When Typhoon Haiyan entered the Philippines, I kept on gazing at the sky from my window from time to time and thought the whole time the difference between the weather in Ilocos and what is happening in Visayas and Southern Luzon. It was sunny here in Ilocos when it happened, but the silence of my surroundings made me feel that something painful is going on somewhere on the other side of the Philippines.
One of the badly hit places was the Provinces of Leyte. I felt intense sympathy for them because it’s my Grandfather’s hometown. I even still remember the conversation I had before with my dad when I was still 10 years old. That was the first time he talked about our relatives back in Southern Leyte. He had this big smile in his face while talking about all the little details about our relatives there, and promised that he will bring us there someday so that we could personally meet them. But now, although I haven’t seen my dad for months because I am away from my hometown back in Surigao, I know his heart is crying over what happened to his hometown. We are not so sure if my relatives are safe. That’s why all I can do for now is to pray for their safety.
What happened to my country was really beyond my comprehension. I cannot understand it fully why it always has to be the poor people. Why not give those problems to those who are corrupt and selfish, those who live in too much wealth and sinful pleasures? Just this morning, the News said there has been 10,000 estimated fatalities, and it really made me cry for hours. The question ‘why?’ has been repeating in my head. But I thank the LORD for comforting me through His word. I might not know it all but I believe that His thoughts and ways are higher than mine. It seems so tragic and unbearable, but the more it tells me that I cannot understand it, the more my faith grows stronger that it was done to strengthen our faith in God.
I’ve always wanted to help the Philippines. The ambition of my heart has always been centered to what God wants me to do for my countrymen, and although my dream of becoming doctor is still way too far from where I am now, but such incidents in my country gives me the courage to pursue what my heart cries for.
If only all of you have seen the damages in my country, you might have cried with me, too. Imagine people crying on the streets because they haven’t seen their relatives. Some parents are holding their dead kids. Some are speechless and doesn’t even know what to do. Some went back to their homes just to find out that their families were trapped there and already dead. And some are begging for food because they have been starving for days. All I can do is cry and pray because I have no big money to lend them. I’m still a student who depends on my parents for allowances, and I am not that powerful to convince people to go with me and help the victims of the typhoon. Right now, all I can do is pray. That’s the best thing I could do.
I have heard so many harsh comments about what happened to us. Some people were saying that it was God’s punishment to us. To be honest, I cried over those accusations. Who are they to tell us those things? It hurts me because I’m a Filipina, and I know my country better than they do.
Yes, this is not the first time it happened to us (just last month, Visayas was shook by a 7.2 magnitude earthquake. Year 2012, Typhoon Bopha hit Central, Southern and Eastern Mindanao and killed thousands of people.Year 2011, Typhoon Washi claimed thousands of people, too in Central Luzon and on Year 2009, Typhoon Ketsana devastated National Capital Region and some places in Luzon), but it doesn’t mean it’s a punishment from God. It hurts me because they haven’t seen how faithful Filipinos are. I have friends back in Mindanao that dedicated their lives for Mission in some places around Philippines. They haven’t seen how we gather before back in college just to pray over raging problems in Mindanao and the rest of Philippines. Those who accused us being punished by God has no clue that after all that we’ve been through, we never blame God because we believe it is all His testings for us. We know that God loves us because He gives us strength to rise up and praise His name. We might have sinned, and there are some mistakes on what some people believed in, but it doesn’t mean that we should be labeled as someone that has been punished by God. Pray for us, instead of telling us lies. There is nothing here on Earth that will ever bring us down. It hurts me that instead of praying for us, some people think God is punishing us.
But for those who prayed for the victims and sent any kind of help, THANK YOU VERY MUCH. Thank you for letting us feel how it is to belong with Jesus Christ through the help from His followers. Thank you for the prayers, encouragements and financial help (especially ISRAEL, NEW ZEALAND, AUSTRALIA, UNITED KINGDOM, CANADA, UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, UNITED ARAB EMIRATES, BELGIUM, DENMARK, GERMANY, HUNGARY, INDONESIA, JAPAN, MALAYSIA, THE NETHERLANDS, NORWAY, RUSSIA, SAUDI ARABIA, SINGAPORE, SWEDEN, TAIWAN and TURKEY who offered help to the Philippines). I might not know all of those who helped us, but I thank you all from the bottom of my heart.
For my fellow Filipinos, especially those who were victims, you might not read this blog on time, but I dedicate this blog entry to all of you. I have seen before how Typhoon Washi destroyed Iligan and Cagayan de Oro, that’s why I know how it feels to be in the midst of calamities. Be strong, and never take this as a punishment from God. Take this as a suffering that will strengthen your faith in Him. Repent and have faith in Jesus Christ. It is always an unexplainable joy to be in His loving presence. I will be praying for all of you. May these verses comfort you:
We are afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed, but not driven to despair; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed; always carrying in the body the death of Jesus,so that the life of Jesus may also be manifested in our bodies. –2 Corinthians 4:8-10
Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or danger, or sword? As it is written, “For your sake we are being killed all the day long; we are regarded as sheep to be slaughtered.” No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us. For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord. -Romans 8:35-39
In this you rejoice, though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been grieved by various trials, so that the tested genuineness of your faith—more precious than gold that perishes though it is tested by fire—may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ. Though you have not seen him, you love him. Though you do not now see him, you believe in him and rejoice with joy that is inexpressible and filled with glory, obtaining the outcome of your faith, the salvation of your souls. -1 Peter 1:6-9
God bless you, my readers.
All glory and honor belongs to God alone.