This past week was the most humbling experience in our lives by far. Me and my husband were able to share our riches, not monetary, since we’ve been living on a budget after our wedding three (3) months ago, but our riches in time and talents.
Metro Manila has experienced another calamity the past week involving non-stop heavy rainfall resulting to flood. Floodwaters have covered so many places in the Philippines leaving a lot of people hungry, cold and homeless.
Last Tuesday, August 7, 2012, my husband and I wanted to just go out of our comfortable home, bring our surfboards and go to the flooded areas where rescue was desperately needed. We were watching the news the whole day and most of the reports they receive were “RESCUE NEEDED”. Rescue operation groups were running out of rescue boats and were already trying to borrow from private owners. This led us to offer our help by letting them know that we may not have rescue boats but we have surfboards that we can use to help save lives out there.
We felt that as surfers, who are used to waves, currents and wipe outs, can make use of our resources (surfboards) and physical training to save lives in the flood waters. We were willing and ready to go paddle out once we receive a call/message but we didn’t get any. Given that the calamity only caused landslide casualties, the rescue operation groups, given the lack of materials, were able to do their jobs well with courage, strength, faith, compassion and love. God is good.
Come Wednesday, August 8, 2012, with God calling us to serve and make use of our time and talents to help and encourage others, my husband took a leave from work and we volunteered for five (5) straight days in our church (CCF Makati) to pack and give out relief goods to flooded areas. We’re even privileged when asked to bring our surfboards with us just in case we would need them in giving out relief goods in hard to reach areas. So my husband and I went out of our way and followed God.
Our last day of relief operation happened last Sunday with other surfers from Surfari Phils., headed by Jasper Enriquez. Jasper organized a relief operation for surfers who want to help out flood victims from the recent calamity.
Jasper was able to gather 200 bags from the RIDE ROCK RELIEF project which also aims to collect relief goods for calamity victims in the Philippines. Having heard from Pastor Danny of CCF Taytay that Rizal is the least supported flooded area since floodwaters normally last two (2) months to seven (7) months in hard to reach areas, we suggested to Jasper, if they haven’t found a flooded place to help out yet, maybe we can go to heavy flooded areas in Rizal with the help of CCF Taytay.
So it happened. Our Sunday Surfers group went to Villaluz St. Brgy. Kalayaan, Angono Rizal with Niko Baua and his crew from ABS-CBN to cover the relief operation. Niko is not just a reporter, but a diver, and recently got stoked in surfing when he tried it with Jasper’s group in Baler, Aurora.
August 12, 2012 was the most touching from all five (5) days of relief operation that my husband and I went to. I, personally cried when I saw Nanay‘s teary eyes (“Nanay” – in english, “Mother”) just right after giving her a bag relief goods. She’s about 65-70 years old and told me that she’s so blessed and thankful because that was the first time that they have received help and donation ever since the monsoon started. She said that they kept on listing their names but haven’t received any help. Her face is marked in me that whenever I think about her and remember her eyes and words, I can just cry. I told her that I will never forget Villaluz and that if ever (not hoping that another calamity would happen again though) there will be another misfortune event, I will remember and think first of Villaluz and their baranggay. My husband, LA, on the other hand met another Christian during our relief operation. When were down with just a few bags to give out, LA met Noel, a sick man who is undergoing dialysis at the moment and couldn’t go out of his flooded house and get the relief goods bag. So LA went up to his house and checked his status, gave the bag and prayed for him. That moment humbled him as well and he will never forget it. LA and I will always include them in our prayers.
Some pictures taken by Niko from the Sunday relief operation:
Surfers brave floodwaters to deliver relief goods
The relief operation for surfers is only the beginning. Jasper also launched a campaign entitled, SURF UNITED, which aims to break or change the surfer stereotype into responsible surfers and welcomes other educated surfers in the Philippines who want to give back to the community and help other people by joining in the campaign, and the recent relief operation was just the start of it.
Surfing, more than the stoke, fun, and laid back lifestyle that it provides, is a celebration of God’s creation. You celebrate with the waves, but it also doesn’t stop there. The kind of stoke that surfing gives you makes you want to celebrate God’s gift of nature anytime and anywhere, as long as there is still creation to celebrate with. Who is responsible then to take good care of God’s creation and preserve God’s gift so we can continuously celebrate life with our loved ones and others? Let’s take a stand and make sure it’s the right one.
As for my husband and I, we will make the right choice, continue to take courage as we live a “shaka” lifestyle and will continue to serve the Lord.
May God be with you always,
“But if you refuse to serve the Lord, then choose today whom you will serve. Would you prefer the gods your ancestors served beyond the Euphrates? Or will it be the gods of the Amorites in whose land you now live? But as for me and my family, we will serve the Lord.” ~ Joshua 24:15 (NLT)
“for it is God who works in you to will and to act in order to fulfill His good purpose.” ~ Philippians 2:13 (NIV)