58 Days of Faith: Surviving COVID–19

58 Days of Faith: Surviving COVID–19

The pain of knowing that your entire family is COVID–19 positive is indescribable. But God’s goodness and faithfulness are also beyond what we can ever think or imagine. Here’s an inspiring story of a family that survived the virus.

 

Three members of our family serve on the front lines. My father is a police officer, while my younger sister and I are healthcare professionals.

When the coronavirus outbreak started, we knew that our family would be at risk, especially our parents. Aside from the fact that half of our family are exposed to the virus, most of us also have pre-existing medical conditions.

On April 2, right after my overnight duty at the hospital as a staff nurse, my mother called and informed me of my father’s high fever. He got a swab test that day and was advised to undergo home quarantine while waiting for the results. On April 9, a week later, his test results came out: he tested positive with COVID–19.

With only two hours of sleep, I went to different hospitals that day to help my father get the medical attention he needed. At that time, his symptoms were already severe; I knew I needed to do everything I could to help him survive. With God’s grace, on that same day, he was admitted to a hospital in Pasig City.

On April 14, just five days after we learned that my father had contracted the virus, another devastating news came our way. My mother started showing symptoms of pneumonia, and my younger sister also tested positive.

Because of what happened, we knew that the rest of us should be tested as well. Though I was previously tested when I accompanied my father to the hospital, I decided to join my 18-year-old brother and 10-year-old sister for another test.

On April 21, in the midst of everything that was happening to my father, mother, and younger sister—who were all in the hospital—we found out that even my two other siblings had the virus. It was heartbreaking.

At that time, I didn’t know what to feel or think. Seeing my whole family admitted to different hospitals alone and in pain crushed my heart. My father fell into severe depression, while my mother—who also turned out positive later on—struggled with all the painful medications. My younger sister who is an ER nurse tried her best to be strong and administered the medications to herself to protect her colleagues, but she later developed a Kawasaki-like disease; it caused her whole body to become inflamed. My two other siblings, on the other hand, were afraid and didn’t know what to do. It was so hard not to be there for them, especially for my little sister who had no idea what was going on; she is just 10 years old.

While on quarantine and waiting for my test results and family to come home, I would cry out to God and lift up my entire family to Him. I was also hopeful that I did not contract the virus. Like what my other sister always said, we couldn’t rely on anything or anyone but God. Only He could deliver our whole family from the disease. Every day, I would battle with negative thoughts and fill my mind with God’s word instead. I also kept reminding myself of His promise in Jeremiah 29:10,11 (NLT):

“. . . I will come and do for you all the good things I have promised, and I will bring you home again. For I know the plans I have for you,” says the Lord. “They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope.”

Though faced with the reality of being positive with the virus, too, and losing a member of our family at any minute, I trusted that God would carry us through and bring my parents and siblings back home alive. I am thankful that despite our situation, a lot of people believed with us and stood with us in prayer.

Every night, our friends and people from our church community would tirelessly encourage us and remind us of God’s goodness and faithfulness. Every little thing they did for us meant so much to me and my whole family. Though a lot of people became hostile to us out of fear for what happened, I am grateful that God surrounded us with people who chose to show us love and compassion in a difficult time.

For 58 days, we were filled with fear and anxiety, but our faith was also stretched and strengthened like never before. Faith kept us strong in times when we were hopeless and on the verge of giving in to pain. Though we were weak, God carried us and helped us endure. It’s indescribable how He delivered us and provided for us.

Last month, after weeks of waiting and praying, my test results finally came out negative. My father, mother, and 10-year-old sister also tested negative after several swab tests. They came home for the first time, and we celebrated Mother’s Day together. Several weeks later, my two other siblings were also sent home after having been cleared from the disease. It was such a sweet moment for us.

Even when everything was still unclear, I knew that God would come through for us. And there’s nothing more I want now but to tell others of how good and faithful He is. Seeing my family alive and complete is something I will always thank God for—and a testimony that I will keep telling people. Our second chance at life is a gift, and I, along with my whole family, will continue to use it to serve and honor Him.

