We, in North America, call typhoons by another name: hurricanes. Most of us have never lived through one, but we probably know someone who has.
This is the story of a new friend of mine in the Philippines: Al Sabado. Here’s how her story starts:
On September 26, 2009, around 8:28 a.m., I was writing a prayer to the Lord Jesus, telling Him about the rains that many people hoped to be less frequent, now that Christmas season is fast approaching. The conversation was interrupted when my eyes caught a glimpse of what appeared to be damage: our neighbor’s roofing badly needed repair. I hoped not to meddle in other people’s business, but I requested the LORD to grant our neighbor the budget for both the repair and renovation of their home. I was clueless that later on, I would be praying for the same thing not only for our family but also for our neighbors, our city, our country, and other neighboring countries that similarly experienced disasters in overwhelming magnitude.
September 26, Ondoy (also called Ketsana) slammed into the Philippines:
- It dumped the highest rainfall amounts in Manila’s history and caused widespread flooding with raging currents that closed major roads.
- Devastating mudslides caused loss of life.
- Power outages lasted for days.
- At least 246 people were killed in the onslaught; 38 went missing.
- Cell phone, land line, and other forms of communication were lost for days.
- Infrastructure and agriculture were devastated.
- The city of Marikina (where Al lives) was submerged in nearly ten feet of water and tons of knee-deep mud.
Here is Al’s daily journal of the event and devastating aftermath—complete with photos of the increasing destruction and of her dog, Shatzie. Al also realizes that God’s faithfulness and strength were with her throughout.
Then on Oct 2, Al wrote:
Typhoon Ondoy has badly affected our city (Marikina); but our village is fortunate to survive the nearly waist-deep flood that entered and destroyed our homes. I just thank God that my neighbors and every member of my family are alive and safe. I am also grateful that Typhoon Pepeng has changed its course, except that another downpour is expected to hit us again sometime tonight. I pray that the weather gets better; we’re really tired cleaning up the huge mess. My hands are sore, so I’ll say ‘bye’ for now. Thank you for keeping us in your prayers. I wish you all well.
During a hurricane and its aftermath, when strength was gone and all she could see was devastation, Al caught a renewed realization that she has a reasonable hope.
“With Jesus Christ I can smile at the storm… / until He takes me home.”We’ll be okay, Shatzie baby.
 http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Typhoon_Ondoy. Accessed 19 Nov 2009.
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