Two crises are looming in the Philippines. And the window of opportunity to solve each could be slammed shut at any moment.
In recent weeks, Philippine officials have been grappling with two major evacuations. The first is from a potential natural disaster, the second from a very real man-made calamity. The second one might even be called a reverse exodus. In both evacuations none of the victims has any control over the situation.
The first crisis is the natural result of the Philippines being situated along the Pacific Ring of Fire (a 40,000-kms-long zone of frequent earthquakes and volcanic eruptions encircling the basin of the Pacific Ocean). The second is the problem of evacuating Filipino citizens from war-torn Lebanon.
The Philippines has 22 volcanoes. Some are still active. In 2001 Mt. Pinatubo erupted. Reputed to be the worst volcanic eruption in the past 800 years, it spewed 20 million tons of sulfur dioxide into the air causing even the earth's temperature to temporarily drop by half a degree Celsius. That explosion killed about 300 people, displaced 1.3 million farmers and buried 98,600 hectares of farmland. It also caused 4 billion pesos (or US$78 million) worth of infrastructure damage.
Right now, the Mayon volcano—reputed to have the most perfect cone structure in the world, with a record 47 eruptions since 1616—has been spectacularly spewing 1,000-degrees-Celsius lava down its slopes, and shooting ash up to 800 meters into the air. Philippine volcanologists expect a major eruption any time soon. So the government has declared an eight-kilometer radius off-limits zone to all area inhabitants.
In a worst case scenario, the government expects to evacuate as many as 75,000 people. However, there are always those who won't leave. In its last major explosion in 1993, at least 77 persons were killed because they refused to evacuate.
The second evacuation, and undoubtedly the more expensive presently being undertaken by the government (with 7.4 billion pesos allocated—about US$144 million), is to bring home all threatened Filipino workers in Lebanon. Because the Philippines supplies manpower globally, the government estimates about 30,000 Filipino workers are in that area. This estimate is also can be found at www.ofw.balita.ph, a website designed especially for overseas Filipino workers.
Earlier in the war it was easier and simpler for workers to escape out of Lebanon. In fact, most Filipino workers at that time left for home through the corridors of Israel. But as the war has progressed, more roads and bridges have become impassable. A longer route, used for three weeks, was through Damascus. But officials, with the bridge to Damascus now destroyed, must now consider the sea route to Syria and the alternate eight-hour sea route to Cyprus. They will then be airlifted, or transported in specially contracted sea vessels, back to the Philippines. For them, returning home is becoming increasingly more difficult, lengthy, expensive and dangerous.
Is there a personal lesson we can learn from these events? In any calamity or disaster, whether natural or man-made, every second counts. Also, in our personal and spiritual lives, we should not think that we have all the time in the world. We should get our spiritual houses in order before that small window of opportunity for escape completely eludes us.
Consider the trends in this world! Sooner or later, events like those facing tens of thousands of overseas Filipino laborers, or even worse disasters, will affect the lives of all of us. Many authorities already see the handwriting on the wall. This present civilization, as we know it, is inexorably speeding—day by day, hour by hour—toward the worldwide crisis that Jesus Christ predicted. Of that time He prophesied, "For then there will be great distress, unequaled from the beginning of the world until now—and never to be equaled again" (Matthew 24:21, New International Version).
You cannot afford to turn a blind eye to what is happening or to what lies ahead. The choices you make will surely affect not only your life but also the lives of your loved ones. Don't allow that narrow window of opportunity for making the right choices to slam shut on you!
For a better understanding of what lies ahead and how to properly prepare yourself for the events that are prophesied, just request or download now your copies of our free and informative booklets: Are We Living in the Time of the End? and Transforming Your Life.