Story 1 – When I think of… Written by Tang Hoi Xin
"I cry when I think of tonight, not because of my losses, but because of the help you all had given to me."
The severity of the disaster caused road closures, making it difficult to continue on cars. As a result, the 7979 recce team could not proceed to Chaah Christian Church to begin the cleaning work, they had to remain at Labis. Similarly, the Methodist Crisis Relief & Development (MCRD) team also faced the same fate and ended up at Labis too. Consequently, 7979 recce team met with MCRD team members, and decided to work together in the cleaning up of Labis Presbyterian Church. Their joint effort also included the cleaning of two shops which were affected by the flood. Beside this, Pastor Yeng Siew Chui of Labis Presbyterian Church led other volunteers to collect lists of needed supplies from the affected households to facilitate further relief work.
Initially, we thought it was just an ordinary encounter with the benefited shop owners. We arrived at the scene and work according to instructions and commands: washing this pile, moving that pile; shifted things here, taking things away. However, God's timing is perfect, and He always has a wonderful plan...
Covered in mud and drenched in sweat, the volunteers couldn't hide the sparkles in their eyes, and the logistics team at the base also shared joyfully the bits and pieces of their experiences. It all started when a volunteer noticed the choked voice and teary eyes of one of the shop owners.
When the volunteer saw that, he was ready to console the shop owner.
"I am deeply touched," the shop owner said instead. "I cry when I think of tonight, not because of my losses, but because of the help you all had given to me."
Those words took away the fatigue from the volunteers and strength were restored immediately. Before leaving, the shop owner insisted on giving several large bags of snacks, biscuits, and bottled water to the volunteers. Although the volunteers rejected few times, they eventually accepted the offerings out of consideration for his heartfelt gratitude. Thank God, for God’s wonderful guidance that led 7979 recce team and MCRD to come together.
Story 2 - Disaster Relief Volunteer Can Also Be a Listener Written by Carrie
The work of disaster relief volunteers goes beyond cleaning flooded houses and disinfecting sites; it can also extend to accompanying the elderly to clinic appointments, providing food, and meeting other basic needs. Whenever a flood occurs and manpower is needed on-site for rescue efforts, volunteers can step in.
Today, I was assigned to accompany an elderly woman to the clinic to clean her wound. She had injured her foot by accidentally stepping on a nail in the floodwater, the injury was severe. She lives alone in a wooden house, thus moving around is almost impossible for her condition.
While waiting at the clinic, the elderly woman expressed deep emotional pain. She shared the various challenges Chaah flood had brought to her life. Now, due to her foot injury, even taking a shower had become a huge struggle. She can only return to her independent life once her foot completely healed. As a volunteer, my role goes beyond helping them to restore their homes; I also become a listener, providing a way for the disaster victims to release their downhearted emotions. Providing a listening ear to the affected people may not directly speed up the reconstruction of their homes, but I believe that our presence and support can help them get through these difficult times.