On Typhoons, Disasters, and Kind Hearts

In the last 6 years, there have been typhoons that caused major disasters in our country. 3 stick out in my mind.

>;Milenyo in 2006. Danae, 11 months old, was in the hospital for Pneumonia when it hit.

>;Ondoy in 2009. It was Noelle’s baby dedication the week it hit, and we went to Cagayan de Oro and Camiguin for my cousin’s wedding.

>;Sendong in 2011 was the one that hit Cagayan de Oro hard.

Oh, now Gener, which hit last July, sticks to mind because we endured almost 20 hours of no power. There were floods all around the city too.

But this week, there was no typhoon, no strong winds. Just strong rains due to the southwest monsoon. The floods that have hit our country are terrible. Dams and rivers have overflowed. So many properties, homes, cars and lives destroyed. They have declared no classes for the entire week for some schools. There are so many evacuees who need food, medicines, and toiletries.

Through all this however, it warms my heart to see Filipinos rallying to help those in need. There are relief efforts just about everywhere. The 12,000 inmates of Muntinlupa City Jail gave up their meals to help the evacuees in Muntinlupa, who are already over a thousand in number. I’ve seen pictures and heard stories of kindness on Facebook and on the news — from a banana vendor giving away his bananas to feed those who were stranded, truck drivers giving rides to people so they could get home, policemen carrying the elderly in their arms, soldiers creating a human bridge for people to pass over the flood, to ordinary people braving the floods to rescue strangers. I can’t tell you how proud I am to be a Filipino. Everybody is pitching in, doing their part. I concur, WHERE I’M FROM, EVERYONE’S A HERO.

Photo credit: https://www.facebook.com/ItsMoreFunInPhilippines
photo credit: Ana del Castillo
Helping me with “the fish” 🙂

Even my daughters helped with the relief operations in Victory Alabang on the first day. Danae was so eager to help with bagging goods. People were telling me that she kept working, even when she was already tired. Noelle helped too, by helping me load canned goods into the shopping cart. Ever since they’ve also heard and seen the news, they include “the people in the flood” in their prayers. I am so proud to be the mom of these two.

Putting water bottles in bags 🙂
“the fish”
Busy busy busy!
In formal wear haha 🙂
Canned goods!

Yesterday, the youth were there all day to help out. Today, some Alabang homeschoolers did volunteer work. These opportunities to teach our kids GENEROSITY, to VOLUNTEER, to SERVE, to THINK BEYOND THEMSELVES, to help and PRAY for others, to work with a team, to SEE AND BE PART OF LOVE & KINDNESS IN ACTION, are priceless.

Photo credit: Michelle Remulla
Photo credit: Michelle Remulla

Biscuits & other snacks![/caption


Here’s my take-home as we go home after ten days in the hospital….

COURAGE is not the absence of fear, but STRENGTH IN THE MIDST OF FEAR. I saw this in my husband despite his pain, his fear of feeling the pain, and his fear of what his condition will mean in the future. Although I saw him go through some emotions, I never saw him give in to his fear. I did not see him cower in despair and unbelief. He definitely felt fear and worry at times, but his faith was intact. He was and is secure of God’s love, goodness, power & sovereignty that a few disheartening words did not destroy him. I have courage because he has courage.

ENCOURAGEMENT is something you can’t do without when you’re in the hospital or facing any adverse situation. I did my best encouraging King, but he also drew courage from others. My friends would always ask me not just how King is, but how I am. The family needs just as much encouragement as the patient. Danae broke down at one point and I had to be the one to encourage her that daddy’s going to be okay. THE TONGUE IS INDEED POWERFUL, able to build up or tear down. We are grateful for family and friends who helped build us up by their hopeful messages and timely visits. We appreciate the conversations too, and all the laughter. Nothing like laughter to lift up one’s spirits!

We are also grateful for the few who spoke hopeless words to us because it just showed us that that is not what we want to be, when it’s our turn to be “there” for another. We choose to be encouraging and uplifting, knowing that one discouraging word can bring such gloom to a bright, sunny day (exactly how I felt).

PRAYER is a strong weapon. When that person said those discouraging words to us, it wasn’t anything new. We heard it already, but he just said it in a way that it seemed hopeless. I literally found myself at a loss for words when King and I were alone that night, an hour or two after. I looked at King and I knew that we both felt the same way –DISCOURAGED. We didn’t know how else to deal with it but to PRAY. We fought the discouragement and found courage once again when we prayed. The prayers of our family and friends give us much courage too, to press on and not give up.

SUPPORT from our families and friends was unbelievable. From helping us with the kids and bringing us clothes, to bringing us food and other needs, messaging or calling us, visiting us, praying for us, running errands for us. There was no shortage of KINDNESS  among our families and friends. It makes us all the more appreciative of who we have in our lives.

GRACE is what gets us through each day. THE INCREDIBLE GRACE OF GOD. God gives us the extraordinary ability to be grateful for little things. God gives King the extraordinary ability to push through his fears. God gave me the extraordinary ability & strength to take care of one who, in the first 6 days, could not do anything without my help and of two little ones at the same time. God gives us the extraordinary peace in our hearts, assuring us that everything is going to be okay. God gives me the EXTRAORDINARY LOVE to do everything I never thought I could do for my husband. I now know somehow what my mom went through, taking care of my dad as he received chemotherapy in the hospital. I now somehow know what IN SICKNESS AND IN HEALTH truly means.

We don’t know yet exactly why God allowed this to happen, but we do know that in times like these, how we respond is always a choice. By God’s grace, we are able to CHOOSE TO BE GRATEFUL. 🙂

But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. 2 Cor 12:9

Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Phil 4:6-7

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