‘Turning back just wasn’t an option’

Missionary Ted Wall of Nanaimo describes his work in the Philippines during a flood fundraiser held Sept. 22 in Ladysmith.

Missionary Ted Wall of Nanaimo speaks during a Philippines Flood Fundraiser Sept. 22 in Ladysmith.

Missionary Ted Wall of Nanaimo speaks during a Philippines Flood Fundraiser Sept. 22 in Ladysmith.

When missionary Ted Wall returns to the flood-ravaged Philippines this week, he’ll bring more than $2,000 from Ladysmith.

A Philippines Flood Fundraiser held Sept. 22 at Oceanview Community Church raised $2,042 for Wall to take with him to help people in the Philippines.

Organizer Kristie Hornett was very impressed with the event.

“It was a really neat learning experience,” she said. “It was great to hear the passion. I felt really mentored by those who have gone before me to do something bigger. I kind of thought there would be more people, but at the end of the day, my goal was to raise more money than I could have done myself — that’s why we had the theme ‘be part of something bigger.’”

During the fundraiser, which included presentations and a silent auction, Dr. John Potts of Ladysmith spoke about his volunteer work overseas through Samaritan’s Purse.

Potts has been to Kenya, Liberia, Haiti and other disaster zones to provide medical aid, and he remains on-call for emergency response through Samaritan’s Purse.

Potts explained that there are two types of disaster — natural disasters, which  happen quickly like an earthquake or tsunami, and man-made disasters like war or genocide, which you see coming — but the approach to any disaster is the same.

Rescue is the first response, he explained.

“It comes out of our hearts, and that’s just what you do,” said Potts. “That happens right away, and it’s very short-lived.”

Then, in the 12 hours to three weeks after a disaster, victims need shelter, water, sanitation and hygiene and medical attention, explained Potts.

Longer-term, the response turns to community development and food, and this stage is ongoing, he noted.

“All those things you have to do in a disaster,” he said. “Nobody can do them all. You need to ask yourself ‘what am I going to be doing?’”

Wall, who postponed his trip back to the Philippines so he could speak at the Ladysmith fundraiser, showed photographs from the Philippines and spoke about his work there.

Wall, who was born and raised in Nanaimo, was back in Canada for the summer, and he returned to the Philippines this past weekend.

The first time Wall went to the Philippines was on a mission trip with Youth With A Mission (YWAM) as part of a practical phase of a missions course he was taking.

On one of the first days Wall was in the Philippines, they took a tour of the poor areas that YWAM was ministering, including the Smokey Mountain Garbage Dump in Manila, he recalled.

“I felt just completely overwhelmed with compassion for the people,” he said. “I just felt like I needed to do something for these people. Turning away just wasn’t an option. When I finished my three-month outreach, there was no question I would go back. My heart had been broke for the Philippines.”

Eight years later, Wall hasn’t looked back, and he says he has cherished every moment he has spent in the Philippines.

Wall appreciates the chance he has to be in a place where he can make a difference.

He has worked with YWAM in Smokey Mountain for seven years. This year, he and a friend decided they wanted to start a mission in an area where there haven’t been missionaries, and they moved just south of Manila to San Pedro in the province of Laguna.

The Laguna area is known for flooding, particularly during the rain season, when they can experience up to four to six typhoons. This year, the province is experiencing its worst floods on record.

Going back to the Philippines, Wall wasn’t sure what to expect.

“I know it’s going to be challenging,” he said. “One of the things I’ve seen that has been incredible for me is to see how just a little bit goes such a long way in the Philippines. In a place like the Philippines, I just do such a small amount that takes such little effort, and it makes such a difference and goes such a long way. I’m excited to go back — there are people who will turn their lives around because of this.”