Tag Archives: Ondoy


Allow me to use a common introduction to horror stories to start this post: This time last year, it was a dark and stormy night.

This time last year, my parents, my best friend and I were carrying our important belongings through chest deep flood water across the street to our neighbor’s house, where they have been waiting for us to evacuate for a while now. The rain won’t stop, and we carried all the important things that we can to their house, where they welcomed us in one room. We cleaned up, changed and prayed and listened to the rain pour down. My parents fell asleep, but my best friend and I were too antsy to do so. We talked in hopes of calming our own fears and listened and prayed for the rain to stop so the water will not go up anymore.

I was expecting the worst the next day. We woke up to this, our house submerged, on our street that has never flooded for the 20 years we’ve lived there:

One year ago.

I’ve been afraid of typhoon season starting ever since that day. Hard rains freak me out, and I find myself always, always praying for sun, and stopping myself from complaining about the heat. Better heat than flood, right?

I always said that I just need to get through this one year anniversary without any major calamity and I will be okay. Just that, and I think I can really, and fully move on. I don’t know how I could say that, but I’m big on dates and anniversaries and all that. I’m not a human calendar for nothing, you know.

But you know what? I will never really know if there will be another Ondoy. It doesn’t matter how much weather watching I do — if there’s another one, it will come and I am only human. I can’t stop it from happening. I can only do so much, I can only prepare myself so much and read about all the life insurance premiums and acts of God on insurances I can read about, but in the end, it’s all…well, God’s. He commands the weather, and everything else in this world, after all.

Ondoy really changed my life last year, and even if I know I’d rather not experienced it, I am still thankful that it happened. I don’t think I would be the person I am right now if I didn’t. I still don’t understand why it happened to us, to me. I don’t know if I will ever understand it, at least in this lifetime. But it doesn’t really matter if I understand it, or know why it happened. It’s kind of hard to explain, but trying to figure it out will just stress me out, when I can just rest in the fact that God knows and God understands and He will never ever give me anything that I can’t handle (1 Corinthians 10:13). So…why worry, right?

I will never forget what happened on September 26, 2009. I refuse to forget because I don’t want to forget how it changed me and the lessons I have learned. It will always be a part of me. But I will also refuse to worry about it happening again. My God is bigger than any other typhoon or calamity, and I rest in the fact that He is always in control, and He understands even if I do not.

I don’t know if I have thanked everyone who helped, prayed and listened to me and my family during the entire ordeal and after — if I haven’t, well, THANK YOU. You were all God’s blessings to us. Thank you, thank you.

It’s been a year, and I am never more happy when I woke up and saw sunlight shining through my window. :)

And for the record, I want to say that despite all that happened last year, I’m not an Ondoy victim. I’m a survivor. :)

Blessed be His name.

Read other Ondoy related entries in Refine Me:

Related posts and such in the world wide web:

Scared Senseless

Hello typhoon season.

I just have to let this out: I. Am. Scared.

Oh dear Lord, I never thought I’d be this afraid of this. I mean, I was okay by the end of the year, and I had a long time of peace without storms and lots of sun and all that, and I thought I’d be ready for the typhoon season. But now that Basyang is here and the wind is howling and there’s rain, and there’s power outages and all that…I’m just scared. Aren’t there some kind of vitamins that I can take to take the fright off?

Oh dear Lord. Still my heart. I claim that there will be no more floods, and we will be safe, but I can’t help but keep on checking the weather, I can’t help but keep on tracking the storm, I can’t help but be scared and remember what happened in September last year. I prayed, and I claimed that it wouldn’t happen again, and I know God is protecting us, but I can’t help but feel scared.

Go away, fear. I don’t need you.

And just my luck, all the songs I used to listen to are not in my iPod, and I can’t seem find calm and be still. I’m seriously freaking out. And this is just one typhoon — I know there is more coming this year! I should be used to it, I should be okay with it, but I feel like breaking down and crying right now. I just want it to stop. I don’t know if I can take it for every single typhoon that comes here, one or two or three could hit Metro Manila and could pour rains all over, and…I can’t keep freaking out for each one. Where is that calm that I used to have?

