The reports from the Philippines have gripped my heart this last week as the devastation from Typhoon Haiyan, also called Yolando, continues to unfold. In many ways, it reminds me of 3.11.2011 when the triple disaster hit Japan.
As people have contacted me to see if we are involved, several principles came to mind from the lessons learned of our efforts in coming alongside well-positioned local pastors and churches. I thought it might be helpful to share those principles. A2 is not presently operating in the Philippines, however, we hope to open the country in the coming year or two. Thus, we are recommending a number of groups through which to partner in the relief efforts; groups that operate on similar principles to these.
After the disaster hit Japan, we invited Adrian De Visser(pictured with me above) to share from his experience living through the tsunami that hit Sri Lanka several years prior. Here was his insightful advice:
- The work of relief is a marathon, not a sprint. The impact of such horrific disasters like what happened in Sri Lanka, Haiti, Japan and now the Philippines will take years to rebuild lives and communities. We still see this in Japan even though it has largely fallen off the world’s radar.
- There are generally three types of people compelled to help out during a disaster:
- Those who have lived on site for years and plan to stay there long after the media attention goes away.
- Those who have some connections to the area (had been there before or knew people from the area) but don’t actually live in the region.
- Finally, those who are serving solely because the disaster has struck and they want to help out.
- All three types of groups are important but one of the most crucial principles to learn is to listen and follow those from group number one (local indigenous leaders). They are going to be there for the duration, they know the people very well, and they understand the context best.
These principles helped A2 as we came alongside Japanese churches to help bring hope and healing to the country. To see the results of this investment, you can download our recent report here.
Other principles for the Philippine relief effort can be found here:
Grace and Peace,