Either the yellow shirts and hats or the mud-splattered, odoriferous clothing worn by taller, louder and lighter-skinned people draw a lot of attention to the volunteers as they travel and eat. This attention provides some unique opportunities though.
“‘Why do you do this?’ is probably the most asked question I get from people. People back home and people here,” Herald Patterson of Scroggins, Texas and Texas Baptist Men Yellow Cap, remembers. “I like it when they ask as it just opens the door wide open for evangelism. It’s just hard for non-Christians to understand this kind of love and compassion for other people.”
Patterson is one of 10 TBM volunteers in Metro Manila, Philippines offering Disaster Relief to the typhoon and flood-stricken area. TBM is there serving at Baptist Global Response’s invitation and working alongside Southern Baptist of Texas Convention, Baptist Men of Kentucky and Baptist Men of Oklahoma.
The Metro Manila area of the Philippines received a month’s worth of rain courtesy of typhoon Ondoy after previous days of rain saturated the ground.
“The reason I’m doing it is that we are all created in God’s image,” said Jack Vawter of Altair, Texas and TBM volunteer. “That’s the way that others will know that we are followers of Jesus. This is how to show His love to other Christians and non-believers also.
“I’ve been involved in cleanups before with other floods, so I knew what it was going to take to clean it up, but the number of people affected and depth of the water and the density of the population there are such huge piles of debris. But the immenseness of the damage and number of people that it has affected is overwhelming. There’s so much work to be done here. Yet, you still see children playing and having fun. We’re able to play with them some and put a smile on their face, hopefully bringing a little bit of respite among all this mess.”
The TBM volunteers on the mission trip are Ernie Rice (Blue Cap), Miguel Tello, Leo Vega, Harold Patterson, Bill Gresso, Jack Vawter, Russell Sheik, Rey Villanueva, Rand Jenkins and Stan Knight.