I don’t know, maybe the flood carried it away?

Oh dear God, I’m really scared. :(

Oh dear God, please help me be still and believe in Your protection.

I remember this one reflection I wrote in Didache that got lots of replies, one that I entitled Scared Senseless. I’m reading it right now and I think I’m too frazzled to really read through it, but I hope I take those words I wrote in my heart and believe that God is taking care of me even now that I’m so scared that I don’t know what to think.

*breathes* Relax. Relax.

I will be okay. I think I just have to survive this typhoon season and I’ll be okay again. Survive the typhoon season without any disaster,I mean. and I claim there won’t be any, because God is our protector, and my brother is getting married this year. Please spare us, Lord. Please Lord. By God’s grace, I will be okay.


Father, please help me see You in this storms and the storms that will be coming.

But he said to them, “It is I. Do not be afraid.” (John 16:20)


day twenty-four.

Today was sort of kind of freaky in different levels, almost like 2012 movie like freaky. That, and bad memories of the flood — yeah, I’m pretty shaken right now.

I got to work this afternoon a bit earlier than the usual, because of the scheduled fire drill for today. I was glad to have arrived before the said time of the fire drill, and I was planning to buy food as soon as we go down for the drill, just so I won’t run into any hassles. Then, my teammate asks, “Nararamdaman niyo yun?” (Can you feel it?)

Apparently, there was an earthquake.

And the building was swaying. For a long time.

With all the earthquakes that happened in the past months (Haiti, Chile), it’s very scary to be suddenly feeling an actual earthquake. Honestly, it doesn’t faze me as much, even before, because I know that the buildings here are kind of safe. But that earthquake was long…and well, just plain scary.

A few hours later, I had to attend a meeting for my boss, and it was about our account’s business continuity planning. The fancy term just means the plan in case something big – ex. a calamity – happens that prevents us from going to work, or doing work. Anyway, there was a simulation in the meeting where we simulate an event where the plan was activated…and guess what the situation was? A typhoon, with a flood.

Hello, hurricane.

Needless to say, I was creeped out. Sometimes I think I’m already over the entire flooding event, but whenever I’m reminded that there is a big possibility that it could happen again…it just scares me. I know it’s selfish of me to not wish for rain…but I can’t help it. I’m scared of it, at least, any type of typhoon, now. I’m terrified of the thought that it may happen again, that we might see our house submerged in flood all over again. They say it’s a hundred-year flood, meaning it won’t happen in another hundred years…but how sure are they about that? What if another typhoon comes and drops huge amounts of rain on us…what if?

I don’t think I blogged about it, but a couple of weeks ago, we had a fire scare at home, so we had to turn off the electricity at home to have it checked. As I was going around the house in darkness with my iPod flashlight, packing my stuff, I was reminded of that day a few months ago, when I went around the house in darkness with my iPod flashlight, and rain was pouring outside, and my feet were underwater. It was scary.

I have to trust God that He would protect us again…but in a way, I can’t help but wish for something concrete, something that I can actually hold on to that would tell me that we wouldn’t have to go through what happened that September day.

I’m still shaken at the thought of experiencing the flood again and yes, even the earthquake…but worrying about things like this is a waste of time. I need to stop doing that, and I need to turn my eyes to the One who holds today and tomorrow and eternity. I need to turn my eyes to Him and give all my fears to Him and trust that He will take care of us. He will protect us. Trust and believe that He is bigger than anything in this world.

I guess that’s faith, you know. That’s what it is about having faith and trusting God and all that — trusting that He will protect you even in the midst of all uncertainties. In calamities like these, I can only do so much, and in the end God still has the final say (Come to think of it, He always has the final say). Having faith means believing that He will carry you through even if you don’t know what will happen. It means trusting Him in the darkness — figuratively and literally. It means believing that God will be enough, and He will enable me to make it through.

