when a typhoon hits the Philippines

This happens every November. I write for 31 days in October and then November comes and I have nothing to say.

But then a typhoon hit the Philippines and I can’t stop thinking about the people.

I think about walking through the streets of Manilla two springs ago and meeting the children there, one in particular: the child we sponsor through Compassion. Her name is Stacey.

stacey from the philippines

I walked through the zoo on a hot day in May with our team of bloggers, the children we sponsored, and some of their parents. I worked hard to avoid the orangutan dressed in human clothes who was allowed to roam free in the zoo. (A clothed monkey! Not in a cage!) You haven’t lived until you’ve visited a zoo in a third world country.

I met Stacey’s mom that day and she seemed well enough that spring, but in her most recent letters, Stacey asks me to pray for her mom who she says can no longer walk. I’ve asked why not, but with the delay between our letters I’ve yet to get a clear answer from her.

Now, I wonder about Stacey’s mom – if you can’t walk, how do you evacuate when there is a typhoon? I don’t know the answer to that or any of the other thousands of questions that swirl around when something terrible like this happens.


For those living in the Philippines, we pray for rescue. We pray for comfort. We pray for food, for clean water, for provision. We pray for protection – though I admit it feels too late for that, but we pray for it now anyway.

We pray for hope.

When I first heard of this terrible storm, I turned to Compassion International for a glimpse of that hope. They have been keeping sponsors posted on the condition there as best they can at this time, but I still don’t know for sure if Stacey and her family are safe. If you would like to help children and families affected by Typhoon Haiyan, one way you can help is to visit Compassion to donate to the Disaster Relief and Stability Fund today.


  1. says

    I have been praying for them as well. I lived in Okinawa for a few years in the early 90’s with the Air Force when the big eruption of Mt. Pinatubo happened. The military base evacuated everyone and everything and sent it to our base. The base where I was at was also covered in several inches of the volcanic ash. I remember aching for those who were displaced and lost everything. We tried to make their transition better but you could see the hurt on their faces. Although blessed, they were able to get out, but many were left among the rubble to rebuild. I am so sad about the devastation and the loss of life. May we continue to pray and help in any way we can! Blessings!

  2. says

    I can’t stop thinking about them either–especially the children. It’s unimaginable what they are going through. Stacey’s sweet picture puts a face on it. Praying for Stacey and her family. Praying for safety. Praying for those who are bringing aid. Let’s all help in whatever way we can.

  3. says

    Praying continually too. Our compassion child is in the Philippines and I am just sick about the situation. You feel completely paralyzed when you are continents away. Like, “Lord how can we help?!” Giving to the fund will be a great, practical step.

    I’m believing that our God was and is right there in the midst of this mess. I’m beginning with the truths that He is good and love, always, even when we don’t understand. Hugs, friend.

  4. says

    Thank you for this. Waiting for word on my David in the Philippines; praying for God’s mercy over all.

    My son was born in the Philippines, and I can still picture the joy-filled faces I met when I traveled there, though they had so little. And now this. Praying Compassion and others who serve there will be the hands and feet of Jesus to those who are frightened, injured, weary and weak.

  5. says

    I know. The girls and I prayed as the storm was coming, and now we’re talking about how all those prayers weren’t answered – not the way we understand or that makes sense to a kid at age 4 or 7 or age 32. Praying with you, with heavy hearts. Lord, have mercy.

  6. says

    So many friends with children, through Compassion, there. Oh Lord bring us closer to understanding. Oh God, comfort and bless the thousands who are suffering. And my heart is so heavy for the Compassion kids. My child is in Peru. I ache for all the children of the Phillipines today. Lord bring healing and comfort. Oh Emily, I am sorry for your shattered heart. This makes me tremble and weep.

  7. says

    My best friend has been living there for the past 6 months or so with Catholic Rescue Services and she loves it there. She’s been posting updates for a few days now, and luckily hasn’t been in any unsafe situation, but her dread at the largeness of the damage has transferred to us all away on the other side of the globe. We pray along with you.
    Sarah M

  8. says

    That is such a sweet little girl. Hope Stacey and her Mom are doing just fine. We pray that there is some good that comes out of all this tragedy.

  9. Beth Jones says

    I have two Compassion children in the Philippines and my soul hurts for these precious girls and their families. I desperately want to hear from them and know that they are safe.
    Praying that God will give strength to the weary, comfort to the injured, and hope to the mourning.

  10. says

    Thank you for this information. I’ve been wondering how to help but unsure of which organizations to trust.

    There a song by Kyle Matthews that says, “Most people pray for food, friendship, forgiveness, or a bit of good news…They are praying a prayer that even I could answer”.

  11. says

    I am reading your book, A Million Little Ways, right now and as I was reading chapter 7 on listen, these words meant so much to me, “But that week in the Philippines, I learned a little more what it means to sink into God and to trust Him to do what He does – first within me and then through me, for His glory and the benefit of others.” I believe at this time He does not want us to be anxious, He wants us to sit at His feet and lift up these families to Him. Thank you for what you do to raise the awareness of Compassion to so many people.

  12. says

    The pictures are heart wrenching — I’ve been praying for them as well. The anguish and displacement they must feel and the difficulty in getting aid to them.

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