Greetings from Baybay City, Leyte.
I would like to share my personal experiences regarding Christ’s ever-presence with His children (Heb. 13:5) as demonstrated during the ruthless devastation of supertyphoon Yolanda.
On November 5-7, I attended a three-day Missions Conference held at Baptist Bible Church in Ormoc City. Through TV news broadcasts, I came to know of the incoming supertyphoon that would directly hit the provinces of Samar and Leyte. The host of the said conference, Rev. Edgar Dela Torre, made the announcement that we were going to be dismissed earlier—after lunch on November 7 because of the coming typhoon.
When I reached home, it was late afternoon of November 7. I noticed that my neighbors were already fixing their houses in preparation from the onslaught of the typhoon. Some neighbors had tied their roofs with bigger ropes to prevent from being blown, tall trees were being pruned of its branches, and some had their domesticated animals sheltered in a safe place. Since it was late already in the afternoon and night was coming, I no longer had a chance to fix our old house. I had noticed the abnormal condition of the weather—thick black clouds covering the entire province. Momentarily, a total blackout in the entire city set in. All we could do after we had taken our supper was to assemble together and petition God to spare the people, the places, and my family from impending destruction. We centered our devotional on Psalm 50:15: “and call upon me in the day of trouble; I will deliver thee, and thou shalt Glorify Me.” (KJV)
Early morning on Friday November 8, the rain started to pour heavily coupled with increasing mighty winds. I woke my family up and tried to look outside. I saw roofs banging and electric posts and trees swinging back and forth as they were smashed by the ferocious winds. By and by, the roofs of houses were flying over and electric posts and trees were toppled down. A big mango tree leaned on our house, threatening to crush it. Fear gripped my soul because I knew that our house was an old one. The wind was so intense, and even concrete houses and building were not spared. I yelled to my family to pray together and claim Psalm 50:15. Suddenly, the ferocious wind slowed momentarily, and then a mighty strong wind from the opposite direction rushed in, removing the mango tree that leaned the house toppling down to the side of our house! The house was spared from being destroyed completely.
In my firm opinion, I believed I saw God’s hand behind it. I praised God for his care and quick answer to our prayers. Although the roof of the house was blown away and everything inside the house, including us, were soaked in rainwater, God spared the house especially the occupants that centered on his love and affection.
The ordeal lasted almost 6 to 8 hours, which is not typical. In my entire life’s experience with typhoons, Yolanda is definitely a unique and different one. Storms mostly last 2 or 3 hours at most e hours.
After the storm subsided, we viewed the aftermath of Yolanda. We saw devastation everywhere—electric posts, trees, roofs, dead animals, and garbage were lying on the trees. The streets were not passable to any vehicle. People were roaming around seeking something they could salvage. Food was scarce; prices of basic commodities shot up. Rumors spread around that 10,000 or more died in Tacloban and more than 600 inmates broke out of jail and were roaming around destroying, raping, and killing people for food.
In spite of this situation, God continually preserved and protected us. We praise God for He gave us Christian friends and relatives who came to our aid to comfort and support us financially for our fast recovery. I would like to extend my deep gratitude and my heartful thanks! Thank you very much and God bless.