The series of storms that hit Luzon has left the whole island under a state of calamity. Floodwater rose in different regions, completely submerging houses and causing damages worth billions. But as people faced the devastation, an overflow of help and support came from volunteers and organizations, causing hope to triumph above all.
Carmela is a third-year college student studying Public Health in Tuguegarao. The night Typhoon Ulysses battered the island with its strong winds, she and her family did not sleep. They spent hours packing important belongings and keeping a watchful eye on the rising water from the river. Some time during the night, she urged her parents to ask their neighbor if they could transfer some of their belongings to the second floor of their neighbor’s house. Before the typhoon had passed completely, waist-deep flood water had entered their compound. Carmela spent hours on their neighbor’s roof looking for cell signal to join the call for help to save Cagayan and give prepaid load credits to other students who needed to be rescued.
“Nakakadurog ng puso talaga. Kaya kahit pa-low batt na ‘yung phone ko at walang kuryente, nag-repost ako to call for help. Nagpapasalamat ako sa Diyos na may kapitbahay kaming may second floor. Marami ‘yung lumubog talaga ‘yung buong bahay nila at kailangang ma-rescue.”
The very next day, Victory Tuguegarao, the church she is part of, called for volunteers to help distribute hot meals to people affected by the flood. In spite of her own ordeal, Carmela joined and served. She had to walk on rooftops to get to the venue. She knew that God was calling her to serve His people. It was God’s compassion that gave her the strength and enabled her to rise above her own needs to minister to others. “Ako rin naman po, hindi ako pinabayaan ng Diyos. This is my way to share God’s love,” she said.
Carmela is actively volunteering not just in the relief operations organized by her church but also those organized by a youth group in her town. Because her father’s crops were completely destroyed during the typhoon, the future of her family looks bleak. But Carmela knows that God is trustworthy and He is always in control. “Itong buong taon, kahit na may pandemic, makikita natin na kasama natin ang Diyos. Hindi naman po tayo iiwan ng Diyos nang ganito lang. Hindi naman po sa pandemic o sa baha matatapos ang lahat. God is strengthening our faith in Him.”
In the midst of the calamity, God’s goodness and love are becoming more evident as His people rise up to serve as beacons of hope.
“. . . let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works
and give glory to your Father who is in heaven.”
Carmela is an active member and volunteer in Victory Tuguegarao and a Real LIFE scholar. She became part of our Kids church at 5 years old.
God can use all of us to help our fellowmen. No matter how small, our help is significant. Let’s all pray together to stand with our fellow Filipinos who are currently facing the flooding and destruction brought about by the recent typhoons. If you want to help, you may visit victory.org.ph/TyphoonPHRelief for more information.