Philippine Typhoon – A Last Minute Trip That Changed My Life!
Check out photos from the Philippine Typhoon below:
I was so eager to share this story when I first returned from the Philippines. But what happened? The busyness of life and work that I put on myself – that’s what happened. I’m in a season of re-engineering my life so more things like this can occur. I think you have to force yourself to get outside of your comfort zone in order to develop a lifestyle of being others focus. If you wait until you arrive at some imaginary milestone something else will occur and your goals will continue to get further and further away from you.
So what happened? It was approaching the end of the year in 2013. Usually the busiest time of the year for a me when something happened on the other side of the world. Super Typhoon Haiyan (Typhoon Yolanda) hit Southeast Asia. It was one of the strongest tropical cyclones ever recorded killing over 6,300 people in the Philippines. After hearing the news I called my missionary friend Calvin Houser and immediately the plans to go started formulating.
Before we knew it plane tickets were purchased and our trip started to formulate. We had no idea how it would all come together but as we took small steps forward doors were opening up and our plans were becoming more and more clear. It was seriously amazing how all of you responded in giving. With your help we were able to raise around 20k in a matter of a few weeks.
Once we landed in Manila we connected with a missionary and stayed for a bit in San Jose del Monte. Before long a small team of Filipino’s was assembled to join us in the journey to Leyte. We eventually boarded a small plane and headed over to Tacloban City which received the most damage from the storm. I clearly remember sitting in between two people on the plane. To my right there was a doctor who was traveling back and forth from island to island helping wherever needed. To my left there was a lady who really wanted to share her experience with me. Her accent was challenging to comprehend but I could sense she survived the storm and was headed back to find loved ones.
On the decent into Tacloban it felt like we were getting dropped off into a war zone. The view from above was complete devastation. I’ve never seen anything like it! When we arrived the people were not in a panic as I suspected. You could tell something bad happened by the look in everyones eyes but they seemed to be accepting of the incident and just moving forward with life. And so it began… story after story. Everyone had a unique experience and a different perspective on the storm.
Because of your giving we were able to provide 3,600 pounds of rice, canned goods, and clothing. That’s at least 8,500 family meals provided. We were able to completely rebuild 3 homes (including labor and materials) that were completely destroyed. We were able to help with general cleanup, scooping muck out of the buildings and sorting through rubble to find what was worth salvaging. We took down several trees that had uprooted or fallen, cleared land covered with debris, and even built a fence that had broken down. We worked on some homes by replacing roofs and repairing existing structures. Families were fed, homes were rebuilt, but most of all, lives were changed.
More than just our tangible efforts the Gospel was proclaimed and is continuing to spread throughout the Philippines. Conversations about life and eternity are being spoken of more now than ever before. There is an awakening happening in the Philippines and Jesus is being exalted even through this devastating storm. I’ll continue to share more stories and photos from the Philippine Typhoon trip below. Don’t worry there is nothing too graphic.