We are on our first of 4 flights, a trip of over 30 hours that will end at home in Manitoba! We've already been through 3 security checks and we'll do at least one more, plus customs and immigration before we get home. We've been gone exactly 60 days... we've stayed in 3 guest homes on 3 different islands, flown on 8 domestic flights (Garry enjoyed 10), seen many friends and made some new ones, and learned a lot we never even wondered about in regards to disaster relief. It's been an incredible journey, and it's not over yet! As I ponder some of what's happened I cannot help but be awed and humbled by all God has done and that He has allowed us a small part in it. Yes, God, You are incredible!
Yesterday I met a guy who is a photo journalist who came to do some work in Tacloban and other affected areas. He said that even in the hardest-hit areas people are well-supplied with food. However, rebuilding houses and businesses is barely beginning. Another organization told us they plan to be in the Tacloban area for about 3 more years, Lord willing, focusing on rebuilding schools and libraries so children can receive an education.
This is very similaar to areas where we've been involved, and we are blessed to be in the rebuilding stage. God has provided amazingly, and projects are under way to help repair or rebuild houses as needed, boat repairs or purchase of new boats is beginning, and farmers are tending their seaweed, hoping for a harvest much, much sooner than they believed would ever be possible.
At the same time, we've heard amazing stories of how investing in this relief work is changing those who give. It's challenging thinking, moving us out of our norms, and sharpening focus on what really matters. Only God could put things together so everyone involved is blessed, encouraged, and brought closer to Him. And that is exactly what we all need!
As people who have moved out of our norm to be part of relief efforts, we personally have enjoyed the journey. We have loved the opportunity to help those in need and to coordinate efforts of those who are willing to invest. We've been blessed by the incredible people we've worked with... and been sad to not meet others involved in the effort. Our family has grown and changed in ways that are still becoming clear and some values we've held have been reinforced while other have been challenged.
Yes, God. Only God. At the close of one stage of a journey, it's an easy response to have, at any stage in the journey it's the best response!