As a filmmaker for Samaritan’s Purse, I have an interesting position. Many times, I hear people open up about difficult times in their lives that they don’t usually share with others. Sometimes it’s even the first time they have shared their stories.
I remember walking around Tacloban after Super Typhoon Haiyan demolished parts of the Philippines in 2013. The smell of death was in the air, and I heard countless horror stories of family members lost and family members missing.
Though the Philippines is out of the news now, there are still a lot of amazing people working daily to aid storm survivors.
The Samaritan’s Purse national staff in the Philippines may be one of the best witnesses to faith in Christ that I’ve seen. They serve selflessly and tirelessly, and they always seem to have smiles on their faces. What makes it so special and genuine is that many of these staff members lost a great deal in Haiyan.
When I heard another typhoon was hitting the Philippines this past December, I thought, “Oh no, not again.” Typhoon Hagupit wasn’t as bad as feared, but it still caused a great deal of damage.
I was excited to be back in the Philippines and working with this great team to cover our emergency relief efforts. It was amazing to see that the staff members were immediately ready to respond to the needs of others that received the most devastation, even when many of them had suffered storm damage themselves.
Jericho was one of these people.
He didn’t return to check on his own home until we went there with him 10 days after the storm had hit. He was busy serving others.
Our staff care volunteer, Laura Barbee, told us how Jericho had opened up to her more than a year after Haiyan had destroyed his home and his dad had died.
We listened to him tell us how at 25 years old, he provides for his whole family on the wages he makes from his position with Samaritan’s Purse. It was humbling and at the same time rewarding to work alongside him.
We saw the ruins of the old home, and Jericho told us how his father had built it and how he plans to rebuild it for his family.
He’s a great guy, and he’s also probably one of the last people that would tell his story so that people would feel sorry for him. I respected him for that and for working quietly behind the scenes to help and love people when they needed it most.
I also believe I could have grabbed just about any of our staff members, and they would have had a similar story. It’s special to have staff like that.
I’m thankful for the stories shared by our staff and for the honor to listen to them open up and share what God is doing and continues to do through them in the Philippines.