BOOK REVIEW: The perfect wake up call for all of us to rethink our ways”

DAVAO CITY (MindaNews /17 Dec) — Bro. Karl Gaspar’s Desperately Seeking God’s Saving Action: Yolanda Survivors’ Hope Beyond Heartbreaking Lamentations takes us back to the 8th of November 2014, when Supertyphoon Yolanda was trashing about the provinces of Samar and Leyte. It takes us back to when the strongest of winds were roaring like jet engines, when cars lying in the typhoon’s path were flying around like tumbleweeds.

Through masterful storytelling Karl vividly depicts the experiences of struggle, pain, and despair our countrymen from Eastern Visayas had to face. The stories jump out of the pages with fervor that you could almost taste the freezing seawater that slammed the coastlines of Samar and Leyte in surges. Reading through the stories will make you feel the weight of the debris that trapped thousands of individuals to their deaths. They make you carry the countless crosses the people of Samar and Leyte had to carry as they faced the wrath of Yolanda.

In this book, Karl kept his stories sharp yet short. They flow like shallow rivers that lead to the depths of the ocean. They may leave you hanging though, perhaps for a reason – they are not for the sensitive of heart. If you read Karl’s narratives with intent, you would be surprised how so succinct stories can shake your beliefs and evoke emotions with relative ease.

Beyond the stories, Karl’s reflections provides an absorbing window into an experience that will never be accessible for most of us. If Karl’s stories make you fly around with emotions, his reflections are the anchors that keep you aground. They make you see the complex plots of disasters. His reflections also introduce the all-important characters in how disaster relief operations are designed. All-important characters that include us, the readers – you and me, and how we may have contributed to a world of disasters and how we can fight our way through it.

Notwithstanding the focus on Supertyphoon Yolanda, Desperately Seeking God’s Saving Action should remain relevant for years to come. This book is the perfect wake up call to all of us to rethink our ways so as to continue revolutionizing our world whilst taking care of Mother Nature.

More importantly, let this book be one of the many glues that binds us together especially in times of disaster. For in times of desperation, God’s saving action manifests through us and our willingness to be there for one another. (Randolph “RR” R. Reserva is program manager of the Leyte Community Resilience Enhancement Project of Association of Psychologists Helping Practitioners).