*breathes deeply*

It’s been a while since I last posted this on a blog entry, but if you can spare a prayer for me, please do. Help me pray for peace, because I think that’s one thing I really, really need right now.

Hello, Hurricane

Hello, world!

I meant to post soon again after my last post, but work and my new shift got in the way. When the weather is like this, I like being on day shift, but my body clock is making it hard for me to adjust. I realized when I was looking in the mirror after my work out earlier that the dark circles under eye are back. Hello, eyebags.

On another note, Switchfoot released their latest studio album last week, entitled Hello Hurricane. Remember those Mess of Me CDs that I hid a couple of months ago (where did those go, anyway?) ? This is where this song is included.

Hello Hurricane
I bought the deluxe version of the album through iTunes (of course, get the real thing!) when it was released and listened to them in passing. Then I was distracted by Mae, so it took only today to really listen to this new album.

Then I read the story about what the title track was about from Jon Foreman himself…and guess who almost started crying? (Emphasis mine, btw)

This is a subject matter that I speak of with holy reverence. Having grown up on the East Coast I know firsthand of the houses lost, of the dreams turned into nightmares. I take my shoes off and recognize that this is a matter that is dear to our nation, especially of late- with every passing hurricane season. Last year, with Habitat for Humanity we helped to build a house for a woman who lost everything in Hurricane Katrina. The hurricane had taken her city, her house, and her leg. As she relocated to Baton Rouge and learned how to walk as an amputee, her mantra was this: “I walked out of my house and my life in New Orleans on my own legs, I’m going to walk into this one the same way.” This is the spirit that I wanted to capture with this song, and moreover with this record. The storms of life might take my house, my loved ones, or even my life- but they cannot silence my love.

Yes, the reactionary impulses of hate, fear, and despair really are defenseless against the storms of this life. And yet, this selfless love really might be stronger than death. Perhaps, the kingdom of the heavens really is at hand, ready to give, ready to love. And with this love as my song I will overcome. In surrender to divine love I will find my strength. “Let no debt remain outstanding, except the continuing debt to love another.”

After everything that has happened, this song is just so fitting. Hello hurricane, you’re not enough, you can’t silence my love.

If you haven’t gotten the album yet…well get it! :-) Seriously. I hope the CDs get here to the Philippines, everyone could use the hope that Switchfoot sings about in this album.

Hello Hurricane
Switchfoot, Hello Hurricane

I’ve been watching the skies
they’ve been turning blood red
not a doubt in my mind anymore
there’s a storm up ahead
hello hurricane
you’re not enough
hello hurricane
you can’t silence my love
I’ve got doors and windows
boarded up
all your dead end fury is
not enough
you can’t silence my love
every thing I have I count as loss
everything I have is stripped away
before I started building
I counted up these costs
there’s nothing left for you to take away
hello hurricane
you can’t silence my love
I’m a fighter fighting for control
I’m a fighter fighting for my soul
everything inside of me surrenders
you can’t silence my love
hello hurricane
you can’t silence my love

Lessons from the Flood # 2: God's Plans

A couple of months ago, a few days before Father’s Day, we heard news from my dad that his house got robbed in Saipan. When he got home from mass, he found that his window was broken, and a lot of things were taken inside, including his passport because the case looked like a wallet.

It was scary to learn that even in other countries these things are also possible, especially in a small island of Saipan. I’ve been there a couple of years ago and it’s pretty peaceful, so hearing about the robbery is kind of shaking, especially to my Mom.

For the next weeks/month, my mom questioned why it happened. We prayed for the robber and prayed most especially for the passport to be returned. It wasn’t returned, so my dad had to get a new passport and then schedule a flight back here to fix his US Visa. Since doesn’t have a US Visa, he can’t get his normal flight back home so he had to choose another airline which has lesser frequent flights coming from where he was, and he found a specific schedule so he could be home to fix his Visa  – September 20 to October 4.

