Loste.

Both men are associated with the Filipino American Christian Church in south St. Louis County. Both men are worried.

Of the hundreds of families associated with the church in St. Louis and throughout the region, Pastor Ramon Revilla estimates as many as half have relatives they have yet to reach in the aftermath of the storm.

"We are praying a lot, talking a lot and preparing ourselves on what we can do," says Pastor Revilla who says the church is sending money now and supplies as soon as possible.

Meanwhile, the Manwill family in west St. Louis County waited for word from their son in the Philippines Monday night. They sent 21 year old Aaron on a Mormon mission trip to the Philippines nearly two years ago. The city where he is staying was in the direct path of the super typhoon.

"You're searching on the internet, calling people, networking trying to find out (information.) It's like you're back in the dark ages," says his father Aaron Manwill.

Monday night, they finally got word by email their son is okay, and a picture of the home where he rode out the storm.

He wrote them that death is all around him.

"There was a storm before I left but it wasn't like that," says Aaron's older brother Larry.

He just returned from a mission to the Philippines and has an idea how Aaron is coping.

"He's back into that missionary…mentality. Work, work, work. Serve, serve, serve," says Larry Manwill.

The Manwill family expects Aaron back in St. Louis by the middle of December – unless he stays longer to help with recovery.

Back at the Filipino American Christian Church Pastor Revilla says donations for the relief effort will be distributed through partner churches in the Philippines and can be sent to the following address:

Filipino American Christian Church

c/o South County Baptist Church

12995 Tesson Ferry Rd

St Louis, MO 63128


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