Sharing pain, hope, in typhoon's wake

December 19, 2013

By April Grace Mercado

Amid the destruction of Typhoon Yolanda and the heartbreaking stories of suffering and hardship, I’ve seen the human spirit spring forth, ready to provide aid and relief in all forms.

I was part of a four-person United Methodist Communications team sent to the disaster area, along with hundreds of relief workers, after the Nov. 8 typhoon. My team focused on providing communications relief to the Visayas region, particularly in hard-hit Tacloban and neighboring towns.

The destruction shown on the news pales in comparison to what you see with your eyes on the ground. I experienced a paroxysm of emotions and realized that being on the ground was more emotionally exhausting than it was physically draining. I wondered how I would feel if I lost my entire family and home and had nothing to eat, all at the same time. Even as I share in the grief of the survivors, I know I will never fully understand what they’re going through because I have never been in such a situation. It’s hard to make sense of the seemingly endless destruction and destitution.

As my team visited the area, many of us prayed for those affected. We prayed that happiness will replace their sorrow, that laughter will replace their cries and that rejoicing will replace their mourning.

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