We all remember Hurricane Katrina. Not the largest storm to ever reach the US mainland, nor the strongest, yet how can we forget the apocalyptic scenes and trail of destruction it left behind; an entire metropolis in ruins and a country in shock. Then just about a year ago, Sandy came and again we witnessed more destruction and ruin, even in places usually safe from such phenomenon.
The Philippines is a very poor nation made up of a little over 7,000 small islands, situated in what geologists call the Ring of Fire. It is also home to over 30 active volcanoes. Earthquakes and powerful storms are common in this part of the world and the Filipino people have learned to cope with it, yet no one could have prepared them for what befell them on November 8.
Typhoon Haiyan, or Yolanda as the Filipinos named it, was something they had never seen before. Its sheer size and destructive power would move both Katrina and Sandy down the scale. It covered the entire archipelago and far beyond. Its destructive force knew no equal and spared no one. Now the country lies in ruins and millions of people, many of them women and children, are homeless.
As you know, International Children’s Care operates a village for orphaned and abandoned children in the Philippines. We came there in the late 90s because of the thousands of destitute children living in the streets. Fortunately the children’s village is located in the northern region, and away from the main brunt of the storm, and we are grateful to the Lord for that. But in all reality there was no safe place in the Philippines during this storm.
As servants of the children the Lord has entrusted to us, we feel a very strong sense of responsibility for them. We pray unceasingly for them. But we also think about the others, the unreached ones, the ones not inside our little cities of refuge. As Christians we know that life in this world of ours will only get worse. People are growing more evil, more selfish, and more calloused about the less fortunate. And what about terrible natural disasters like the one afflicting our Filipino brothers and sisters right now? The Bible tells us that those will also get worse.
The eyes of the world are on the Philippines right now, and that is good. Humanitarian aid organizations are shipping resources and personnel to assist the needy. But what is going to happen when all these philanthropists leave after a few months? Who is going to care for the child who lost his mommy and daddy in the flood? Who is going to take her home and love her?
The physical storm has passed, but the real storm in the lives of the orphaned, the abandoned, and the homeless has only begun, a very long storm that may last the rest of their lives. And that’s where ICC comes in, becoming a shelter in their time of storm, not only in the Philippines, but in Congo, in India, in Guatemala and all the other countries where we are present.
We want to thank you today for being part of their family, for being that much needed shelter in their time of storm. Our hearts ache every time a child suffers, but we are also very grateful that with your help we can do something and offer them a loving hand. No, this world is not going to get any better. Worse things will happen and more and more, children will be left homeless. Thank you for partnering with us today to make a difference.