Kristine is a staff nurse and part of a Victory group at Victory Fort. Her father is a policeman, while her younger sister is an ER nurse. She considers it a blessing that she did not contract the virus despite everything that her family went through. After being cleared from COVID-19, she and her family are now back on the front lines to serve with increased passion, dedication, and faith.

Our God Is Bigger: A Journey of Healing from COVID-19

Our God Is Bigger: A Journey of Healing from COVID-19

The coronavirus disease can assault the body extensively. It targets the lungs, but it can also damage the other organs of our body. It can take a grave toll on people affected by the virus. But no matter how harrowing its effects are, be it physically or mentally, there is Someone bigger than this disease.

Below is the inspiring testimony of a woman who was declared COVID-free after spending seven grueling weeks in the hospital to fight the dreaded virus.

RIGHT BEFORE IT HITS
I started to feel unwell on the morning of March 18. I had a high fever and headache. It felt like I was coming down with the flu. I thought I got infected with dengue after spending hours cleaning our home. But the following day, I started having bouts of diarrhea. We monitored my condition for a few days and hoped that my fever would go down, but it didn’t. Not long after, I had difficulty breathing. It became almost impossible for me to sleep while lying down. I felt so weak.

My husband and I went to a hospital in Pasig City on March 23. I was told that my lungs were clear and everything seemed okay based on the x-ray scan. I was instructed to go home and undergo self-quarantine for two weeks. But upon arriving home, my fever flared up.

We immediately called the COVID-19 hotline to seek help. I was told to go to one of the hospitals in Quezon City to have another x-ray scan. On the 25th, just two days after my last scan, I found out that I had pneumonia. I had to be admitted but there was no room available at that time. I stayed at the hospital’s parking lot from 6:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m. with an oxygen tank next to me—thinking every breath was my last.

THE LONG WAIT
While waiting at the parking lot, I was already bidding goodbye to my husband. I had worked as a nurse before, and I had a patient who died from pneumonia. I was almost sure that I’d have the same fate. I prayed and asked God to fill me with His peace.

While preparing myself for what would happen next, my best friend called and prayed for me. She encouraged me and reminded me to trust God. I was already struggling to breathe at that time, but I listened to every word she said. Knowing that someone was praying for me helped a lot.

Like my best friend, my husband also refused to give up. He contacted different people, including those from our Victory group. That same night, one of our leaders from Victory Katipunan, who happened to be a doctor, called us and helped me get checked and admitted to another hospital. I knew it was God making a way for me.

COUNTING THE DAYS
When I was admitted, the doctors had me tested for COVID-19 and checked my blood disorder, too. At that time, both of my lungs were already severely affected. I could feel that I was positive with the disease, but I tried to dispel that thought while waiting for the results. Seeing God make a way for me to be admitted kept my hopes up.

We were told that the results of my swab test would be released after three to four days. While waiting, I drew strength from God to keep fighting each day. Eight days had passed, and there were still no results; I was forced to go through another swab. At that time, I was slowly starting to feel better, but not knowing what was happening to me made me anxious. It felt like there was a big cloud hanging over me.

As I counted the days, I didn’t know that God was slowly preparing my heart. He knew that it was easy for me to worry and think of unpleasant things. And He didn’t want that. He used the delay to strengthen me and make me ready. After a few days, the results of my first swab test came back positive.

FIGHTING WITH FAITH
While I was in the hospital, God used different people to encourage me. My colleagues and Victory group always checked on me through video calls. My husband, who was tagged at that time as a person under monitoring (PUM), was not allowed to leave the hospital so he stayed with me. I am thankful to God that despite what happened, there were people who fought each day with me. I never felt alone.

There were times when I almost gave up because the medication was too painful—it felt as if it was melting my bones. But my husband never lost heart. He would always talk to me and help me see things differently. He helped build my faith.

Every day, God would show me His goodness through different people. He changed my perspective on many things and made me see what’s truly important. I realized how fleeting everything is and finally understood who He is in my life. With every pain, I saw how big He is. No matter what happens, I know that God is in control, and I can always put my faith and confidence in Him.

