Typhoon Yolanda: Unstoppable


Today is Thanksgiving! It really doesn’t feel like it. Usually, at home I’m up early and starting my day long relationship with a couple of turkeys. Today, most likely, we are going to have MREs (Military Meals Ready to Eat) and maybe some special freeze-dried desserts from REI. In a storage, simplistic way, I was looking forward to it. And… I was thankful. After all, it is Thanksgiving. There are so many things that I take for granted: Toilets that you can sit on and that you don’t have to flush with a bucket, water the comes out of the faucet that you can drink, Internet access, a bed, a shower with hot or cold water (that you can drink if you want to), sleeping without a mosquito net to get tangled in, and more. Yep, I’m thankful alright. Number one, I have a roof. Number two, it doesn’t leak.

Today we had clinic in the barangay of McArthur. This is the place where General McArthur landed and rescued the Filipino folks from the Japanese. They even have a statue of him. When they talk about General McArthur, they all get this huge smile. As Americans, I’m not sure that, most of the time, we know what it means to be rescued.

We saw about 100 people in clinic. It was different that the others that we have done so far. This time we set up in the Rural Health Unit (RHU) with the community physician. She was incredibly grateful for the help. Since the Typhoon, other organizations had brought by supplies but we were the first that said, “Would you like some help?” I suspect that we were sort of like a drink of water to a man in the desert. She hadn’t had a break and no one thought to offer her one. Talk about a happy woman. I wish you could have seen her smile. She had been doing a champion’s job before we got there but we, no doubt, renewed her spirits and gave her a second wind.

We headed back early today so I could do a workshop with the Mayor and his staff. I am absolutely convinced that this is the reason that my trip was delayed. I believe that I am in the right place, at the right time, with the right team to bless the right people. I have been working with corporations all around the United States teaching them about Performance Under Pressure. The whole thing got started after Hurricane Katrina when I came back pondering a life changing question. I didn’t come home wondering why there were so many victims; I suspected that. I came home wanting to know what it was about some of the people that they did not become victims. That is a question worth pondering. I want to be unstoppable. I believe that it is possible to equip others to do so as well. This is my calling.

It was exactly what the Mayor and his staff needed. They have been working themselves to the bone. Many of them have lost their homes, their roofs and even some of their family members and friends. Yet, they still come to work to help others. They didn’t make the headline news but these are the people that are the real heroes. They are game changers. They are Thrivers. I shared with them the insights that I gained after Katrina and Haiti. We talked about Victims, Manipulators, Bystanders and Thrivers. We dug into Disaster-Improv and how to solve problems under pressure when resources are scarce. We had a great discussion about how to do demanding work and not get burned out. We talked about the keys to becoming unstoppable. They enthusiastically received my message and told me that I was now officially part the family. I’m proud to be “officially" part Filipino.

The mayor told me this evening that he will take me to his home and show me where he was when the Typhoon struck.

Thanksgiving dinner was wonderful. We had MREs and some pretty good desserts from REI. I ate them with my special wilderness spoon/fork/knife thing. We even had our real bottle of Coke that we had been saving since one of the staff found it for us a couple of days ago. I’m missing my wife and family but thankful that I can be here doing what I’m called to do. I feel humbled to the core. It seems so miraculous to me that God would allow me the privilege of coming clear around the globe to be able to encourage the Mayor and his staff. I can’t even explain how blessed I feel to be part of what He is doing to bring comfort, strength and hope.