God brought a man and his family safely through the terrible typhoon in the Philippines and then provided income through Samaritan's Purse.
Before Typhoon Haiyan slammed into the central Philippines on November 8, Oriental Hotel in Tacloban was a common destination for high-end tourists from all around the globe. Now it is nothing more than a “graveyard” of twisted metal and debris. It is hard to look upon the pile of rubble and imagine it was once a thriving resort.
Jun Anthony Abaloyan was one of 200 workers employed by the hotel. The professionally trained chef had been working in the kitchen for several years.Help Disaster Victims Around the World“This hotel was a great place to work”, he said. “It paid well, gave good benefits, and treated us well. If it were up to me, I would still be working here.”
Yet things didn’t turn out that way. Typhoon Haiyan swept through his hometown, changing the entire course of his life.
The storm first hit the Philippines as a strong wind, thumping against Jun’s house, but quickly increased to speeds of over 200 mph. His family was scared, and Jun did what he could to encourage his wife and reassure her that she and their 4-month-old baby would be all right.
After a while, the ocean waters began to rise past their necks. In an effort to save his baby, Jun wrapped the infant in a towel, put her on his neck, and began to swim. Jun and his wife made it to an electrical wire where they remained suspended in the water for two hours.
By this time, Jun’s wife became tired and discouraged and told her husband to forget about her and to save himself and the baby.
“I would prefer to die than to abandon you,” Jun said.
Then he prayed to God and reassured his wife that He was with them. He truly believed and trusted that God would carry them through the trial.
Despite his words of encouragement, Jun knew they would not survive much longer. His baby was cold and her lips were turning blue. Jun lifted the child out of the water with one arm while holding on with the other. While it appeared that God was giving him supernatural strength, he knew his arm would eventually give in.
He finally was able to help his wife and baby to a nearby telephone pole, where they stayed for about six hours.
Jun found a sealed case full of baby clothes and was able to change his daughter and wrap her in a dry blanket. With that, she began warming up, regaining color, and moving around. As the water began to recede, Jun was finally able to move his family to a safer location where they would be free from danger.
They were very thankful that God had brought them safely through the storm. But while they had life, the typhoon had taken everything else. Jun had just lost his job and had no means of providing for his wife and child. He was in desperate need. With the current situation in the country, things did not look very promising.
A few days later, Jun heard about a cash-for-work project operated by Samaritan’s Purse. The program pays local workers a daily wage to help clear debris and pack relief supplies for affected communities.
When Jun heard about the opportunity, he came as fast as he could and was immediately accepted because of his reputation as a hard worker.
“This cash-for-work project is a gift from God,” he said. “I am so thankful to Samaritan’s Purse because they provide me the income I need to buy food and milk for my wife and child”.
He was asked what God had taught him during the last few weeks.
“I have learned that God can help us,” he said. “People are always amazed that my baby survived so long in the water. Yet I know the only way we made it was because God was with us. Even in the water, I knew we would survive because God was by us, hearing our prayers.”
Jun pointed to the telephone pole where he and his wife clung for several hours. It was toppled over.
“For some reason, after hanging on the post for a while, we had a sense we should move over to the nearby tree instead,” he said. “A little later, a coconut log being carried by the water at a great speed hit the post we had been on and toppled it over. Had we stayed on that post, we may have died as others in our neighborhood.”
Jun Anthony has been through so much. After the storm he lost his job, his home, and some of his friends. He has every right to be bitter and depressed. And yet all you see on his face is an expression of thankfulness—toward God and toward others.
He has the expression of a man whose hope is in God. Despite all that has happened he is thankful to be alive, to have a family, and to have a means to provide for them.
In the last few weeks, the cash-for-work laborers have been receiving much more than simply material sustenance. They are continually exposed to the message of hope through Jesus Christ.
Brady Rose, the project manager, opens each day with a devotional and a time of prayer.
“As they get to know me, they have begun to open up and approach me with questions,” he said. “It is amazing to see all that God is doing in their lives.”