Over the last 24 hours of being back from Tacloban Philippines, I have had many people ask the question, “how was it?” How was it? Such a simple question, but not so simple when you’ve just come back from a trip like the one I’ve been on.
It was…amazing, devastating, heartbreaking, life-changing, and so much more.
I’ve never seen such devastation in my entire life and I doubt most of my friends ever will. It has been almost 3 months, 3 MONTHS, since Typhoon Yolanda tore through Tacloban and changed the lives of millions of people. They have been living in survival mode since November 8. No one has completely rebuilt and most likely it will take years for people to start living normal lives again. There have been significant improvements over the last 2 1/2 months but everywhere you look there are still piles upon piles of debris and rubble, mangled cars on top of or in buildings, metal beams wrapped like strings around each other, communities of tents for those who have no homes, and hundreds of sick and hurting people. But through all of this devastation, we were still always met with smiles and hope.
I have many many stories to tell and photos to show from my short 5 day relief trip. I still have not had the time to really process everything I saw and experienced. Every day was full of helping and loving on the people of Tacloban. We started each day knowing that we would make a difference in someone’s life, whether it was because we gave them food, medical aid, or simple love.
Our group of almost 30 people worked on 3 different missions every day. We had a medical team who would go to a different location every day and try to help anyone who came through our doors while some of us played with and loved on the children in those areas. Our construction team worked on building a house all week and playing with the children in that village. Our third mission was going on feedings to different areas every day. I was blessed to help with multiple teams and serve in different ways each day. Over the next week, I will tell the stories from each day of my trip and show how God worked in big ways while I was there.