No Substitute for Action: An Urgent Appeal
There aren’t words to express what’s going on in the Philippines right now. The destruction and loss we’ve all seen on the news is so horrible and heartbreaking. Millions affected. No food or water. Thousands and thousands and thousands feared dead. Survivors isolated on tiny islands with nothing and nowhere to go. Lord, have mercy.
I watched a BBC News report on the storm aftermath and they were interviewing survivors of the typhoon. As these precious souls began to describe their experiences my chest tightened and my heart dropped to the floor beneath me.
They were speaking in Visayan. It’s been almost a month since I’d heard anyone speak that language and it resonated deep down in my heart to hear it again. I wanted to cry.
There are about a dozen major languages spoken in the Philippines and over a hundred dialects. Typhoon Haiyan struck close enough to home that survivors on the news are speaking the same language as people in Malaybalay. That’s close.
I’m not fluent by any stretch, but I understood this poor woman’s description of the heavy rains (ulan) and winds (hangin) strong enough to destroy her house (balay) and how she held on to her neighbor’s roof with one hand (kamot) and her baby (bata) with the other. Both of them survived, praise God.
As she spoke I shuddered to think that her story could have been the story of so many people that I love if the weather conditions would have pushed the storm just a tiny bit south. I don’t know why God spared my friends from the storm and not the people on the news. I am so relieved and grateful that He did, but I grieve deeply for the ones that are suffering. They speak Visayan, the language of my heart. They’re Filipinos…strong, funny, and generous. They are fellow human beings and children of God.
I wish I were there. Oh, how I wish I were there. I’d distribute bottles of water and bandage wounds and wipe tears. I’d hug orphans and clean up debris and cook lots and lots of rice.
But I’m not there. None of us are there.
We can’t let the distance between the United States and the Philippines make us apathetic to the massive suffering our brothers and sisters are experiencing. We can’t watch the news and think, “Oh, those poor people” and then forget about it and go on with our lives. Feeling bad for the victims isn’t good enough! Sentiment and sympathy are no substitutes for action. We must act! We must read the news reports and then fall to our knees and beg God for miracles. We must fast or offer other sacrifices throughout our day for the victims. We must give to the relief effort to provide life-saving necessities for the survivors. We are compelled both by our profession of faith and our humanity. We must act!
Our friends and fellow missionaries, Kring and Ramon Leaño, are heading to Bantayan Island, one of the hardest hit areas, in the next few days. Our friend, Fr. Joe, has connected them with a church parish there in desperate need of aid. They’ve been collecting as much food and as many supplies as they can. People from Isla Bonita, with nothing else to give, have been donating their clothing for them to bring. Please help! Your donation will buy the most immediate needs of the victims: food, bottled water, and first aid that will be personally delivered by our friends. No red tape, no bureaucracy. Straight to those who need it most.
You can give online right now in the sidebar. Tell your friends. Spread the word. Share this blog on Facebook. Everything helps!
By Lindsey Romero
Originally posted on their blog, Romeros on Mission