Finding Faith in the Philippines
I have received a lot of questions and concerns about the status of our friends in the Philippines. Naturally, since I just returned from there less than a month ago, co-workers, friends, and acquaintances alike have been inquiring about what I know.
Well here is what I know: it makes me literally sick to think about. The devastation, the hopelessness, the loss, it is almost more than I can grasp. Here I am, trying to eloquently digest my experience from a wonderful mission trip to this beautiful country when a typhoon sweeps in and kills thousands of innocent people, destroying homes, farms, and lives. The Philippines Red Cross estimates 1,200 deaths, while the International Committee of the Red Cross estimates more like 10,000. And while I am thankful that the people we worked with and the village where we stayed was unaffected, my heart is now with those who were not so fortunate.
Here in the United States we are familiar with natural disasters: tornados, hurricanes, fires, and floods. And every unfortunate event leaves behind a scar. A scar left on the memory of those affected. And then there was the 2010 Haiti earthquake, a catastrophic magnitude 7.0 Mw earthquake, which devastated the world affecting an estimated three million people with death toll estimates ranging from 100,000 to 159,000. To this day, I have many friends and acquaintances who have dedicated their lives to relief and restoration in Haiti.
(For a wider scope of the devastation this world has encountered, take a glance at some of these numbers.)
But it seems there can be a glimmer of beauty found in the midst of such overwhelming despair. Unavoidable turmoil brings our world together in ways nothing else can. When our hearts ache for a people we barely know, we are reminded of something beyond ourselves, something beyond our control. And the beauty is found in selflessness. Right now, people all over the world are concerned and seeking ways to help those affected in the Philippines. And this characteristic of valuing others, no matter the cost, is the embodiment of Jesus.
Here is my recommendation for how you can help with the Haiyan Relief. (I support this ministry, value their strategies, and know personally some of these self-sacrificing missionaries carrying out the work.)