Friday, February 21, 2014

100 Days after the Supertyphoon Yolanda: What is missing in building back better?

The strategy of building back better is not enough.

I had a talk with a survivor of Supertyphoon Yolanda and I was blessed by her words.

She said thank you for the work World Vision is doing in affected areas including Leyte and in rebuilding their town. But she said, the call to "build back better" is scary. She is afraid that the people are building back better the houses that were destroyed, the facilities, the businesses, the systems and other materials things damaged by the supertyphoon and that that may also be the focus of Christian NGOs and FBOs as well.

She said that Yolanda happened and became a wake up call for the people about their sins. People have recognized that their behaviors and their actions were sinful in that they destroyed the environment, they cut down trees to make way for rice fields, coco farms and factories, they failed to give value to human lives and the environment more than monetary profit, that they have forgotten to worship God and worked even on Sundays to earn more, to sell all the harvest from the crops to earn more and forgot to return to God part of the harvest, and many other sinful ways and acts. They have made profit their idols and turned away from God.

She is scared that when people will build back better, is that they will build back only a better worldly structure but they will not build back a better moral values and spirituality. That people will forget that their crooked ways and sinful life that led to risky actions and behaviors will not be better than before. That people will forget to rebuild their spiritual life.

Supertyphoon Yolanda had a big impact on the spirituality of the people. But the efforts in rebuilding the affected areas with the physical structures is not enough if the spiritual decay of the people is not rebuilt to be better. We are reminded, "Let the wicked forsake their ways and the unrighteous their thoughts. Let them turn to the LORD, and he will have mercy on them, and to our God, for he will freely pardon." (Isaiah 55:7)

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