Although I am not Filipino, in the wake of Typhoon Yolanda, I found myself panicking. Seeing the pain and suffering of so many, broke my heart. Hearing my friend Kathy’s story tore me apart even more. But in addition to that, I started to panic about the safety of my sponsor child Rhodel.
See, several years ago my friend treated me to a trip to Chicago to see Wicked. I was thrilled to see Wicked as well as spend a nice, winter day with a longtime friend. As we walked along the wintery street, we were approached by some Children International volunteers. I had never heard of the organization but something drew me in.
At the time, I was a struggling college student, but as the volunteer talked to me, I was reminded that I have many privileges and luxuries that millions around the world only dream of. While I was worried about how to pay for my next semester at school and the gas to get to my classes, Rhodel was unsure of how to pay for his middle school books or even if his family would have enough money to pay for food and basic amenities.
Maybe it was just that magical time of the year that inspired me to sponsor Rhodel or just the idea of making his life a little bit better, but no matter what the reason, I have been tied to the Philippines ever since.
Since that day, I have family in the Philippines, to my friends I call him one of my babies. So when I heard about Yolanda my heart simply broke. The thought of losing Rhodel made me panic and reminded me of the idea that we are all family, we are all connected.
It doesn’t matter where you live, what language we speak, what color our skin is, or what religion we call our own. What ties us together is something greater than any man made concept of identity. We are all tied together by our Creator.
Yolanda and her effects were devastating and her aftermath will last for many years to come. However, with faith and compassion for one another and faith that our Heavenly Parent has heard our prayers, the Philippines can and will emerge from this tragedy.
Written by: Milei Ikeno
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