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To Live Together in Peace and Harmony Again

Have you ever wondered if God really answers prayer? Many times, I have wondered and asked the same. For years, I did not believe that prayer can move mountains. Look at how big a mountain is. How possible would that be? But then I began to understand that mountains are not always physical or literal, but rather the inner problems we face as humanity. We have mountains in our lives.

After becoming a Global Mission Fellow (GMF) (Advance #3022343), I was not sure where my placement site would be. Meanwhile, many of my fellow GMF members had already begun work in their respective placements. I almost lost hope. I remember vividly the day I said, "I don't know where I will serve," and my friend said, "You will go where God sends you." That gave me hope and restored my faith.

Seth Ogeto with some of the internally displaced children UMCOR is assisting in Iligan. PHOTO: COURTESY SETH OGETO.

When I finally received a placement site and started praying for the same, things did not become easier. I felt like it took a decade for my prayers to be answered—my mountain. Finally, I arrived at my placement site. I have learned to trust God and that God's time is the best. It is not ours to know when God will answer our prayers. We may receive answers immediately, or much later, but finally, God answers our prayers—and at times and in ways that we cannot foresee. God works in ways we cannot understand and loves us more, so we learn to trust.

Today, I live and work in Iligan City, Philippines with the Ecosystems Work for Essential Benefits Inc. (EcoWEB). The city is somewhat over-populated, so social amenities are scarce, and many people live below the poverty line. Housing and sanitation are problematic. Iligan City had become a refuge for people displaced by the Marawi crisis which erupted south of Iligan City earlier this year. The crisis arguably has been caused by a confrontation between the government military and Islamic State (ISIS) militants. Over 98 percent of the population (350,000) has been displaced from Marawi City, along with residents from nearby municipalities who are experiencing severe food shortages and other social problems. Many have died, and properties worth millions have been destroyed, causing economic upheaval. Marawi City is in ruins.

Profiling Internally Displaced Persons from the Marawi Crisis with support from UMCOR. PHOTO: SETH OGETO.

Marawi is about an hour and a half's drive from Iligan City, which is why so many of those displaced are ending up here. The situation, despite numerous efforts put in place to bring sanity to those affected, still leaves a lot to be desired. Sadness and despair are what one sees in the eyes of most of these people. Intervention is needed.

We pray that God will help everyone here so that people can realize their potential and live together in peace and harmony again. We pray that God comforts those who have lost loved ones and consoles them during these hard times. We pray that God will work with us as we face these challenges—that God might restore their faith. Most people here are Muslim, and we pray that we can work together for the good of all so that we can achieve more as we serve.

Seth Ogeto, Global Mission Fellow from Kenya, Class of 2017-2019.

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Copyright New World Outlook magazine, Winter 2018 issue. Used by permission.

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