Homeless but not Hopeless

January 10, 2014

by Loralee Planos, Disaster Assistance Response Team nurse

A Filipino nurse comes home to lend a helping hand in her devastated nation.

 “If you pour yourself out for the hungry and satisfy the desire of the afflicted, then shall your light rise in the darkness and your gloom be as the noonday. And the Lord will guide you continually and satisfy your desire in scorched places and make your bones strong; and you shall be like a watered garden, like a spring of water, whose waters do not fail. And your ancient ruins shall be rebuilt; you shall raise up the foundations of many generations; you shall be called the repairer of the breach, the restorer of streets to dwell in” (Isaiah 58:10-12, ESV).

After serving in East Africa for almost four years, it never occurred to me that I would come back to my own country to help Samaritan’s Purse respond to the disastrous Super Typhoon Haiyan (Yolanda).

I had mixed emotions. I was excited about the opportunity to serve my countrymen, but I was wary of the great challenge ahead. I didn’t know what to feel.

When I arrived and saw the pain and hurt in people’s eyes, it really hit me to the core.

Many lives were lost, and some are still missing. Many people were injured, and almost all houses were blown away. Business establishments were destroyed. The devastation brought about by the typhoon cannot be described by words. It’s beyond comprehension. It’s very difficult to see my fellow Filipinos suffer as a result of this disaster.

Everyone who survived has their own horrific story. Some are still having nightmares about what happened. That makes me feel even more humble and compassionate toward each patient I encounter.

I am blessed and encouraged to someone has erected a sign in the street that says, “We are roofless, we are homeless, but we are not hopeless.”

People are slowly getting back on their feet. A certain pastor said, “We did not invite Yolanda, but Yolanda invited all nations to come and help us.” We are more than thankful to all international and local organizations that have accepted that invitation and come to help.

God is still good, gracious, and compassionate. He is using Samaritan’s Purse as His hands and feet. Many people are touched by the love, kindness, gentleness, and generosity shown by the Samaritan’s Purse team. You bring light to the darkness of suffering in this place. So many people are thankful that Samaritan’s Purse is here, and are amazed at why we do what we do. You have shared Christ’s love to us in many different ways. We cannot give something in return, but gratitude will remain in our hearts for a lifetime. Your rewards are stored up in heaven.

 “There is no exercise better for the heart than reaching down and lifting people up.”
John Holmes

“Even the smallest act of caring for another person is like a drop of water—it will make ripples throughout the entire pond.”
― Jessy and Bryan Matteo