On the morning before the flood, I woke up early, with all intentions of going to the gym to attend Body Combat class. I slept really late the night before, so I was very lethargic in the morning. My brother had a baptism to go to, and I was planning to ride with him out to the gym, but decided in the last minute not to go because I was too sleepy. We noticed the rains when my brother left, so he told me he’ll text me in case it’s already flooded at our village’s entrance. Minutes later, I got a message that it was indeed flooding already, so I stayed home. I cancelled all my plans for the morning and the rest of the day, and instead planned to go with my family to reserve a venue for my brother’s wedding.

I was all happy in the morning, too, because my friends and I were booking our flights to Palawan on December. However, when I got out after booking my flight, I noticed something weird in the street. Then my dad said, “Look, water’s rising in the gutter.”

That just about stopped me from celebrating.

And then we know what happened after.

The morning after the flood, my parents told me to stay at our neighbor’s while they started cleaning up. Everytime I went out and I saw the flood waters and the state of our house, I felt like crying. And I cried. Because how could it have happened to me? To us? Why now? Why us?

I prayed that afternoon, and as I did, I began to see some puzzle pieces falling into place:

  • If my dad didn’t get robbed, he wouldn’t have flown home to fix his Visa and he wouldn’t have been here to help us and be calm during the flood. If it were only me and my mom home? I don’t know what we would’ve done.
  • If I didn’t feel lethargic in the morning, I would have gone to the gym and would have been stranded with the rest of the people in the mall because of the flood that submerged the basement of Robinson’s Metro East.
  • If my brother had stayed home and not gone to the baptism (that didn’t push through, by the way), our car would have been at home and it would’ve been submerged in the flood, too.

I know there are more things, but these three items were enough to tell me that all the things that happened — they’re connected. And all these things fit into God’s plan, a plan bigger than I could ever understand.

Sometimes I still find myself questioning why all these happened to us…but then I hold on to the hope that this event is also connected with another event that only God knows. But that’s where I just have to trust. I mean, regardless of what happened, we’re still pretty blessed — all our losses are just material things, and we actually managed to save a lot (things that definitely has more value than cheap health insurance). I still have a home, we’re all safe and the things we lost…are just things. And those chain of events just mean that He’s watching and taking care of us all the time.

I may not understand why everything happened, but I think it’s enough that God knows and understands. I don’t have to understand everything anyway, I just have to trust Him — trust that He has plans for me, for us, and it’s for our good.

Blessed be His Name. :)

Lessons from the Flood # 1: I care.

So, after Ondoy and everything else that happened, I realized one thing (out of the many things).

I care.

I talked about my being apathetic a couple of months ago, when things are still…well, normal. This is sort of the post that is a follow up on that, and I honestly still don’t know how to write it down correctly…but let me try.

Ever since Former President Cory Aquino passed away, I’ve felt a bit disturbed. Not disturbed because of her death, but disturbed at how I’ve been acting for the past 23 years of my life. Like I said, I’m never the one to make a stand or care about what happens around me, unless it affected me directly. I rarely care about politics, or elections and all those stuff. I used to say it’s because I don’t believe in anything anymore and it’s my right not to care, but now as I look back, I realized that it’s just plain laziness to care about these things.

So when Cory passed away, I felt that I owed her something. Here’s a woman who did everything in her power so I will be born in a freer country. Here’s someone who held onto her ideals and cared about the country and her fellowmen, even if it feels like its hopeless. I never knew her personally, but I felt like I have to respond to that, to rise up to some kind of challenge and somehow say that what she did way back and up to her death wasn’t wasted.

So by August, I finally shook a bit of my apathetic self — the one who said she’d never vote — and went to our municipal hall to register.

Now, registering is another story in itself, so let’s skip that. When I first got that piece of paper that signifies I am now a registered voter, it didn’t feel like it was a big deal first. Until a couple of days later, I realized how much power that little piece of paper has. It meant I had a voice. I had a say in what happens in the country. It gave me a reason to care, because I realized how important my vote would be in 2010. It may be just one vote, but sometimes it takes only one vote to make a whole lot of difference.

