The best way to help the Philippines

It’s impossible for me to wrap my mind around the devastation in the Philippines.  We’re all aware of the lives lost and destruction wreaked.  As a typically generous nation, we Americans are wondering how we can help. 

While God may indeed be calling you to pray, make a financial gift, and maybe even to board an airplane (and you should if He is), it’s my opinion that the best way to help in a tragedy like this, is to be invested before it happens. 

Being a regular financial and prayer supporter of an organization which is on the ground in places like the Philippines allows you to be involved in the well-being of a people before disaster strikes.  Such organizations are expertly equipped to bring immediate relief in times of need to the communities which they already permeate. 

The authors of “When Helping Hurts” have taught us that not all aid is equal.  It is possible and even probable that assistance provided by well-meaning but naive organizations will do more to hurt a people than to help them.  We must be wise in our giving to avoid being part of the problem. 

Our family has been investing in the Philippines for a few years now.  When we hosted a Compassion Sunday at the Harbor in 2010, each of our daughters began sponsoring a Compassion kid, which each one carefully selected and matched to her own age.  Since then, Hannah has been praying for, supporting, and writing to Clouie, her counterpart in the Philippines.  I’ve even gotten letters from Clouie’s mom.  When we began hearing about the typhoon, Hannah was most worried and called on our family to pray regularly for Clouie and her parents. 

Just today a friend who works at Compassion was able to give us a little more information about how Clouie and her family fared.  They are in a project area that has been categorized as severely affected.  It’s possible that she and her family have lost their home.  However, our friend reported that Clouie’s church has already been given supplies by Compassion to ensure that the kids’ immediate needs are taken care of.  We know that while Clouie is undoubtedly suffering, she is also being cared for by the Compassion staff that is already on the ground.  Because we were already investing in the Philippines through our sponsorship of Clouie, we have already participated in the provision of emergency relief to her.  While our family can’t do much to alleviate the huge burden in the Philippines, we are helping one child, whom we already know and love. 

Take this opportunity to research some organizations who are already on the ground around the world, in a position to help when the need arises. Sign up now to become a regular donor to them.  “Love your neighbor as yourself” through Compassion International or Samaritan’s Purse--two excellent organizations.  Be a part of the relief work before the disaster strikes.  

Tomorrow I’ll blog about finances, as “where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.”  If your heart cries out to those suffering in the Philippines and elsewhere, then your budget may need to be adjusted to match the burden the Lord has given you.  Additionally, budgeting and giving along with your children is a great way to grow men and women who will advance the Kingdom for a lifetime.