It can’t be easy to spend weeks at a time away from your family. But for Leonilo Endoso, an Emergency Roving Manager (ERM) for Tearfund, it’s a calling.
Originally from the Philippines, Leonilo – known as Nilo for short – has had stints working in Pakistan, Iraq, Central African Republic, Mozambique and South Sudan. He’s currently in Indonesia supporting Tearfund’s response to the devastating tsunami and earthquake which hit Sulawesi in September 2018.
As one of four ERMs, Nilo’s job involves supporting local Tearfund teams as they respond to emergencies. When a disaster happens in a country where Tearfund doesn’t have staff, he helps coordinate the immediate response and identify new partners for a longer-term response.
Each assignment is around eight to ten weeks. ‘The work is tough, there’s no doubt about that,’ says Nilo, ‘but my family have come to an arrangement that they are happy supporting me in prayer.
‘We keep in touch via Skype and I share updates with them. Thankfully, communication is relatively easy compared to ten or 15 years ago!’
Nilo says some of the challenges with his work are when he’s in areas of extreme poverty. ‘In South Sudan, for example, it was very tough physically and emotionally. You cannot meet all the needs of the people. That’s why Tearfund’s supporters are so important, so we can do more.’
A certain faith
So what gets him through? His faith is vital. ‘The book of Ephesians is so important for me,’ says Nilo.
‘For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.’ (Ephesians 2:10)
‘I really feel that, through the work of Tearfund, we can be the hands and feet of Jesus in the world. In many places, people know we are Christians. We do not hide it, we’re not ashamed of it, we do not flaunt it, but people say: ‘why are you doing this, it’s a very dangerous place!
‘But they see that in Christ we have hope, and that keeps me going.’
We live in uncertain times, where natural disasters, conflict and political instability are too common. We lift up those who are suffering and thank you for the courage and commitment of people such as Nilo. Please keep all humanitarian workers safe and healthy as they reach out to vulnerable people in desperate need.
In Jesus’ name, amen.