A Family Tested Through Time

(Sharing with you my family’s experiences when we were tested and felt devastated, but found hope in every trial we encountered. One of which was during Typhoon Vinta.)

“the lonely chair” – aftermath from Vinta taken along Rotonda, Velez St. Cag. de Oro City

The family is where love, devotion, trust, compassion, faith, and understanding reside in each member. These qualities in a family can transform other families to live a Christ-like household.  But what if a family is being tested with trials? Like problems in finances, a member is sick, debts, or lack of time with each other; the list can go on. The first thing that will come to our mind “God, why is this happening to me?” or “What have I done to deserve this?”. We easily tend to blame God why such trials happen to us. It’s really unfair to blame it all on Him, but it is a sad reality that we humans make every time whenever we are faced with difficult challenges.



Typhoon Sendong

December 17, 2011 – the day when Typhoon Sendong badly hit Northern Mindanao, especially Cagayan de Oro and Iligan. Many families lost their homes. Loved ones died of drowning due to the flash flood. The scope of the tragedy sent families in the area that time to feel helpless and afraid. Some were thankful to ever survive such tragedy.

I remember, there was one family in Tibasak whos house was totally wrecked by the flood and all of them were washed off to the river. The father held on to his 2 daughters. But it was dark and the current was strong that they were dragged under the water. They got separated. He survived but he could no longer locate his kids even by morning. His daughters were listed as among the many missing persons. Until now their bodies were not found. His wife and son were rescued in different places of Misamis Oriental, both acquired bruises to their bodies.

In his situation, he could have thought of “what ifs” and “what’s not” from the moment he could not save his daughters. He could have blamed himself or God for it, but he chose not too. Simply because he knew that trials were not God’s acts. He can’t be angry at God or to anybody “because human anger does not produce the righteousness that God desires” [James 1:20]. Until now, he is still looking for his daughters in the hope of forgiving himself for not saving them from drowning. The value of finding them is for him to have peace of mind.


Typhoon Vinta

(Flooded household of Acacia Street, Carmen, Cagayan de Oro) 12-22-2017 taken by Joan Sheng

After 6 years, December 22 – another storm left many families devastated when Typhoon Vinta hit Central and Northern Mindanao. The heavy downpour in Davao and Bukidnon sent flood waters to the rivers of Valencia Bukidnon, Manolo, Talakag and then to Cagayan and Iponan. Only this time, it happened during the daytime and the local government agencies of Cagayan de Oro had been working hard on safety precautions, rescue, and evacuation plans in order to achieve the zero casualties.

My family lived in a rented house quite near the Cagayan river. A week before the typhoon hit the city, I already have premonitions. I thought it would be best for us to stay in my parents’ house, which is safely far away from the river to avoid such tragedy per se. Then two days before TS Vinta, I thought of going back to our rented house in Acacia street so we can get the important things we need like some clothes, the school supplies of my daughter, and other relevant stuff that what we would need. But something came up which prevented me from going back there at that time, and then that time the rain started to pour down and we could no longer go back there. We did get all our things place up on the second floor of the house.

When the typhoon made its landfall in Davao and Bukidnon at dawn of December 22, the CDRRMO raised the warning to Code Orange which is a preemptive evacuation to declared critical areas. A few hours later it was raised to Code Red. I stayed up and constantly monitored the news on social media and radio stations to know the exact situation, especially in the location where we rented a house. I prayed that the people there have followed the force evacuation notice, are they’d be safe in the evacuation centers.

By morning, the Cagayan river water level rose up to the critical level and it completely flooded the barangays that were close to the river bank. That included our location in Acacia, Carmen. I was worried that my in-laws, who were keeping watch over the house we rented if they had evacuated the place already. My husband kept on calling my mother-in-law but no answer. We got so worried as learned from the news that the water level kept on rising up. But after a few hours, my husband was able to talk to his mom notifying that they are safe. Everybody in the barangay heeded the evacuation calls. Thanked goodness! 

Cagayan de Oro River during Typhoon Vinta

Pass midday and my husband got a chance to check that house, which is just beside the Kagay-an bridge, or more known as the Rotonda bridge. There he saw what seems to be a complete disaster. The water level reached the second floor of the house. All of our belongings were completely flooded. To his dismay, he thought of so many “what ifs”. What if we were in the house during the typhoon? What trauma could have brought it to our kids? Thinking about all of those questions made him feel dismayed. The sight he saw devastated him. When I found out about the situation, to be honest, I burst into tears. I too was felt dismayed, devastated, and horrified about what happened. Then it made me realized, I should be thankful because my family is safe. We’re all saved from a tragedy. We are thankful!

All these tragedies are not caused by God. He does not do these. But the lessons we learned in having faith in Him, can help us overcome any trials or challenges. He will guide us through. Our God is merciful. We just need to be faithful to Him, and to one another. We also need to be thankful, strong, united as a family. Without trials, we don’t see hope. Without challenges, we don’t see God. Thus says the Lord “When you go through deep waters, I will be with you.” [Isaiah 43:2] That only to Him we find hope. To remain true with our faith, we can overcome whatever trials or challenges that we may go through in the future, as long as we have our family that supports us and to always there for us whenever we are TESTED THROUGH TIME.

May God Bless us all. 


– nerdygeekmom –

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