COMING OUT STRONG
While waiting for the results of my fourth swab test, I filled my heart with God’s word. Our online worship services and the morning worship and prayer on Victory’s Facebook page helped me a lot. Instead of focusing on my pain, I focused on God and started reaching out to our relatives and friends who were having a difficult time because of the crisis we’re facing. I encouraged them with God’s promises and helped them see the good in the bad.

My battle with coronavirus showed me that the challenges we face would help us come out strong like Job. Instead of questioning God, we need to look beyond our situation to understand His purpose. Our trials can be turned into testimonies that can bring honor and glory to God.

FROM PAIN TO PURPOSE
After seven grueling weeks of pain and uncertainty, I was finally declared COVID-free! My fourth swab test came out negative, and I was discharged in the afternoon of May 11, 2020.

Though I realize that sharing this story may cause me and my family to face the stigma and discrimination associated with the disease, I am sure that God will be with us no matter what. Letting everyone know that God is bigger than this pandemic is more important. The pain I felt has a greater purpose that will allow others to see His goodness.

 

No words can accurately describe the pain and agony that a person with COVID-19 feels. Though the uncertainty and fear are beyond difficult to bear, nothing is beyond God’s grace. May those who are going through this disease find comfort, strength, and hope in God—who is bigger than this pandemic. As a church community, let us open our hearts to those who are battling the disease, encourage them, and show them God’s love. By faith, there is healing, victory, and the promise of eternal life in Christ.

Vee is a Quality Assurance analyst and a volunteer in Victory Katipunan. She and her husband are part of a couples Victory group. They are currently being monitored and evaluated as part of the government’s health and safety protocols.

A Mother’s Strength

A Mother’s Strength

Mothers embody courage that can withstand life’s most difficult trials. They are clothed in beauty and strength that comes from God. Here is a story of a mother who remains steadfast in her faith in God amid her battle with cancer.

 

I was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2017. That same year, I went through a procedure to have the tumor removed. I thought I was on my way to getting well. But just a year later, my hopes were dashed by heartbreaking news from my doctors—they found that another tumor had surfaced.

Though still recovering from my previous operation, I decided to go through another surgery. It was way more aggressive than the first one. The doctors recommended a radical mastectomy, which entailed complete removal of breasts, underlying chest muscles, and lymph nodes.

The whole process was painful physically, emotionally, and mentally. I went through anxiety, depression, and self-pity. It took me a while to understand everything that was happening to me, but I never questioned God. I knew He had a purpose.

While undergoing chemotherapy, I would always pray to God and tell Him everything I was feeling. I would also post verses on my wall to remind me that He is in control. It was hard to deal with the fear and pain of living with cancer, especially when I think of my husband and children, but God’s promises strengthened me. Whenever I felt weak, instead of wallowing in self-pity, I would fill my heart with His word.

God also gave me an opportunity to strengthen my faith by allowing me to share His goodness with other cancer patients. Instead of dwelling on my pain, I learned to focus more on the good things that He is doing in my life. When fear would creep in, God would always lead me to someone in need of His word. I would always end up declaring the gospel instead of being depressed over my situation. It builds my faith to know that God is using me to bring hope to other patients in pain.

At home, though it’s hard to remain strong, seeing my children with so much faith in God helps me to continue my fight every day. My husband, who’s miles away from us, also never fails to comfort and encourage me. I will always be thankful to God for letting me experience His love through my family.

To those who are also battling any disease, I pray that they will always be reminded of how big God is. Though what we’re experiencing is beyond difficult, I believe that God can always turn things around and use our situation to be a blessing. I learned a lot in this battle, and I will always be thankful to God for allowing me to grow in faith. It may be a painful process, but I know that God will enable me to be victorious in the end. 

I can do all things through him who strengthens me. Philippians 4:13

Angelita Ratonel is a full-time housewife with three kids. She is currently leading a Victory group for senior citizens in Victory Bacoor. She is continuing her fight against cancer and is set to have her last chemotherapy session on May 13, 2020. 

Braving the Streets to Serve

Braving the Streets to Serve

While our current situation has brought fear to most of us, there are people who are courageously putting their own health on the line to keep the rest of us safe. Here is a story of a mother who braves each day with faith to be of service to others. 

