Three days after super typhoon Yolanda, one of the strongest storms in history, crashed into the Philippines, many survivors are still coming to grips with the level of devastation they are facing. Humanitarian agencies around the world have mobilized in order to bring aid to the storm’s victims, but the amount of loss is staggering and progress has been slow. In this time of crisis, many churches are calling on Christians to take an active role in the relief effort. The Pope himself has expressed solidarity with the victims of typhoon Yolanda, and encouraged pilgrims to reach out to storm victims in both prayer and action. According to CNA, Pope Francis led a brief prayer for the Philippians, before continuing to address the crowd.
“The Pontiff then exhorted, ‘let us try also to reach out to them with practical help.’ Secretary of State Parolin’s message explained that Pope Francis ‘is especially mindful of those who mourn the loss of their loved ones and of those who have lost their homes.’
‘In praying for all the people of the Philippines, the Holy Father likewise offers encouragement to the civil authorities and emergency personnel as they assist the victims of this storm,’ it continued.”
Other Christian organizations have also assembled to help those struggling with the storms aftermath, including international residents who have been unable to reach family members. One such Church is the Philippine International Bible Church in Laytonsville, Maryland. Among the congregation, several members have close relatives who were living in the path of the storm. One member, Alvenia Ropeta, recently told reporters that her 2-year-old son, Luke Ropeta, was living with her sister-in-law in a village at the time of the storm. Since then, they have been unable to contact one another, and Alvenia does not even know if they are still alive.
All Alvenia could hope to do was send messages through news reports,
“’Just be still. Just be still and hang in there. That's what I'm exactly doing over here. I'm putting all of my trust and faith that God is in control and He will make sure that we will get through all of these trials and calamities, that He will be taking care of us. And give Luke my warmest hug and kiss him for me,’ said Ropeta.”
The Christian humanitarian agency, Samaritan’s Purse, has recently launched a massive campaign in an effort to rescue those suffering from Yolanda’s aftermath. To donate, or to find more information on how you can get involved in the effort, please click here. Furthermore, CNN has provided its readers with a list of agencies currently working to provide resources to the storm-affected areas of the Philippians, for more information please click here. Remember that in all things God call us to be his hands of healing in a world full of despair. It is time for Christians to step forward and take action, please donate today.
*Ryan Duncan is the Culture Editor for Crosswalk.com