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14 former LDS missionaries return to Philippines to offer relief efforts

(KSL Broadcasting)


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LEHI — A group from Utah is preparing to leave for the Philippines Saturday, taking with them professional skills and their personal experiences in that country in an effort to help the people.

The volunteers with Global Goods are all members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints who served missions in the Philippines in the 1990s which means they speak the languages, they understand the customs and they know how to get from one city or island to the next.

With their collective experience, 14 men hope to create an effective team for those in need. Some will help with clean-up efforts, while doctors, nurses and physicians assistants will treat injuries and illnesses in Ormoc City.

"We want to take a small group, work on logistics, offer as much medical care as we can and then prepare for a larger group that can provide more reconstructive and humanitarian efforts," said Jon Woozley, a physicians assistant with the newly-created Philippines Relief Fund.

Craig Weston with Charity Vision said he experienced a huge storm as a missionary. He is already in the Philippines laying the groundwork for his teammates.

"Now we've got support groups of over 200 volunteers that will be going with us that are local. The military is starting to come on board in terms of shipping supplies to us, so it's been a really good rallying point," Weston said.

As the group accepts donations from the community, they are telling people that for them this horrific disaster is personal because they know and love the Filipino people.

"It comes from the heart. These people are the most humble and the most generous," said Jared Richards, the leader of the logistics group. "We can bring hope because not only can we bring tremendous medical experience, we speak the languages. And so, we can break it down, we can rally them — we're going to work miracles."

"When an event like this happens, it affects all of us," Woozley said. "It soaks into us and when it soaks really deep, it causes action. That's our role. I think I've been preparing my whole life for this."

The group that is leaving Saturday is just phase one of the group's plan. Another group will follow in a week, and by that time, the first group will have an assessment of where the greatest needs are.

The group is accepting donations at globalgoods.com/charity.html.

Contributing: Jed Boal

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