Faith To Try Something New

'“Throw your net on the right side of the boat and you will find some.” said Jesus. When they did, they were unable to haul the net in because of the large number of fish.' - John 21 v 6

Eva recited this when asked about her favourite Bible passages. It's a story about having enough faith to try something new – and about the rewards you can reap from it.

This story has specific importance to Eva and her community in the Philippines. Just like Peter, they were unable to catch fish easily. Commercial zipper fishing boats had dredged the reef to destruction. Typhoon Haiyan in 2013 made their situation even worse, as it destroyed trees, houses and boats.

With no fish and no boats, all Eva's community had to eat was '...young banana which we pound with coconut for it to taste better'.

Eva did not despair. Just as Peter threw his net on the other side in search of fish, she decided to try something new.

The local community made moves to protect the sea. They set about creating an artificial reef to replenish their fishing areas:

‘To make the artificial reef, I collected gravel which was used in the construction of the jackstones (small foundations into which sea plants are placed). I also brought cassava, bananas and water to the labourers. We were 40 women and 10 men. The jackstones are 20-40ft underwater. We constructed 210 jackstones to make this reef and received a further 100 from the government and 13 from the municipal. We plant mangroves which serve as wind and water breakers and shelter fish and other marine creatures.’

Alongside providing a habitat where the fish population could recover, they also proactively started to stop illegal fishing by patrolling the area. The fish have now started to return.

‘Now we can spear fish at night and with hook and line. It’s on our shorelines so no kerosene is needed to go farther out and the coral is thriving already.’

Eva and her local community had enough faith to try something new, and have been rewarded with success. It's something that we in the West need to learn from when it comes to the environment. More importantly, we need to listen to Eva’s plea:

‘As humans, we are supposed to be equal, so I appeal to richer nations to stop activities which are destroying the environment and violating the human rights of the poorer nations. It’s us, on this island, who are suffering.’