Saturday, November 30, 2013


While I know that we aren't the only ones in America, let alone South Dakota that have family and friends in the Philippines. I thought I would share some links to articles that have been shared or posted in regards to my family. You will find a link from the Dakotas United Methodist Conference, Sioux Falls Seminary, and the Argus Leader-the Sioux Falls Newspaper.
I am grateful for the coverage and awareness. And while I would selfishly want folks to support my efforts concerning my family, I know that I am not the only one with family who have lost everything. Please know that any money that is sent goes directly towards sending my family (myself, Holly, and Noah) to the Philippines and that anything else above and beyond goes directly to my extended family-parents, aunts, uncles, and cousins.
Simply click on the pictures below to be taken to the articles. Again, thank you for your support, your thoughts, and prayers. 


I have some good news! Wednesday, later afternoon, before we left for Iowa for Thanksgiving we made a stop to the Post Office to check our mail. In our mailbox was a large white document sized envelope from Lancaster County, Lincoln, NE. Upon opening the envelope we found our official documents. The sad part though is that we weren't able to send them overnight in Mitchell as we were passing through because of how late it was.
It was Friday morning that I sent those documents overnight to the Passport Agency in Minneapolis. I had to wake up early and drive to Fort Dodge, IA. While the cost was $20 I have hopes that our passports will be in our hands sometime December 5th or December 6th. Which means our goal is to depart December 7th for Minneapolis and leave early Sunday morning, December 8th, for the Philippines.
We have yet to purchase the tickets as we don't have them in our hands and that is currently our debate. While we know things can happen, as they have so far, we aren't convinced we should buy those international tickets just yet. The bad thing on the waiting though, is that ticket prices go up the longer we wait.
Friends, we pray for speedy action on behalf of the Passport Agency and the Postal Services as we anxiously await our passports and look forward to purchasing tickets and getting on our way! Thank you all for your continued thoughts and prayers.
We plan to keep you updated while we're in the Philippines and ask that you check the blog at least once a day as I hope to share pictures of my folks and the family members with us. Thanks again for your support.

In closing, thank you all for your support and prayers. We have been able to send over $1,000 to help family members with clothing, food, and shelter. You can still help by clicking on the picture of the passports. It will take you to a PayPal page.
*There is no need to create an account. Towards the middle of the page, there is a blue link called "continue".
If you would like to send a check, make it out to Jeff Lathrop and in the memo write: Lathrop Family Relief Fund. Send it to PO Box 6, Plankinton, SD 57368

Tuesday, November 26, 2013


Just a short update:
Today I went and checked the mail at the post office in the hopes that our certified paperwork might be in our mailbox and that I could then send those documents onto the passport agency in Minneapolis, MN...but it wasn't meant to be. The sad part is that it looks as though we will be returning home, to Plankinton, SD instead of leaving Nov. 30th or Dec. 1st as we had hoped. 
I realize that not all goes as we plan sometimes but I can honestly say I was a bit sad when I left the post office today. It's the recognition that this will take even longer and that it pushes us into another holiday and may require me to do some coordinating from the Philippines. While the Christmas Eve candle-light service is one of my favorites each year, I know that family is more important. 
So as we agonize over our passport delay, we ask for prayers, not just for us and our family, but for the people of the Philippines who might not be celebrating Thanksgiving or Christmas with their loved ones. 

Sunday, November 24, 2013


At this point my folks are now in an apartment. They were able to find some temporary housing just outside of Manila and have signed a six month agreement. While we would very much like them to come back to the United States, we know that this is a tough time for the family as not everyone has been found/heard from.
At this point, we have heard from half a dozen cousins, two of mom's siblings, and unconfirmed safety reports via other family members. I can only imagine the not knowing at this point. I know I look forward to seeing my parents but I also know that we won't be able to celebrate our reunion with many others in our family. My hope is that while we wait for official certified documentation from various counties here in the US for our passports, that more and more family members will emerge. It would be a blessing and a true miracle if they were all confirmed alive and well prior to our arrival.
Holly and I are currently waiting on paperwork, as mentioned-certified documentation. Our goal is to leave sometime in the first week of December and stay for a minimum of 15 days. At this point, from the research, flights currently have a 24-48 hour layover-either in the US or Japan. So we plan to budget those days in so that we have a good 15 days with my folks.
We also hope to bring our 2 year old son, Noah, with us on this journey as we no longer will be going to the various other parts of the Philippine Islands. Our plan is to stay in Manila where there is clean water, food, and a place to stay. This is not only doctor's orders but a logical choice in minimizing our exposure to the hardships still very real in those parts hardest hit.
In closing, thank you all for your thoughts and prayers. We have already sent over $1,000 to help my family, many of whom can't afford housing and are living with my folks and are in need of food and clothing. You can still help by clicking THE LATHROP FAMILY RELIEF FUND.
*There is no need to create an account. Towards the middle of the Paypal page click the "continue" link to donate with either debit or credit card.

If you would like to send a check make it out to Jeff Lathrop and in the memo write: Lathrop Family Relief Fund. Send it to PO Box 6, Plankinton, SD 57368

Monday, November 11, 2013


Thank you so much for your support. It has been an emotional rollercoaster to say the least. Know that my parents are grateful for the support and prayers. God has answered those prayers, but our work isn't done. We now turn our focus to other family members. My mom is 1 of 12 siblings and there still family members unaccounted for.
This past Sunday, Pastor Roy Caudill, District Superintendent of the Dakotas United Methodist Conference challenged the congregation of Plankinton to help send Holly and I to the Philippines. The support has been overwhelming and we are blessed. But in addition to funds to help us go, there have been questions on how to help fund my family abroad as they try to rebuild.
In response to those questions we have created a paypal account. The donations will not only help us go to the Philippines but help my family rebuild in the midst of such disaster and loss.
Again, thank you all for your support.

Simply CLICK the "Lathrop Family Relief Fund" link below and follow the instructions or send it to PO BOX 6, Plankinton, SD 57368

Lathrop Family Relief Fund