Sunday, June 8, 2014


A group of people working together to accomplish one common goal. 

In our case the goal is to help the people of Leyte and Samar get back on their feet after being struck by one of the worst typhoons ever recorded. Typically a HELP team is made up of college students from various backgrounds, a lot of which are seeking internship credit. Every once in a while you get the students who are just looking for a chance to look out side themselves for a summer. Our team has all of that, but it also has a dynamic that isn't as common within HELP. Almost all of the people who are on our team have served their missions here giving us a connection to this place that isn't found in most teams. 

HELP Philippines Crisis Team 2014

Stephen stepped foot in to the Philippines for the third time on April 27th. He was born and raised in Utah but left in 2010 when he was called to the Philippines Tacloban Mission. For the next two years he spent his days teaching and serving the people here. A month after the typhoon struck the Philippines Stephen was able to come back with his dad and a group called Charity Vision. They were only here for two weeks, but the amount they were able to accomplish was great. It was shortly after his arrival home that he was asked to be a country director for the HELP Philippines Crisis Team, and by so doing signed up for an entire summer here in Tacloban.

Chris' story is a lot like Stephen's. He is also from Utah and also left in 2009 to serve in the Philippines Tacloban Mission. While Stephen was in Tacloban with his dad, Chris was busy planning Run4Philippines with his brother Jaron. It was never in his plan to go back to Tacloban. All he was trying to do was raise some money for the people he grew to love. But when HELP caught word of it all, they approached Chris with the opportunity to return to Tacloban. On May 5th Chris arrived in Tacloban as a HELP Country Director, ready to help and determined to make a difference.

Kulia is about as Hawaiian as they come. He was born there, raised there and will continue to live there after he finishes his time in the Philippines. He spent his mission serving the Filipino people in Bocolod, but that hasn't stopped him from giving his all to the people of Tacloban.

Adam needs to be a motivational speaker. He was only here for ten days but he has the ability to captivate and inspire any audience. Adam is a half Native American, half Filipino from Arizona that spends his days in Hawaii. He was able to spend his mission days getting to know his culture in the Philippines Naga Mission. On thing is for sure; he definitely has the heart of a Filipino. 

Regina was a lot like Adam in the sense that she couldn't stay for very long.We all would have loved for her to stay longer, and begged her to do so. One thing is for sure, she made the most of every second she had here. She was also raised in Utah, and later served her mission here in Tacloban. She loves to dance and the youth here loved every bit of choreography she taught them. 

 Shaley is the last of the four to serve her mission here in Tacloban. She returned home just a couple months before the typhoon hit and jumped at the opportunity to come back to and help the people that she had spent all that time with. Shaley is always willling to help, and if she says she'll get something done you can count on it. No body is more excited than I am that she will be here all summer.

Becca is another Utah local, and although she'd never been to a third world country before she loved it right from the start. The excitement she had for the Philippines was so fresh and exciting and really helped us all to remember what it was like coming to the Philippines for the first time. The kids here absolutely adore her and her passion to help others through their struggles is so genuine.

Sean came to the Philippines for the first time when he served his mission in Cebu. He is  a Utah local who is always willing to help out on a project, and does so without ever complaining. He has a sense of humor you have to love and a real talent for bringing smiles to the faces of all those around him. 

DeeJay is our Hawaii-born, Utah-residing, Cebuano speaking friend. What is not to love about DeeJay is the real question. His love of people and ability to teach has been such an asset to our team. He can have you in a deep conversation about life one second and rolling in laughter the next. We only wish he'd decide to stay longer.

Can I say that we have the best HELP team there is? I don't know the other teams so that wouldn't really be fair. What I can say that I am so grateful for the team that I am on. I have loved seeing each of our strengths in action as we do our best to help the Filipino people. There is no doubt in my mind that we are all here for a reason and I cannot wait to see what else we will be able to accomplish. 

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