 

Julie has been a food delivery partner for a ride-hailing company since 2017. Despite the risks it poses to her health, she continues to go out and work hard to support her family and her 10-year-old daughter. With her old motorcycle and delivery gear, she braves the streets in the middle of the pandemic to serve and be a blessing.

When the outbreak started and the enhanced community quarantine was imposed, Julie knew that it would be harder for people to get what they needed. So aside from serving booked deliveries, she also decided to voluntarily help her neighbors and friends in getting essential food items and medicines. She knew that her small help of buying groceries for them will go a long way in protecting them from the disease.

Every morning, she wakes up early to go to the market with her long grocery lists for the day. To protect her daughter and all the other people she meets and sees every day, she makes sure to follow all safety and sanitation measures implemented by the government. She does what she can to protect herself, but she also sees God’s hand at work in keeping her safe.

Julie is thankful that even though her motorcycle is old, God is using it so she can serve other people. She is grateful for each day that she manages to get home safe and be a blessing in her own little way. She knows that everything she is able to do comes from God and whatever she has, no matter how small, can be used by Him for a greater purpose.

 

Though times are different and a lot of things remain uncertain, may we continue to hold on to God and allow His peace to give us strength each day. No matter our situation, God can use people to come to our aid and be a blessing to us. And though it sometimes seems impossible, God can also use us to serve and be a blessing to others.

 

Julie Tuvera is one of our Victory group members in Victory Katipunan.

Serving Amid COVID-19: Stories from the Front Lines

Serving Amid COVID-19: Stories from the Front Lines

As we brave through this pandemic, there are many non-medical frontline workers who are battling with us—and serving no matter the cost. Despite the danger it poses to them and their families, they are resolute in fulfilling the purpose that God has placed in their lives. 

Here are stories from our Victory group leaders who also serve as frontline workers in the government sector.

 

ERIC ALLAS (Police Officer)

When the coronavirus outbreak started, I was tapped to be part of our unit’s Quick Response Team in Parañaque. I was assigned to man the checkpoints and monitor COVID-19 cases under the Suspect and Probable categories in the entire city.

The whole ordeal is exhausting physically, mentally, and emotionally. A lot of those who served with us contracted the disease and failed to survive. There’s so much fear behind the tough facade that we all maintain, but we have to brave that fear and be strong, especially for our families.

Because of the crisis, I experienced so many changes at work, but the biggest change could be felt in our very home—with my wife and two kids.

I was used to receiving warm hugs from my kids after work. It was something I looked forward to. But since I started manning the checkpoints and responding to calls about COVID-19 cases, I had to distance myself from my boys. I could no longer play and bond with them like I used to. It was something they didn’t understand at first, but my wife and I explained to them that I was only doing it to protect them.

Every night, we pray as a family to seek guidance and protection from God. Seeing my wife and kids having so much trust in the Lord inspires me every day and builds up my faith. God reminds me through them that I was given the privilege to serve in this capacity for a purpose.

When fear overwhelms me, I just go back to God and the purpose He placed in my life. Knowing that He is the source of everything—my job, my strength, my faith—reassures me that He is with me and I can depend on Him. He is our fortress in this battle.

 

DAISY TEE (Barangay Chairman)

Every day since the implementation of the enhanced community quarantine, my team and I have been going around our barangay in Sampaloc to distribute relief packs to 700 families. Because of the unexpected crisis, we realigned our budget for the year to meet the essential needs of those under our jurisdiction.

Dealing with a pandemic that has seemingly crippled everyone is challenging. We encounter a lot of problems every day. And while there is a need for us to be firm and tough in implementing rules and measures to avoid the spread of the virus, there is also a strong call for us to be compassionate and understanding. We need to exercise wisdom in everything.

Like everyone else who is praying not to contract the disease, I also have fears for my family. I always seek God for guidance and wisdom so I can protect not just the people in our barangay but even my own household. At home, I try my best not to have physical interaction with my children, and I even sleep on a different bed from my husband. I do what I can to keep them safe, but I know that ultimately, it is God who truly protects all of us.

