There are many ways to characterize what a disaster is and how devastating it is to an individual.  For some, it may be losing a job and being forced to move or to pinch pennies for a time. For others it may be having your house or livelihood destroyed by a hurricane. Some may experience disaster in losing a loved one to sickness.

At GRI, we commonly see disaster strike in the form of innocent people being hunted and killed for a variety of reasons. We see people chased from their homes in Syria under the threat of a gun in their face. We learn of people raped and destroyed physically in tribal conflict across Africa.

However we believe, and experience daily, that IN EVERY DISASTER, LIVES CAN BE RESTORED. We believe this because we have seen what hope can do to people, no matter how big their disaster is or becomes. This hope is what we at GRI strive to provide in every act we do around the world.

I have seen what disasters can do to people and their families first hand. It is difficult to watch as people try so hard to survive, but have so much going against them. In my finite ability, I cannot do much to change their situation.  I cannot end their war, or stop the violence that victimizes them.

In my role with GRI, I work to make sure that our programs are funded, supplied and done with whatever agreements are needed to keep our staff safe. However, the most important thing I have been able to do is to show the people who are suffering that their life is just as valuable as mine. By going through all of the complex difficulties that we endure as we try to get aid to people, we are able to show them that they are completely worth all of the struggle. This has a way of providing value and hope and starting restoration of their lives.

In the end, hope is what drives people to fight for their families, and their lives. It is what causes people to pursue their faith, and it is what restores the dignity and humanity that they deserve in their lives.

- Jaden McNeely