I was determined to make sure that my vote would count and I’d vote for someone who would have the country’s best interests at heart. I thought that that determination was enough…but God had to bring another circumstance in my life to make me think more.

I guess we can say God literally used waters to wake me up even more. It’s one thing to be a volunteer to help the victims of a calamity. Being a victim changes everything. As a volunteer you want to try to help relieve other people even if it’s only temporary. As a victim, your main concern becomes finding a permanent solution to prevent what has happened. A lot of the permanent solution may lie with the victim/survivor itself — like move out from an area that always gets flooded and into someplace safer, like Tucson apartments — but there’s a lot more that the government can do given their resources.

And I want someone who can help give a permanent solution. Not just a band-aid, but an actual fix.

It’s highly idealistic, I know, but that’s really not my point. The point is, because of the flood, I’ve learned to care even more. I am determined to make my vote count, and to make sure I use my power to do my best to help put the right person in the positions in 2010.

Not only that, but I’ll be doing what I can do help to make things better. I will start taking a stand, even if it means I’ll be shot down at some point. It’s because I care. And if every single one of us would care about something, well, I’m pretty sure a lot of amazing things will happen. We just have to choose to care.

I remember one line that I got from a YFC conference years ago that struck me: If you don’t stand for anything, you will fall for everything.

I don’t want to fall for everything anymore.

Because of the flood, I will start caring.

Checking In

Hi friends. I’m still alive. *waves*

Exactly three weeks ago, my life changed.

I never thought I’d say that line above in all seriousness. I mean, I’ve had life-changing experiences but it was never of this gravity. Sometimes I still feel like it’s so surreal,  but little reminders get to me every now and then. Every time I go home, I see how everything was turned upside down to clean the house. Every time I go “home” to the condo, I remember the reason why I’m there. Whenever I see tweets, read messages or hear news about how relief operations are going, or God forbid, another storm is coming, I remember what happened that Saturday, when the flood came.

It sounds so dramatic and all, but I believe everyone’s lives were changed by the flood. Even if they didn’t experience it firsthand, it’s really something that took us all by surprise and threw everything out of whack. Every time I try to remember something before three weeks ago, I feel like it’s such a faraway memory, that I’m not even sure of the exact details anymore.

Yes, my life changed that night. And I’m thankful.

I wanted to make a long post about the things I learned from this entire thing, but I’ve got some stuff to do for now. The past weeks have been terribly busy with work, NaNoWriMo preparations, cleaning up and moving from one place to another, that sometimes I forget to breathe and I feel like I’m all rushed. But that’s life, gotta deal with it. I promise to post about all this, though, once I can breathe easily, and maybe, maybe at that time, I can finally look back at the entire experience without any bitter or sad or scared feeling.

I’ll be okay. We’ll all be okay. God will definitely lead us through this, and I believe in it with my whole heart.

So just checking in. :)

And on a final note…RAMIL, GOD IS STILL BIGGER THAN YOU. :)

Stay safe, everyone.

Oratio Imperata for Deliverance from Calamities

Almighty Father, we raise our hearts to You in gratitude for the wonders of creation of which we are part, for Your providence in sustaining us in our needs, and for Your wisdom that guides the course of the universe.

We acknowledge our sins against You and the rest of creation.

We have not been good stewards of Nature.

We have confused Your command to subdue the earth.

The environment is made to suffer our wrongdoing, and now we reap the harvest of our abuse and indifference.

Global warming is upon us. Typhoons, floods, volcanic eruption, and other natural calamities occur in increasing number and intensity.

We turn to You, our loving Father, and beg forgiveness for our sins.

We ask that we, our loved ones and our hard earned possessions be spared from the threat of calamities, natural and man-made.

We beseech You to inspire us all to grow into responsible stewards of Your creation, and generous neighbors to those in need.


