When typhoon Yolanda struck the Philippine province of Leyte in November 2013, John Louie Bautista, his wife Connie, and their two children were among thousands of families who lost virtually everything except their lives.
“Connie and I went to Tacloban in 2009 to help jumpstart the church plant there,” John Louie shares. The couple established a business in the Leyte capital, with their two children eventually born there.
When the deadly storm surge caused by Yolanda’s massive winds and rains submerged the Bautistas’ business and personal belongings, the family was taken completely by surprise. All that was left was an Every Nation building coin bank, which the couple acquired for their children.
“We got a building bank because we wanted to teach our children about generosity,” John Louie says. “I wanted to teach my children about giving generously—that what God entrusts to us is not just ours to keep, but ours to give away.”
The Bautistas built a habit of teaching their children to drop leftover coins from their father into the building bank. The test of faith came when the storm hit. “It was tempting to empty its contents and make use of the money we’d put inside it, but something was holding me back from actually doing so.” John Louie resolved in his heart that the money in that coin bank was not theirs to use to start over. Instead, they took a step of faith to help advance God’s kingdom.
What happened next was beyond what they imagined. “We weren’t expecting anything in return,” John Louie explains, “But my wife and I were given capital to start a new business. We’d also receive unexpected blessings here and there.” He expressed his desire to really give God the honor and glory through a life of generosity. “The starting point of giving is in your heart. I’ve learned, and am now teaching my children, that there is much joy in giving. Instead of seeking rewards from Him, I’ve made it a habit of seeking Him. God will reward us at His right time.”
Today, John Louie and his family are based in Malaybalay, Bukidnon. Aside from helping jumpstart the Victory church to be planted in the area, they have started a business and have plans to set up a music school in the city.