Aid Worker’s Diary: Answered Prayers

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Two days after Typhoon Haiyan struck the Philippines, Mai Zamora met and prayed with Patrick, whose family was lost. Recently Mai learned the rest of his story.

When I met Patrick three months ago, he was desperate. 

Between sobs, hunched over on the debris-littered ground, he told me had been separated from his wife and children in the chaos after Typhoon Haiyan.

“I’ve been everywhere to look for my two children, my wife, and my mother,” he said. “But I can’t find them.”

Here was a 27-year-old man begging for the Lord’s mercy, worried that his wife and children were among the bodies I’d seen cast alongside the road, on a horrific journey to Tacloban.

I was stricken and deeply touched by his story. This man — my age — seemed to have lost everything he held dear.

As he huddled on an empty bag beside an uprooted tree, I shared a few of my biscuits and some water to help him fill his hungry stomach. As he started eating and I stood up to leave, a little voice told me to take another moment.

I asked Patrick if we could pray together, and he said yes. We cupped hands and embarked on a prayer that left us both in tears.

“Lord, I know what we gave him is not enough, but please give him comfort and his family. Help him find his mother, wife, and two little children,” I prayed.
 
When I left Tacloban a few days later and World Vision began providing disaster relief assistance to the thousands of survivors, I often remembered Patrick. To me, he was the face of the disaster — and I continued to pray for him.
  
But just last Sunday, almost three months after Typhoon Haiyan, I returned to Tacloban.

A day after I arrived, a teammate and I walked  into a local eatery for a late lunch. As I ate chicken curry, I looked up and saw a familiar face.
 
It was Patrick. He was working as a server at the small restaurant. When I saw him, a lump swelled in my throat.

He smiled widely and took a seat at our table.

“By God’s grace, I found my family, and they are safe. Our prayer was answered, ma’am,” he said.

My heart sang. I was overjoyed and trying to control my tears. I am amazed and still overwhelmed at how God revealed his power.

That afternoon, my colleague and I visited Patrick’s home. We found him as he was hanging his children’s clothes to dry. We met 4-year-old CJ and 2-year-old James Patrick. We greeted his wife, Ana Rose, who came from washing the laundry along the river, just a few meters away from their small, makeshift house covered with a tarpaulin.
 
The family received food, blankets, mosquito nets and a tarpaulin from World Vision. They use the tarpaulin as a roof on their house after it was destroyed by the storm’s strong winds.

Ana Rose said, “We really didn’t know how we would have survived if World Vision didn’t help us.

“Thank you so much to all of you and to God for helping us to survive and for keeping our family complete.”

Written by Mai Zamora

Photo © Mai Zamora / World Vision

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