Serving in this season is costly and demands a lot of sacrifices. But even though there are a lot of challenges, there are also a lot of rewards.

Seeing my team working in unity is always an inspiration and encouragement to me. It is a blessing to know that we are all fighting this crisis together. Aside from that, it is always humbling to see the faces of the people we serve light up with joy when we manage to help them in any way. That fills my heart and motivates me to continue serving with gratitude.

There will always be fears and worries, but I trust that the trials we go through now will only keep us strong and hopeful. Amid all that’s happening, we can find comfort and peace in God.


Let us not be swayed by everything that’s happening around us. God has a bigger purpose for all of us. Let us not allow our difficulties to cripple our hope and faith in God, because He remains faithful.


Eric and his wife, Lhyn, are leading a couples Victory group in Victory Alabang, while Daisy and her husband, Antonio, are leading a couples Victory group in Victory U-Belt.

Battling Fear with Faith: Stories from the Front Lines

Battling Fear with Faith: Stories from the Front Lines

Panic. Fear. Confusion. Our current situation has left most of us braving these emotions every day. But in the midst of everything that’s happening, we can respond in faith because Someone bigger than us is in control.

Here are some of our healthcare professionals who are battling this crisis with us and are selflessly putting their lives on the line as they serve and honor God through their profession.

 

FERNANDO ACANCE (Surgeon)
The COVID-19 situation has dramatically changed our everyday lives at the hospital. I work in private and public institutions, and every day since the outbreak, there has been a continuous influx of patients with mild to severe symptoms. Every day, our emergency room nurses, residents, fellows, and consultants get exposed and become depleted. It becomes an even bigger challenge to defeat the virus knowing that we are faced with the scarcity of our healthcare resources. It is disheartening.

Going home is like returning from a battlefield. There’s always an air of fear, but you still hope and believe for the best. It is hard to still go out there and gear up for the next battle knowing that some of your friends have died, but you want to continue the fight and be victorious in the end. That’s what it’s been like for the past months.

As a husband and a father, it is normal to worry not just for myself, but for my wife and my children. But when the fear becomes overwhelming, I just remind myself and my family to anchor our faith in God. We draw our strength from the fact that God is good and that He is always there for us; He will never leave us nor forsake us. That always helps us brave our fears.

Despite all that’s happening, I consider this season as a special time to know Jesus more. This crisis has made us realize our susceptibility to a disease that can claim thousands of lives, and it doesn’t matter if you’re a doctor or not. Everyone is at risk. It makes us realize that we really can’t depend on anything or anyone. No one is in control except God.

Hopefully, when all of this is over, we’ll come out changed—individually and as a nation. Now, we see people crying out to God and helping one another in love. I pray that we will continue doing that with or without a crisis and see God’s hand in everything.

 

SHEKYNA SANTOS (OIC/ER Staff Nurse)
Because of the outbreak, there’s been a big change in our procedures and processes. We had to make a lot of adjustments, especially in the emergency department. We have stringent health checks now to protect not just our patients but even our depleting medical staff. And though the surge of coronavirus cases has left most of us scared for our safety, we try our best to brave that fear and still go to work.

Each day is stressful and draining. But we always have to keep our focus and make sure that we’re wearing protective gear at all times. Right now, our facility has enough personal protective equipment, but if the number of cases will continue to go up, our supplies can become scarce. It’s important that we do our part in boosting our immune system as well. We have to be strong physically and spiritually.

When fear creeps up in me, I pray and remind myself that I am protected by God. I also think of my family, especially my parents, and the rest of the people who need help. Every day, God shows me the value of my profession. He makes me realize that it’s a privilege to serve in this capacity.

In the midst of what we’re facing, we can always look to God and ground our faith upon His Word. It’s not a time to point fingers or make judgments. Instead of spurring fear, we can build each other up and encourage one another. Though our situation is difficult, we can exalt God’s name and reflect His goodness.

Now, more than ever, we have to be strong and pray unceasingly. God is sovereign and His plan will always prevail. His grace is endless and sufficient.

