An aid worker's diary: today, Mikhaela De Leon -- media engagement officer for World Vision Philippines -- reflects on her experience of Typhoon Haiyan and why God brought her to Tacloban on that day.
I shouldn't have been there. Over and over I asked God in prayer, "Why did you bring me here to Tacloban, Lord?" It didn't make sense.
I was safe in Manila. I had no family in Leyte, couldn't speak the dialect, didn't know the place. It was my first time there, and it had to be at a time like this. Was it a case of being in the wrong place at the wrong time?
But I am reminded: God's timing is perfect. God's will is always right. I surrendered myself to God's bidding, trusting fully that if he sent me to it, he would deliver me from it.
Amazingly, after that initial prayer, I was calm and peaceful. I knew, from day one, I was going to survive. It was purely God's grace, I tell you. Not by my might or power — I had none of that.
I have no real emergency skills. But what I lack in that department, I made up for with my relational skills. I made friends.
People kept me company during those uncertain nights in the dark, where we could hear the whistling wind and crashing glasses and metal sheets. I comforted two women — one of whom lost all her siblings to the flood. I was scared, too, but I knew that they had exhausted all strength and hope; I wanted to give some of mine.
It dawned on me this morning the answer to that prayer: "God, why did you bring me to Tacloban?"
His answer: "You are my servant."
I am in God's ministry, to bring hope in the midst of disaster. He gave me such a resilient and joyful personality so I could cheer people up.
He sent me as an ambassador to the foreign guests in our hotel. I translated for them news I was able to pick up on the way. I met Philippine Interior Secretary Mar Roxas, learned that there was a C-130 plane, and immediately informed the right people.
In my little way, I was able to help at least six families evacuate to safety, including an elderly couple who almost drowned in another hotel. My heart goes out to those now homeless and those who perished. I hope I can go back to give relief to them.
I am a relief worker turned evacuee. God wanted me to understand the plight of the people I help on a more personal level.
He wanted me to know the value of every relief good that we hand to them. How every canned good is precious to a child who has lost his home and family.
When I initially asked why God wanted me here, my friend said, "Maybe God sent you here for the experience."
She was right. And I thank God for it. I thank the Lord for taking me out of my comfort zone and to this time of testing for my faith to grow and for showing me the strength I didn't know I have in me.
World Vision has launched an emergency response to help survivors of Typhoon Haiyan – possibly the strongest storm in recorded history – after it slammed the Philippines. An estimated 9.5 million people are affected.
World Vision is rushing to meet the most urgent needs of food, clean water, and emergency shelter for 400,000 people. Make a one-time donation to help provide vital relief to children and families devastated by Typhoon Haiyan in the Philippines.