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SHARINGS

When the Lord’s Mercy Flowed

There are a lot of people out there who suffered more than we did. In fact, my family and I have somehow recovered from the only, and the worst, calamity we have experienced. Yet, I will not let this opportunity pass without sharing how Jesus and Mother Mary protected our household.

When God Used Our Son

My husband and I were preparing to leave early that Saturday morning, September 26, 2009 – I for a school meeting, while my husband for work - when my 6-year old son Joaquin woke up with slight fever, vomiting, and stomach pains. That delayed our morning preparation as we observed our son’s condition and planned to bring him to the emergency room. While praying for my son to get well, I got word from my classmate that the meeting was cancelled due to Typhoon Ondoy. Eventually, Joaquin’s condition improved, so there was no need to go to the hospital. Alas, it’s going to be a free Saturday to be spent at home.

The Lord’s Adrenalin

Soon, heavy rains started pouring. Anticipating a power failure, I was prompted by the Holy Spirit and Mama Mary to cook our dish for Sunday – adobo! True enough, there was brown-out before lunch… just in time for my adobo to be cooked! By then, there was already knee-length flood outside! Since our home was elevated, I was confident that the waters will not enter our home. However, when I saw that the water level on the street has reached thigh-level, my helpers and I began placing small appliances and important papers on the dining table, just in case flood waters entered our home. “There’s no way that the water level will reach waist-high at home,” I thought. When Mom was alive, she anticipated flooding in our flood-prone village, that was why she saw to it that our home was elevated at one meter when built. That was also why I began palpitating when I saw flood waters slowly creeping under our doors! It was the Lord’s adrenalin which allowed me and our two petite helpers to bring up the second floor everything that we can carry. What were left downstairs were the refrigerator, piano, antique platera, bed frames, dining table, and sofa set.

By late afternoon, water level at home reached four feet. I was in shock to see how the flood rose so quickly. Like everybody else, I was in a state of disbelief. Immediately, our household prayed the Holy Rosary and Divine Mercy Chaplet for protection.

My Prayer Partners

In the middle of our prayer, we were startled by frantic screaming from our neighbor’s helper. She was in panic because she was with an elderly woman and her 40-year daughter with Downs Syndrome. They had no second floor. We told her to go over the fire wall so they could stay with us. Shivering, the three of them got to us safely.

My fervent prayer partner was my 11-year old daughter, Paola. We could no longer recall how many rosaries and chaplets we prayed. Every time we prayed, the rains stopped, giving us hope that the flooding will subside. When the rains would pour, Joaquin would hand us our rosaries and say, “It’s time to pray again!”
I knew several others prayed for us, as I began sending text messages to Tita Mimi David how fearful I was. If not for these voices which stormed the hearts of Jesus and Mary, I would not know where to draw strength.

My Longest Night

From time to time, Paola sobbed out of fear and desolation. I perfectly understood her because that was exactly how I felt. By 7:00PM, the flood was 5 steps away from the second floor! Aside from some candles and cellphone light, we relied on the moonlight to determine the water level.

My hopes ebbed when my husband, Bubut, texted that it was impossible for him to get home because of the flood and the current that went with it. That meant I was by myself to figure out means to save those placed under my care should the flood reach us at the second floor. I began preparing by opening the emergency exit windows, by asking Paola and our helpers to start inflating the life savers, by having my children fit the life-savers (my 1-year old Tanya seemed to enjoy fitting hers!), by preparing the blankets which I’ll tie myself with and my children, by explaining to everyone the save-ourselves-plan, and most importantly, by praying non-stop for the Lord’s mercy and for our Blessed Mother’s intercession, along with begging St. Pio of Pietrelcina, the Holy Souls in Purgatory, our guardian angels, and all the saints I could think of to pray for us, especially my three young children. We also prayed hard for all the other people in peril. After every prayer, Joaquin asked, “Why is Jesus not answering our prayer? Where is He? Doesn’t He hear?” All I could answer to such difficult questions was, “Let us just keep on praying.. and wait.”

