Thursday, November 14, 2013

A Story of Hope: Three USU students survive in the Philippines

McCall (left), Morgan (center), and Lyssa (right), pose for a photo with their students on October 18th. 

A week ago today, a record breaking Typhoon hit the islands of the Philippines. Three Utah State students were living in Thomas Oppus, Southern Leyte in the Philippines doing their student teaching when the storm hit.

Lyssa Bevan, McCall Eldredge and Morgan Parrish were shaken but unharmed by this storm. 

Leyte was the hardest hit, and thousands are dead in the city of Tacloban. These three women immediately set to work helping where they could.

"Lyssa and the two other students are in a unique position to help," stated Stacie Bevan Cannon, Lyssa's sister.

"All three have come up with this tremendous idea on how to help.  They have no way of getting into the hardest hit areas, however they all have international bank accounts.  They have asked friends and family to spread the word that we are taking monetary donations and depositing it into Lyssa's account. The girls can then withdraw the money and buy much needed supplies (i.e. clothing, food, water and medical supplies) over there, with no shipping costs or transfer fees. Therefore 100% of every donation goes straight to the relief effort."

Lyssa, McCall and Morgan had no way of knowing that their student teaching experiences would turn into an international crisis. But they are making the most of their resources and have become a blessing to the local Filipino.  The school they were living and teaching at, Southern Leyte State University, has been set up as a gathering place for supplies, where helicopters can load up and deliver supplies into the harder hit area of Tacloban (roughly 60 miles away).

"The town they are living in was one of the the very few that had little, to no damage, so stores are still standing and Lyssa, McCall and Morgan can buy supplies. They have been in contact with local church leaders to find out who in the immediate area is in need of assistance and are taking some of their supplies to these families as well," said Stacie. 

"Lyssa served a mission for the LDS church in the Philippines and has a great love for the people there," said Stacie,  "and the Philippine people have been endeared in the hearts of my family and me as well."

Below are three ways YOU can help in the Philippine relief effort.

1. If you would like to donate to Lyssa, McCall and Morgan's relief efforts 

Donations can be mailed to 

Philippine Relief Fund 
c/o Stacie Bevan Cannon (make checks or money orders out to Lyssa Bevan)

P.O. Box 4001
Logan, UT. 84323
2. The Beven family business is also accepting donations online for Lyssa's fund.
Through or email Stacie Bevan Cannon for more information  
3. Donate to a local church or the Red Cross  
A photo of the island where they are teaching, Taken November 2nd. Five days before the storm.
Photo Courtesy of Facebook, with permission

Lyssa poses for a photo with "Big Blue" on October 29th.