Tacloban Diaries – Day 3

Bonfire by the beach

Wednesday. Last day ng youth camp dito. We had a final session, entitled Reconciliation – the part when the Father rushed to his son. We talked about God’s love.

We had a small group session afterwards, and I asked them this: “How do you know that God loves you so much?”

One of them told me this.

She grew up to be a rebel. She is beautiful and charming and she says she used that to make things go her way. Needless to say, life does not work like that. A hatred grew inside her, especially towards her family.

When warnings about Yolanda aired on the news, she wished everyone would die. And ate, she said, seryoso ako noon. She genuinely wished that the storm would take the lives of those she hated and sana mamatay na sila, sana hindi ko na sila makita ulit.

A few days and a super storm later, her wish came true. Thousands of people died.

“How do you know that God loves you so much?”
“Ate, buhay pa ako.”

She could not understand it, but she survived. She blamed herself for months and months until she found out about God’s grace and forgiveness. Mahal na mahal ako ng Panginoon, ate.

Goosebumps. Forgiveness is a shocking dose of grace.

Noong hapon, nagspeak ang kapatid ko about the bitterness of the Older Brother sa Prodigal Son. Before he went to speak, he told me, ako pa talaga ang magtuturo about bitterness and forgiveness. After everything, sabi ko sa kanya, you can only speak what God taught you. So he did.

We attended their midweek service, again one of the most electric worship times I’ve been in, and I look around and see this church brimming with young people. May their hearts find their place in Jesus. May they never be satisfied with anything else.

After that, Talents Night and awarding. Then Team Tacloban went to the beach and spent some time by the bonfire. The stars were countless. We talked about how God has a name for each of them. We tried to name them, but we gave up.

Again, God is big. He is marvelous and glorious and my sins have been blocking and distorting my view lately… but I see Him here. In the stars and in the smiles of people and in the forgiveness of sins. My God is big, and He loves me. ❤

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