Source: inquirer.net

More Ondoy Aftermath

It’s been five days since that day that I saw our house submerged in the flood, and sometimes I still wonder if everything that happened was just a dream.

I never thought I'd see our house like this.
I never thought I'd see our house like this.

But every time I go back home and see the mess that we have to clean up, the furniture that we have to bring out of the house, the mattresses that needed to be washed out and dried…and the fact that my dad is leaving so soon, I am brought back to reality and I can feel despair creeping into my heart again.

Yesterday I said that I will stop being a victim and start being a survivor. However, the moment I got home and learned that there was no water that we could use to clean up, I started feeling down again. When my brother dropped me off at the condo, I took some time at Galleria to get some wifi and look around (yes, I tried looking for the bag. Failed). As I checked Twitter and Facebook, I read a lot of updates about Pepeng and I felt full-fledged fear. The kind of fear that I only used to feel when I was thinking about my thesis back in college, and yet not quite because this time it’s not just the grades I am worrying about but our own lives.

It was enough to make me teary-eyed…but I didn’t cry just yet. It wasn’t until I got to the condo, with my first nutritious dinner in four days that I found myself bawling after almost slipping on the growing pool of water under the refrigerator that was there because my dad defrosted the freezer.

I know it’s something no one should ever cry about, but I was tired. I felt beaten. I was despairing, I was afraid. All I could think of was, “Lord, please stop hitting me while I’m still down. Please, please, let me recover first before bringing me anything else.”

It was the first time I’ve cried like that for the longest time. It was the type of crying that had actual sobs, not the kind of crying I usually do with laughter in between. I almost just wanted to sit there and just cry because I felt like my heart couldn’t take it anymore. Lord, I’m not strong enough. Lord, I can’t do this anymore, I can’t deal with it. Lord, I’m sorry I can’t be stronger.

I thought I was okay…but I wasn’t. I don’t think I’ll be really, really okay yet. Yesterday while I was cleaning up, I started wondering what I would have been doing at that moment if the flood didn’t happen. I probably would’ve been at work. My brother would be somewhere, working on a project, probably. My parents would be buying stuff for my dad’s return to Saipan. I would’ve gone to Body Jam earlier today before heading to work. I would’ve been making plans for NaNoWriMo 2009. I would’ve been buried in CSS codes at work. I would’ve been planning something to do for the weekend…I would have. I would have. But I’m not.

I miss a lot of things back before the flood. Work. My normal everyday routine. I know things will go back to normal eventually, but I know the flood has changed me. There will always be the “before the flood” and “after the flood”. I will always remember September 26 as the day that the seemingly impossible happened to us, and changed all our lives.

* * *

There’s Pepeng news all around, and right now I just don’t want to listen to it. I’m scared, because we haven’t fully recovered yet and here comes another possible big blow. And it’s not over yet because I hear there’s another one coming soon. But there’s nothing else I can do (other than get ready) but pray. And believe that God is faithful. Because He is. And when my strength is not enough, I’m sure His is.


No test or temptation that comes your way is beyond the course of what others have had to face. All you need to remember is that God will never let you down; he’ll never let you be pushed past your limit; he’ll always be there to help you come through it. (1 Corinthians 10:13 – The Message)

I feel like I'm Job

For those who are curious: I live in Cainta.

Obviously I’m blogging so you know I’m okay. Normally rains don’t bother me except the fact that it’s so hard to commute, because our village entrance usually gets flooded and I get stranded inside the village. Plus rains mean brownout and no internet, so you know.

Saturday gave me a whole new reason to be scared of rains. I woke up with a plan to do the following: go to the gym, go to NaNoWriMo volunteers’ meeting, then buy the bag I want and go home. However, I woke up late so I didn’t get to ride with my brother so I told myself I’d just commute. He then warned me to not go out anymore, so I just went online to book flights for our Palawan trip this December. I knew there was a typhoon but I didn’t think much of it, since it’s just rains and like I said, it doesn’t flood in our street. I cancelled the meetings and was fully prepared to be inside the house the entire day and enjoy the bed weather with my new books…but then a few hours later, I went out and my dad said, “Look, water’s rising up to the gutter.”

