Peace in the Midst of a Super Typhoon
The winds were roaring and increasing in speed and ferocity in the early morning of November 1. Super Typhoon Goni, the strongest typhoon of 2020, was packing winds of 225km/h and with gusts of up to 315 km/h. The highest public storm signal (Signal 5) was raised in the Bicol Region and almost one million people were moved to safer grounds. In an evacuation center in Legazpi City, Lolit was huddled in a corner praying with her grandchildren. They were worried that the catastrophic winds would rip the makeshift roof of their house and that the floodwaters would reach their home. But, instead of giving in to fear and worry, Lolit gathered her family to pray. They prayed for their safety and for the typhoon to die down. As Lolit focused on the power of Jesus to calm the storm, peace flooded her heart. After praying, Lolit and her family managed to sleep while Goni was raging across the province.
Her Life Used to be Full of Anxiety
Such inner peace was elusive before for Lolit. As a widow with six grandchildren to look after and with no permanent job to sustain them, her life used to be full of anxiety. She did laundry for others and also sold cooked food to neighbours to provide for the family. Tired and stressed out, she was always worried about their daily needs. Her mind was full of anxious thoughts about the future, and her relationships with her grandkids and children were affected. She was hotheaded and would say unkind things to them. She would often get into arguments too with other people.
God’s Word Began to Take Root in Her Heart
Her life took a turn for the better when one of her grandsons, Janno, got involved in Tiwala’s weekend enrichment classes for children. When the staff member of Tiwala visited Janno’s home, she also invited Lolit to attend Tiwala’s Bible study sessions for adults. Lolit thought it was just a waste of time but still went out of curiosity. As she continued participating in the small group, God’s Word began to take root in her heart. She found the lessons interesting and relevant so she made sure to get a copy to review them before sleeping. When she received a Bible, she made it a habit to read it before sleeping. The promises she found in God’s Word brought peace to her troubled heart. She took time to write down the verses she read and posted them on the walls of her house to serve as daily reminders for her. She craved to grow more in knowing God and began attending regularly in a Christian church.
She Became Grateful For Every Blessing
The changes in her life did not go unnoticed by her children and grandkids. Her worries were replaced by a growing awareness of God’s blessings. Instead of nagging and saying hurtful words to her family, she invited them to pray with her. She became grateful for every blessing she received. Her daughter said that since her mom became a Christian, she has become more appreciative of her children and grandkids, often verbally expressing her love for them. Lolit also volunteered to host Tiwala’s Bible study sessions in her house and expressed willingness to extend help to other Tiwala moms who needed assistance.
During Difficulties, God’s Peace & Joy Overflow
Super Typhoon Goni left extensive destruction and damage affecting more than three million people in the Philippines. It did not spare Lolit’s home. Part of the roof was ripped off, and their clothes and belongings were drenched in the flood. Her family spent three days cleaning their home. But this setback did not cause her faith in God to waver. She continued attending Bible studies and church services. She regularly led her family in reading the Bible and in praying. She testified that even during difficulties, God’s peace and joy overflow from within her heart.
Three months after Goni hit, Lolit became a recipient of Tiwala’s livelihood project. A sewing machine was loaned to her so she can sew textile products and earn extra income. She was delighted to receive the assistance. She shares, “I am grateful for this opportunity to earn and use my skill in sewing. Praise God for this blessing! It is a big help. I can still watch over my grandchildren even while I am earning.”
Lolit still dreams of having a sturdy house that can withstand strong typhoons. But she also knows deep down that, with or without it, even in the face of the strongest typhoon, her future is already secure because she has Jesus by her side. And that gives her peace and security that no disaster can ever take away.