In one of the more popular coffee houses in New York, a Filipino man stood in line, waiting for his order. His eyes fall from the colorful displays to the shabby newspaper stand. He sees a photo on the front page of the New York Times depicting a frightening sight – uprooted trees, houses and buildings reduced to rubbles, and traumatized people stood still in one scene. This is what a town’s been reduced to after the fierce ravaging of Typhoon Haiyan.
The scene is set in Tacloban City, Philippines. After almost a week since one of the deadliest typhoons in history struck the country, the scene has not improved significantly.
If news stories are to be believed, days after the Typhoon, the situation in the typhoon-hit areas have not improved at all.
The Destructive Force that is Typhoon Haiyan
Typhoon Haiyan, locally named Typhoon Yolanda, has managed to make a mark – rather, a painfully unforgettable dent – if you will, in Philippine history. Bringing with it brisk winds and a deadly storm surge as high as about 20 feet, the famous typhoon took the lives of about ten thousand Filipinos, and still counting.
If the unbelievable pain of tragically losing family members and friends isn’t bad enough, survivors also battle the hard-hitting realities of hunger, diseases, lack of shelter, lack of security, lack of a whole list of things that are ideally, the rights that each individual should have.
On broadcast journalist Anderson Cooper’s report on CNN, viewers see just how widespread the devastation is in the region of Visayas, Philippines, and just how badly the people seek the international community’s help – because the local and national government units are just not as effective in giving aid to people in the affected areas than expected.
The Surge of Problems after the Storm
With the surge of financial donations from private individuals, small and large companies, and even from various international organizations and countries, not to mention donations in kind hauled and repackaged in various makeshift centers, it is still a wonder how majority if not all news materials stemming from the region still feature the hungry, angry, homeless citizens of the nation.
Up until now, not all areas have been reached. And in the areas that have been reached, not all of the people have received help in any form.
With relief operations at a snail’s pace, the very hungry survivors are said to have no choice but to resort in looting and other similar acts, in order to live.
With the low security in local subdivisions and main streets, people fear that rebel groups and criminals will take advantage of the situation and cause trouble for the already troubled folks.
The bodies of those who did not make it after the super typhoon still lay on the roads, on main streets, and some, even inside barangay centers. Not all of the corpses identified, there are still an unknown number of dead people underneath the piles of debris in the streets of Tacloban and neighboring cities.
It would seem that attaining relief in situations as dire and as dismal as these, a question would inevitably dance inside a person’s mind – who can a person turn to? When the forces of nature overwhelm the combined forces of man, where can a person run to seek solace?
The Power of Prayer
“A prayer is an act of humbling oneself before God! The reason we pray is that we are asking God to do something we cannot do,” writes Bro. Eliseo Soriano on his blog entitled A Prayer and a Wish, where he discusses the importance of prayers.
“In prayers we admit before His majesty that we are inferior and helpless! In prayers we thank and praise Him, realizing that what He is doing, He alone can,” adds Bro. Soriano. The international preacher and blogger is also the popular host of television show Ang Dating Daan (The Old Path).
Members Church of God International (MCGI) Presiding Minister Bro. Eli Soriano has recently launched a Community Prayer service on UNTV 37 together with the Church’s Vice-Presiding Minister, Bro. Daniel Razon.
At a time when it could be considered to be right on spiritual cue, the UNTV Community Prayer aims to unite the country by promoting the Christian lifestyle of regularly calling upon God’s name in prayer.
And a nation that has been so badly beaten and bruised by one devastating calamity after the next needs the help of He who can do more than what any experienced medical practitioner or any generous millionaire can.
He can give us the strength to stand up after the storm, the wisdom to see through the hardships and the pain, and the hope that there will be perfect justice in God’s perfect time for those who do His will.
In times like these, the value of a solemn, heartfelt prayer is a little over the cost of being priceless.
The man in the coffee house stared at the frightening image on the newspaper for a while without him realizing it, almost mesmerized by the destruction brought about by Typhoon Haiyan. For a moment he felt that everything had stopped in mid-air.
And it is in that moment when the man — standing inside one of the more popular coffee houses in New York, in the middle of the coffee smells, bossa nova music, and people stating and taking coffee orders — that Filipino man closed his eyes to silently and secretly pray.