Social media as well as local and international news were immersed in these words in the last two weeks. My country had to face pain in the most horrific way. Super typhoon Haiayan (Yolanda) with winds reaching to 300 kilometers per hour, wreaked havoc in parts of Palawan and Visayas early Friday morning, November 8. The images and videos highlighted what my brothers and sisters had to go through.
I fought back the tears when I saw a father, trying to make sense of what happened, held his daughter’s lifeless body in his arms. A woman who cried for help because she is the lone survivor in their family. People overwhelmed by the destruction found themselves homeless while searching for their missing family members.
People (including myself) have expressed frustration over the “inefficiency” of our national leaders, the lack of coordination between the government agencies and local government units. And equally disgusted over the obvious political grandstanding of the some elected crocs in government. But then I have to stop criticizing and do something.
Despite the negativity, my hope is still anchored on the Lord. I know that He has been working even before the typhoon struck the nation. I’ve seen how He touched the hearts of private citizens who came out and help. Those who donated and helped did not need adulation or applause but out of the sincerity of their hearts wanted to reach out as if saying, “Don’t worry. We are here to help.” Not only did the Lord touch the hearts of every citizen of this country but He has moved the entire world. Numerous countries have pledged and sent help to assist the nation’s effort of providing relief.
My discipleship group in church volunteered to tend to the needs of the survivors who were transported from their respective provinces to Villamor Air Base. The survivors were transported via C130 planes of the United States Air Force. Upon arriving Pasay, the survivors wait for their relatives to fetch them. While others just want to get out of their devastated cities.
Each time one plane lands, I get excited to see throngs of survivors land at the tarmac. The volunteers applauded them as they made their way to the stands to be counseled, fed and reconnected to their relatives.
Since our group already prepared food to give out, we registered as food distributors. Even our kids gladly helped in any way they can. As we handed out hot porridge, sandwiches and water to them, they were grateful and responded with a smile. There was a moment when I just stopped because tears were about to fall. I could not imagine the horror these people went through but they were not alone.
Volunteers kept pouring in every 30 minutes or so with hot food, toys for kids, clothes and slippers. In fact, the volunteers outnumbered the survivors. My family did not have much to give but this is one way we thought we could help our brothers and sisters.This was one way to show love for one another as Jesus commanded us to do. John 13:34-35 says “A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.”
Our children also helped out by distributing sandwiches, water bottles and porridge. As a mom, I definitely wanted to document that to be included in their portfolios. But then I hid my camera and found it more comforting to know that even though they were told to help, they did it cheerfully. Sometimes soul experiences need not be captured by a camera lens.
There are still more ways to help. Aside from providing food and shelter, our brothers and sisters also need counseling. If you are a trained counselor or psychologist, please see the ad below to know how you can help.
What other ways can you help during this time?