 

It’s been a difficult time for most of us, especially these past weeks, but may the peace that comes from God replace our worries and fears. Let us brave each day with faith knowing that God is bigger and greater than any situation. Let us also pray for protection and provision for our front liners as they continue to faithfully serve and battle fear with faith. 

 

Dr. Acance and his wife, Camille, are leading a couples Victory group in Victory Katipunan, while Shekyna is one of our Victory group leaders in Victory Alabang.

In response to our current situation, we have been praying and ministering to our front liners and coordinating with local government units. Last week, we started to deliver food and protective gear to our healthcare workers as well. We are currently working with suppliers to provide more, and looking for other ways on how we can help our communities at this time. If you want to take part in our community relief efforts, you may ask your Victory location or the one nearest you for more information.

There’s Always Hope in God

There’s Always Hope in God

God can always turn a hopeless situation around. He can always bring hope in every circumstance.

Our family used to run a small contractor business. In 2014, we failed to get the payment for the projects we handled, so the business went bankrupt. It took a hard toll on us. We felt hopeless and at the end of our rope. We didn’t know what to do.

At that time, my husband wasn’t a Christian yet. But somehow, because of what happened, I got the chance to invite him to our worship services. I was pregnant then, so when it became hard for me to walk and leave the house, I didn’t expect him to continue attending without me. To my surprise, he continued to join every week. Little did I know that in the midst of what our family was going through, God’s Word was already working powerfully in his heart.

In one of the services, my husband received Jesus in his life and started joining a Victory group. It was amazing to see him experience God’s love like never before. Having a deeper knowledge of God increased his faith, and seeing his faith in God strengthened mine.

Later on, by God’s grace, my husband landed a job in an international construction company. It was an opportunity we never expected. Slowly, it helped us get back on our feet and pay our debts little by little. Though we are paying our debts until now, we are grateful for the grace of God that kept our marriage strong despite the trying situation we faced.

We are thankful to God for turning our situation around and more than grateful for the hope that my husband found in Christ. God’s love and grace displayed in our lives will always be more than enough.

“Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for he who promised is faithful.” (Hebrews 10:23)

There’s no situation beyond God’s grace. He can turn every hopeless situation into a powerful testimony; His Word will always minister to us and give us hope.

 

Rowena and her husband are part of our church, serve in Valenzuela, and lead a Victory group for couples.

If you have stories to share, please email them to stories@victory.org.ph or send them through the Victory app!

Found

Found

When faced with loss, we can get lost in our pain, too. But God’s grace is real. It can find us in the most difficult situation and bring us back to Him.

My first boyfriend passed away five years ago. He had been diagnosed with leukemia just a week before he died. We had been together for almost four years: we spent a lot of time together in college, experienced so many things, and built dreams together. His death didn’t make sense to me.

For years, I kept asking God why it happened. I grew up in a Christian family, but the pain of his death made my heart fragile and vulnerable to things that were not pleasing to God. I was easily swayed to do things that I thought would ease the pain. I put my pain above everything else.

I tried everything to forget that he was gone. I went clubbing and tried meeting different people just to fill the gap, but the void was too deep. No matter what I did, I couldn’t bury the memory of his death.

Until God’s grace came through.

After graduating from college, I was assigned to a job in Pangasinan. One of my workmates connected me to Victory Alaminos, where I met people from the singles ministry and became part of a Victory group. Slowly, I began to experience God’s grace and amazing love through the people I met in church. They helped me heal and realize how much I had been wasting my life.

As I continued to heal, not just emotionally but even spiritually, God brought me to a new place. I was assigned to a job in Cavite, where I immediately found a family in our church in General Mariano Alvarez. I became actively involved in the music ministry and grew further in my faith.

In January 2018, I participated in our annual prayer and fasting week for the first time. In one of the meetings, God placed a desire in my heart for a relationship that is centered on Him alone—not on the love that I am willing to give and expecting to receive. He made me realize that I could only be whole and complete in Him, so I prayed for a relationship that would honor Him and put His love above everything.

A few months later, one of my good friends, who is a kids church volunteer, expressed his desire to know me more. I learned later that he had been praying for me and intentionally building a relationship with me. It seemed that God had been preparing his heart all this time while also healing mine. It was such a sweet surprise from God.

