Restoring Life Across the Indian Ocean
In their striking yellow shirts and jackets, the Volunteer Ministers in Galle and other cities followed their own well-established emergency drill — used time and again at disaster relief sites across the globe.
"Our teams' first step was to establish order amid the chaos," said Alissa Sears. "Working closely with medical doctors, government officials, business leaders and rescue workers, the Volunteer Ministers helped organize whatever actions were necessary to restore life and rebuild the area — from securing safe refuge and food, to bringing in and installing the equipment to produce clean water, to directing craftsmen in rebuilding efforts."
The effectiveness of their contributions was noted, and soon the team leaders were introduced to an Indian representative of the United Nations who, in turn, invited them to two meetings: the first, to establish relief team coordination, and a second with Education and Health Ministry officials. These meetings were attended by local government officials, including the senior director of the Galle school district, as well as representatives of such organizations as the International Red Cross, the Austrian Red Cross, the United Nations, UNICEF, the U.S. Agency for International Development and World Vision, and American and Pakistani military personnel.
Twenty-five relief camps were rapidly established in Galle alone, each hosting between 200 and 1,500 people. World Vision and other volunteers helped to distribute food, water and medication, and local doctors gave medical treatment, while the Scientology Volunteer Ministers obtained and erected some 100 tents to shelter and aid survivors.
And all the while, the Volunteer Ministers attended to the victims with spiritual aid, helping those traumatized, agitated and confused by the incident. With the help of the assists, many were able to sleep for the first time since the disaster struck.
Others who were severely injured had received medical attention but, to alleviate the effects of spiritual trauma, Volunteer Ministers also provided counseling and assists.
One of the many stories related from sites across the Indian Ocean came from Indonesia, where a comatose man, near death, had been rescued after eight days buried in mud and debris. Following two hours of an assist specially designed to help someone who is unconscious, he awoke from his coma, alert and lucid. Then there was an anguished amputee who, after a day of assists, was able to smile once again. His concerns had dramatically shifted from his own lost leg to how he might learn to give assists and so help others.
What Are Assists?
They operate on the principle that one tends to withdraw mentally or spiritually from an injured area. Only by restoring communication with this area can one bring the spirit into harmony with the body, thereby greatly speeding the recovery process. Assists are but one component of the 19 subjects of help contained in The Scientology Handbook, an 850-page volume based on Mr. Hubbard's works.
Ranging from basic spiritual counseling procedures to organizational methods to means of tackling everyday problems in interpersonal relations, each technique equips one with the information and skill needed to resolve the situations one encounters in life.
These tools instill a sense of hope and certainty that effective solutions do exist, that anyone can improve their own lives and the lives of others.
Complimentary copies of The Scientology Handbook are available to religious leaders, government officials and members of the news media at the following address: