I talked with a dear friend just last night who survived the onslaught in Tacloban city, now a wasteland of destruction and debris - lives destroyed. Several weeks later, the rawness of survival, the fear and reality of facing death eye to eye are so difficult for her to process and comprehend - in her words 'terrifying and life changing'!
We were able to send in a first Compassion In Action (CIA) Crisis Response Team last week who traveled 20 hours by road from Cagayan de Oro to distribute relief aid, comfort and support to 1000 families in San Jose, Ormoc City - just a tiny pinch in a vast dense ocean of need and desperation. We are now preparing for the 2nd outreach team to leave on Dec 9th. We are physically so far away but are compelled to pull together our resources and try to share love as a verb.....with action.....as much as we can with what we have.
We have worked with street children and poverty stricken families for more than 10 years and were part of the response to the terrible flash flooding that swept away parts of our city 2 years ago, but to see whole regions now struck homeless, broken and dependent on outside help for their very basic survival is harrowing and overwhelming. A photo or video cannot really capture the empty desolation - You can't really describe the heavy spirit of death and depression lurking in every direction. To smell and touch and live with it is more than a camera shot can record.
The recovery and restoration process goes deep beyond the practical rebuilding of homes and livelihoods - How to rebuild the ruins of broken and traumatised hearts?.....The father who left his family in an evacuation center but returned to look for their lost bodies.....the mother who is still searching the scattered rubble for 3 of her missing children that were swept from her arms....the other 3 are already buried in a mass grave.
As helpless as I feel at the enormity of the suffering and the numerous times I am reduced to tears, my heart's response can only be to stretch out in prayer: Money will not save the heart, food can feed a body, a roof can cover a home but truly only God can restore the ruins of a soul.
"Arise, cry aloud in the night At the beginning of the night watches; Pour out your heart like water Before the presence of the Lord ; Lift up your hands to Him For the life of your little ones Who are faint because of hunger At the head of every street." Lamentations 2:19
Survivors Starting Life Again......