Typhoon survivor shows hope despite tragedy

By May 5, 2015
UNICEF Philippines photograph.

(UNICEF Philippines photograph)

Philippines (MNN) — Some people crumble in hopelessness after experiencing a traumatic event. A rare few see it as an opportunity for greater good.

Reymond Enalisan is one of those rare few.

On Nov. 8, 2013, Typhoon Haiyan destroyed Tacloban City, Philippines, where Reymond was living. According to USAID, 16 million people were affected by the storm, as 6,300 lives were taken and just over four million people displaced.

Reymond, 30, and his family were trapped inside their house. When Reymond opened the door, 8 feet of water poured in and swept away 7 family members: his wife, parents, two children, brother, and nephew. They were never seen again. Reymond survived by desperately holding on to a steel pipe.

One might wonder how a person could go on after experiencing such a tragedy. Many would question God’s sovereignty and goodness; some might even abandon Him. But Reymond never doubted God’s purpose for his suffering.

“I cried out to Him, ‘Lord, you know how I loved my family, yet I know I’m just a steward of all of these. If it is Your will, let it be, Lord. Just give me strength to accept and overcome it,’” Reymond said, quoted in an article by Food for the Hungry.

He even used his trauma to encourage and inform others suffering from emotional stress. Reymond shared his story at the 3-day Trauma Care and Counseling Seminar conducted by Food for the Hungry Philippines. Victims learned coping mechanisms and a debriefing process to better understand the symptoms and effects of trauma.

Reymond has also found some solace in leaving Tacloban City. He now lives with a brother and a nephew in Basey, Samar, where he also pastors a mission church. Reymond said moving has helped eliminate the daily reminder of the tragedy.

Photo by Christian Aid Mission

(Photo by Christian Aid Mission)

Assisting other sufferers has helped Reymond discover the purpose he knew God had for him. He said the seminar gave him an opportunity to turn his experiences into something good.

“After the sessions, I found peace in my heart,” Reymond said, as quoted by Food for the Hungry. “As a disaster and trauma survivor, this training gave me knowledge on how to help others who may be experiencing traumatic stress.”

Reymond is a rare example of someone who showed such a Christ-like response to a life-altering event. Many victims of natural disasters do not share the same hope. Can you help others like Reymond? Here are a few things you can do:

  • Pray that victims of natural disasters would find Christ and have hope in the face of despair.
  • Pray for the effectiveness of organizations like Food for the Hungry as it works to feed, clothe, and shelter survivors of natural disasters, as well as improve impoverished communities.
  • Consider financially supporting Food for the Hungry and learn more about its mission by clicking here.

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