In between prayers, Paola and I slept. We had to rest. We needed energy in the event that we had to climb up the roof! Sleep was abrupted, however, whenever there was heavy downpour. Paola and I would immediately check the water level. She would once more cry. I’d hug her. We’d pray. I’d cry silently. I had to be strong, because if I let the tears flow, it would be hard to stop them. At one point, Paola asked, “Mom, why are you so calm?” I found myself saying, “It’s because we pray, and I know Jesus and Mama Mary are with us.” I must admit, though, there was a point when I got so frustrated with God, because I could no longer comfort nor explain things to my children.

It was indeed a sleepless night. It was sleepless because I had to be alert, and it was sleepless because my begging to Jesus, Mary, and the saints turned to endless “THANK YOUs” to them for being with us.

Meanwhile, Bubut decided to go back home to my in-laws. Like Paola and I, he tried his best to sleep in preparation for the long haul the next day. Indeed, Sunday turned out to be a very exhausting day.

The Much-Awaited Morning

The morning of September 27 was greeted with more “Thank Yous” to God that nothing untoward happened in the middle of the night. Meanwhile, after borrowing a rubber raft, Bubut and his cousin embarked on their rescue plan. After receiving a text message that they were on their way, my children and I waited with anticipation. Lunch time came, they were still not around. Mid-afternoon came, there was still no sight of the two. We ran out of cooked rice, so we simply feasted on the adobo and some biscuits. Worry and tremendous fear crept once more. There must be a way to get the children out before darkness came, and before there would be any heavy downpour which will once more cause water upsurge. I had no idea where our “rescuers” were.

By 5:00PM, Bubut and his cousin arrived safely. Though they were soaked with mud water, they were a sight to behold! Finally, they’re home! The neighbors had their eyes on the two, thinking that they were rescue teams! They had with them butane gas which we used to cook noodles and canned goods. It was the most sumptuous dinner so far.

Bubut’s Ordeal

It was not easy for him to be away from us during such calamity, when there was no certainty if each of us were going to be all right. He and his cousin braved through the wild currents, hanging on electric posts and dead wires, and plants. Along the way, they had difficulty as people latched on to their raft. Upon reaching the gate of our village, his heart sank. It was like seeing an ocean with strong waves! How will they reach us with just a raft? The emotional turmoil was great for a father and husband separated from his family at a time of great distress. He was still shaken when he contacted friends for help … for a bigger and sturdier raft. However, at that point, all rescue vessels were already deployed. The next plan was to walk through the flood slowly but surely. Along the way, he saw both helplessness and hope etched on the faces of the residents… eagerly awaiting rescue.

What would normally take 15 minutes of walk from the village gate to our place took them an hour. Cars swept away by the currents strewn the streets. The current was great in intersections, wherein they had to be extra careful, lest they be swept and find themselves at the Buli Creek, down to Manggahan Floodway, and finally at the Laguna de Bay! Seeing the sight of familiar roofs, passing through familiar roads until they reached ours, was a journey fulfilled.

Heaven’s Protection

We experienced the Lord’s and our Mother’s protection during that calamity. If Joaquin’s stomach did not act up, I would have left early that Saturday morning, leaving our children and the helpers by themselves. Our cars were not there that day (one was in the repair shop, while Bubut used the other one), thus were spared from being submerged. Tanya was content with my breast milk, therefore there was no need to make formula milk and we saved on some drinking water.

We are recovering from that nightmare. Together with some brethren, Bubut and I are helping Paola overcome the trauma. As a family, we have learned in a deeper way the meaning of love for one another, centered on Christ… guided by our Blessed Mother’s love.

Cleaning up after the flood, detaching ourselves from items by finally deciding to dispose them, investing on a rubber raft, contemplating on transferring to a safer place for the sake of our children are all part of another story…

Contributed by:

Myra M. Menguito
CFCFFL Education Ministry

Copyright 2008 Couples for Christ Foundation, Inc.
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