After several months of praying and seeking God, he finally asked me, not just to be his girlfriend, but to be his wife, too! We are now engaged and preparing for our wedding this year.

It was amazing how love found me again, but it was nothing compared to how God’s love and grace rescued me at a time when I thought I was beyond help. Indeed, only His grace can heal the deepest wounds in our hearts and fill the broken cracks.

“Fear not, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by name, you are mine.” (Isaiah 43:1)

Hanna is part of Victory General Mariano Alvarez and serves in the music ministry. She is continually seeking God and growing in faith as she prepares for her next season.

If you have stories to share, please email them to stories@victory.org.ph or send them through the Victory app!

Answered Prayer

Answered Prayer

Sometimes, God answers our prayers in ways we don’t expect. His grace appears to us in the midst of grief, frustration, and disappointmentand always sees us through.

When my husband and I got married in April 2017, we prayed and believed God for a child. We have always wanted our firstborn to be a boy, so during our midyear prayer and fasting week in July 2017, we asked God for a son. The following month, we were beyond thrilled to find out I was already pregnant with Luke, our firstborn.

Luke was unexpectedly born at 23 weeks and one day. Because he was born prematurely, he had a very low chance of survival. Every day, the doctors would prepare us for the worst, but we refused to give up. The first few days were good—Luke was very active and we were hopeful—but on the sixth day, things took a turn for the worse; Luke developed intestinal problems and other complications.

After giving birth for the first time, it was hard to face the possibility of losing our child. While still in the hospital in January 2018, we attended prayer and fasting services via livestream and cried out to God in prayer every night. There was great emotional turmoil inside us, and it was crushing our spirits. But knowing that God was with us, we held on to Him and did everything we could—until the day we finally bid goodbye to our son. Luke passed away 20 days after he was born, leaving us with a glimpse of parenthood and a lot of questions, but a deeper relationship with God.

A few months later, in July 2018, we found ourselves in the midyear prayer and fasting service again. It was bittersweet to be standing there once more, believing God for another child, but we had faith that He would answer our prayer in His perfect time. In September of the same year, I learned that I was pregnant for the second time. I was filled with so much joy, but a big part of me was afraid. Old fears started to resurface—and later became real.

On the 24th week of my pregnancy, I was rushed to the hospital because of bleeding despite all the precautionary measures that we took to prevent preterm labor or miscarriage. I was placed on complete bed rest in the hospital and spent Christmas there with my husband. We did everything we could so our baby could stay in my womb for a few more weeks and develop further. Every day was a battle between succumbing to our fears and fighting one more day.

After months of fighting in faith, waiting, and praying, Jenna Everly, our second child, was born at 27 weeks and 3 days.

Though seeing our daughter filled with tubes, poked with needles, and hooked up to machines inside the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) broke my heart in different ways, I knew that each day we were there was a blessing. Yes, I was scared of losing another child, but in the midst of all the questions and fears, God revealed to me that this life is not about me or us. It’s all about Him, His purpose, and His grace.

Every day for almost three months, I would visit Everly in the NICU to provide milk for her, carry her, play worship songs, and pray for every inch of her little body. My husband and I could not have endured those months without God. It was His grace that carried us through.

Finally, on May 12, 2019 (Mother’s Day), Everly was discharged from the hospital. She’s now healthy, happy, thriving, and with no impairments! Celebrating her first Christmas with the whole family was so memorable and meaningful. Her first name Jenna means God’s grace, while her second name Everly means brave. We chose those names because we believe that we can be brave in the midst of trials through God’s grace.

Every time I look back on what we’ve been through for the past two years, I am reminded of God’s faithfulness and love. I know He has beautiful plans for Everly and my family, and His unfailing grace will always see us through.

“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” (Jeremiah 29:11, NIV)

Jem is one of our Victory group leaders at Victory Fort. She and her husband, Edd, are blessed to share God’s amazing story of grace in their family.

If you have stories to share, please email them to stories@victory.org.ph or send them through the Victory app!