It is with great sadness that we must begin this update with the notice of an incalculable loss. Pastor Gilene Franco, the teacher at the Aglongon Child Care Center, and her husband Pastor Nestor Franco, leader of the Aglongon Baptist Church, both lost their lives on Sunday July 16. Attempting to cross over a bridge during a storm, Gilene and Nestor were swept away during a flash flood trying to reach family who were in need of making it to the hospital. It is a tragic loss to their family and the community.
Many from Canada will know these two dear people. Teams from CBM came to Aglongon to help rebuild after the typhoon. The Francos made an impression on all who met them. It was Pastor Nestor who made me (Duane) feel welcome on my first visit to Duran. In fact he made me promise to come visit him, an hour long walk into the jungle, a promise I kept, and I am truly blessed for having done so. I received amazing hospitality from the people of Aglongon.
We ask for prayer. Pastor Nestor and Gilene have grown children and a living parent. This unexpected loss is a burden, emotionally and financially. This is also a blow to the church and child care center, work that is so important. The community is in mourning and the needs continue. Their funeral will be this coming Saturday, a final goodbye, but their loss will be felt for a vey long time.