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November 18, 2013

Murray missionary weathers the storm

CHATSWORTH — As rains poured, winds raged up to 120 mph and trees fell around the grass huts in the rural Alangan village of Pandarukan, John Holbrook’s parents kept faith their son was safe.

Haiyan wasn’t the first typhoon John had experienced in the Philippines.

Having lived in the Philippines as missionaries for eight years and Thailand for four, Tim and Dawn Holbrook, of Chatsworth, knew what to expect. They knew that as soon as the storm hit, the wouldn’t have communication with their son until it cleared.

And they would have to wait to know if their son was OK.

“We have been through a few super typhoons in the Philippines,” Dawn said. “We knew that until the storm cleared, he could not use his satellite phone, and usually that’s a minimum of three days. He would not be able to go out of his village to use anything else. We knew all the phones, cellphones and Internet cafes would be down and we knew the roads would be out.”

The Holbrooks watched news of the weather. They monitored the storm. They knew John had returned to his home village of Pandarukan, about three hours north of where he serves as a pastor — among other roles for the people there — of a Seventh-day Adventist Church.

“We watched the weather a lot to see where the eye was,” Dawn said. “We knew that’s where the real damage would be. We believed that he was fine where he was. We knew he was above the flood plain. He wasn’t in the surge. We knew there wasn’t a large river for flooding and he wasn’t in danger of one of the larger mudslides.”

John resides and works on the island of Mindoro, which is on the western side of where the brunt of the storm named Haiyan hit.

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