Not Our Home!

Smiling despite the tragedy: Charmaine's visit to their earthquake-destroyed recently constructed house
Smiling despite the tragedy: Charmaine’s visit to their earthquake-destroyed recently constructed house

“Duck, cover, and hold” that is the orientation in every earthquake drill in schools or offices and sometimes, others are laughing while simulating it. We are not taking it seriously (and yes I would include myself) thinking that it is impossible to happen in our place.

But we have been tested with three (3) strong earthquakes last October 2019. I was terrified because during the first two earthquakes (the magnitude 6.3 and 6.6), I was with my students. I was so afraid for our safety. As our mayor declared the suspension of classes and work, I preferred to stay in our home. While I was scrolling my phone for the updates of the casualties and damages in Makilala (North Cotabato) and nearby municipalities, the latest, strong earthquake (magnitude 6.5) hit our town for the third time. On my mind, I want to do the “duck, cover, and hold” but thank God I was prompted to run outside not knowing that the walls and some parts of our house fell. The place I thought I can hide and keep myself safe has been covered by the debris of hollow blocks and hard cements. Praise God!

Despite these, I am still grateful to our God of how He led and guided me even during those circumstances. I really do not know if I would still be alive and well until this time if I chose to stay where I was sitting that time.

Two nights after our house had been damaged, a strong storm came and ruined our temporary shelter made of laminated sack (trapal). That time, I really felt so hopeless and helpless. I cannot really imagine our situation. We do not have a house and all of our things were already soaked in water. We did not have anything to keep ourselves warm that night.  But I am so blessed to be part of a bigger family that is IVCF. After some of the  IV-Grads found out about our situation, they brought blankets, extra trapal, food, and water for us. I found hope and love; love that reminds me that I am not alone in this battle.

Seeing the things that my family invested for how many years being destroyed in just a blink of an eye taught me not to invest in this world but to invest in His kingdom (Matt. 6 19-20). Though this event is still hard to believe and accept, I’ve seen the gracious hand of God providing for us through my brothers and sisters in Christ who are present to practically help and comfort our family and others in this very hard situation. Through this, I saw how God uses different people to remind me how powerful and miraculous He is. As one of my favorite songs says “the pains remind this heart, this is not, this is not our home…,” I am reminded that this is not our home. Our home is in the prepared place for us with our Father in Heaven (John 14:2).