IN THE NICK OF TIME
Volunteer Ministers Answer the Call for Victims of Philippines Typhoons
Volunteer Ministers (VMs) embody the true spirit of Scientology. Their help knows no boundaries. When all seems bleak or lost, the VMs rekindle hope, purpose and spiritual values in a sometimes harsh and materialistic world—as most illustrated in times of disaster. Asking and expecting nothing in return except to see people get back on their feet and smile again, the Volunteer Minister program is help in its purest form.
Begun in the mid 1970s by Scientology Founder L. Ron Hubbard, the Volunteer Ministers have grown to a highly visible and recognized global aid force, trained and ready to mobilize in times of natural or man-made catastrophe and to provide assistance in communities during calmer times.
Nowhere is that indiscriminate help more apparent than with the Negros Oriental province Volunteer Minister team in the Philippines, who in the last year alone have helped over 200,000 people through numerous natural disasters, including six typhoons, since July 2014.
This included Typhoon Rammasun that left 82 people dead and 40,000 homes destroyed. Then came Typhoon Hagupit in December, pounding the Philippines islands for three days and leaving more death and destruction.
But out of the chaos, the Volunteer Ministers were always there, their bright yellow T-shirts heralding their presence. “Angels of mercy” they have been called, providing anything needed—food, water, clothing, tents, a kind word, and, of course, what the Volunteer Ministers are most known for—Scientology assists, simple procedures to alleviate the spiritual component of physical pain, shock or emotional trauma. Volunteer Ministers give these assists to anyone in need, and teach them to anyone who wants to help another.
“BUT OUT OF THE CHAOS, THE VOLUNTEER MINISTERS WERE ALWAYS THERE, THEIR BRIGHT YELLOW T-SHIRTS HERALDING THEIR PRESENCE...”
Typhoon Hagupit provides a snapshot of Volunteer Minister operations. They first coordinated with other relief groups and local officials to determine the greatest need, and they went to work. They traveled 340 miles by boat, bicycle, trolley and any other conveyance at hand to reach remote, hard-hit areas. They organized food and water and got it into the hands of those who needed it. They helped residents clean up their homes—or helped them search in the rubble of a fallen house for cherished family possessions.
In a tent city set up for the newly homeless, the Volunteer Ministers set about helping dazed and frightened children. They fed them, played games, sang songs, and gave assists to help them recover from the shock of the disaster, bringing smiles to the faces of 2,000 children in one camp. In another, they distributed relief goods to over 4,000 families and gave hundreds of assists.
“If you give a man a fish, you feed him for a day; teach a man to fish, you feed him for life,” the proverb goes. Scientology Volunteer Ministers feed people for life by training them to give assists and teaching myriad other life skills. The goal is sustainability—people helping themselves and each other after the Volunteer Ministers have moved on to other locations to help other communities. At Typhoon Hagupit, the Volunteer Ministers left behind 625 newly trained VMs, empowered with knowledge and skills to rebuild their own lives and help their community rise again.
TOOLS FOR LIFE
To contact a Volunteer Minister for one-on-one assistance, to schedule an on-site seminar, to view chapters of the Tools for Life film or sign up for an online course, visit www.volunteerministers.org. In addition to online and on-site training, anyone with a desire to help others, no matter their creed or faith, may enroll at any Church of Scientology for training as a Volunteer Minister.
Free Online Courses
Helping in Times of Need
The Volunteer Ministers are available on call at any time of natural or man-made disaster to help those in need. Donations help support the transport of these VMs across the world and the supply of basic resources vital to life for the victims of disasters such as food, water, tents and medical supplies.