Philippines (MNN) — Officials are scoping out the damage caused by Tuesday’s earthquake in the Philippines.
According to Philippine authorities, over 150 people have died and nearly 400 people have been injured. The 7.1 quake centered near Bohol and Cebu, and nearly 3,000 houses were destroyed in these regions. A further 16,000 were damaged.
Around 150,000 people have been displaced by the quake and its damages. Damage assessments are ongoing, but it’s fairly safe to say this disaster won’t have a quick fix.
Which begs the following question: is relief aid part of our duty as Christians?
“Christ reached out and touched that hurt…that need, and with that brought a hope for all eternity,” says Ben Wolf, Asia Rim Area Director for Baptist Global Response.
Wolf oversees BGR’s work in places located along the Pacific “Ring of Fire,” a region where natural disasters like volcanoes and earthquakes are quite common. As a result, needs seem never-ending and compassion fatigue sets in among BGR supporters.
“We get worried when we do it in our own strength,” Wolf states, “but it’s amazing how the Lord maintains that compassion as we’re in tune with His heart.”
BGR partners are assessing needs in quake-affected areas and hope to have a response plan soon.
“We work through the local churches in the area as much as we can,” says Wolf, but “sometimes these churches are in the midst of the calamity too, so we’re responding to their needs.”
On Tuesday, soon after the quake struck, BGR partners were assessing survivor needs in four “life-line” areas: food, water, shelter, and health.
“Every disaster is going to be different,” Wolf explains. Since BGR is working with partnering churches in the Philippines, “we try to get much of the response and materials from the local area.
“We’re careful to do it without strings attached to any kind of response, and purely respond based on the needs of the people.”
Although today’s needs are certainly a priority, that’s not the limit of BGR’s focus.
“We look at the short-term response, with regard to the acute need, but…also…the long-term needs that might be in the communities, after the recovery from the disaster,” states Wolf.
That includes disaster response training for partnering fellowships, like the believers BGR is working with in the Philippines.
“As they walk through it this time, the next time something happens, they’re able to respond even better,” Wolf explains.
If God’s moving on your heart to help, click here to visit BGR’s website.
“There’s multiple avenues for people to actively be a part of the response on the other side of the world,” says Wolf.
“The first and foremost thing they can be doing is praying…that prayer coverage is so important.”
Pray for a hedge of protection around earthquake victims and disaster responders. Pray sensitivity and wisdom for BGR partners. Pray for the ability to respond during times of opportunity yet maintain a spirit of compassion.
Pray relief workers will “always have an answer for the reason they have hope.”
Finally, ask the Lord if He wants you to help support this project. Pray for the faith to respond in obedience.
“It goes back to the motivation — is it about me and how I feel good in response?” says Wolf. “Or, is it because the Lord would have me be a part of this because of His Kingdom impact through this?”