Again, let me reiterate: we never get flooded in our street.

By lunchtime, water was beyond our gutter, and by three in the afternoon, water was in our garage. Four, water was inside our house. By eight, we crossed waist-deep flood to get to our neighbor’s second floor with our valuables and prayed for the rain to stop.

Waking up the next morning was surreal. Our house…is…I can’t describe it. The things we put up so they won’t get wet tumbled down into the water anyway. My brother’s camera got wet because we didn’t see it. Our clothes are safe, thank goodness, but most of our furniture are wrecked. We’ve cleaned up stuff yesterday and today, but we’ve got a long way to go. Some of my books got wet, I lost a lot of files, my brother’s clothes all got soaked. It’s surreal.

I’ve helped out flood victims, but I never thought I would be a flood victim myself. I try to laugh it out and say it’s time to clean up anyway, but tell me: how does one go back to normal after something like this?

I know I’m luckier than the other ones because most of my belongings are saved and we have good neighbors and our house is still intact and everyone I know is safe (well, still waiting for the other people to text). But my heart is unsettled, and I want to be brave but I feel like I can’t. Sometimes I wish I had the power to magically make everything okay, but I can’t. How can I ever go back to functioning normally again after this?

I’m not mad at God, nor I am questioning His purpose. I’m trying very hard to trust Him right now, to trust that this is a part of His plan. I’m trying very hard not to be afraid, but I feel like I will always be afraid whenever there is rain. I don’t think I’ll ever be able to sleep soundly with the sound of rain. I don’t know if I’ll ever be able to work and hear the rain without worrying about my mom at home. I don’t know if we’ll even be able to restore our home.

It’s just so, so, surreal.

And then I remember Job.

My situation isn’t anything like Job’s of course. He got it so much worse. But there was this verse that I remember from his book that I am trying to hold onto:

I was born with nothing, I will die with nothing. The Lord gave and now He has taken away. May His name be praised! (Job 1:21)

What strength and faith he has to be able to utter that. Imagine me, losing so little and saving so much and I find difficulty to praise and thank God for it. All I could think about is “What next?”

I want to find the strength to be optimistic, to be brave and to start again. I want to be brave for my family and my friends. I don’t know how, but I know I’m out. And I know He’s got more. And He’s bigger than all of this. And He’s the only one I can hold onto in this time.

Interestingly, when we got back after the flood has gone down, we found that the altar in our house wasn’t moved at all. Everything else tumbled down/was wet, but the water didn’t even touch the Bible enthroned on our altar. If that isn’t a sign of God’s strength, I don’t know what is.

I don’t know what will happen next, and I have a feeling I’ll swing from happy to sad and back and I don’t know when we’ll be able to recover from this…but I’m going to try to hold on. I’m going to try to praise God regardless of what happened…because He is God. And I am not. And He knows and understands more than what I can understand now.

It’s going to be a long week. Maybe even months for others. Thanks to everyone who texted and sent a message through all kinds of social networking stuff. :P Thanks to our neighbors who we stayed in for two nights and to everyone in the street who helped out. It’s far from over, so please keep on praying. Not only for us but for the other people who got devastated by Ondoy.

I will do my best to echo Job in this situation. God, please give us the strength to hold on. Please don’t let us go.

Every blessing You pour out
I’ll turn back to praise
When the darkness closes in, Lord
Still I will say

Blessed be the name of the Lord
Blessed be Your name
Blessed be the name of the Lord
Blessed be Your glorious name

You give and take away
You give and take away
My heart will choose to say
Lord, blessed be Your name

(Blessed be Your Name, Matt Redman)

We’re okay. We’ll be okay. Other people need more help than we do, so please send donations their way. You can visit Philippineaid.com to see how you can help.