Do you believe that miracles can still happen today? Whether you do or not, it would be hard to deny that Maricel’s and her family’s story is nothing short of extraordinary.
A dark night
Although it has already been months since Typhoon Odette carved a path of destruction through several provinces in Central Visayas and Palawan, the disaster still remains on Maricel’s mind. “Even now, whenever it is raining and there is a strong gust of wind hitting the roof of our house…the trauma that we went through during the typhoon comes back to us,” she shared. She especially remembers that moment she saw her daughter and her husband lying unconscious under a fallen coconut tree.
“Mercy, my daughter, suffered a blow to her head. She was unconscious for a few minutes before I heard her cry out,” Maricel recalled those frightening moments when the roof of their house was blown away and a tree fell on their house. In the midst of Typhoon Odette’s fury, Maricel was able to gather her family and flee their fallen house.
They managed to take shelter at their neighbor’s for the night and in the morning saw the extent of the damage to their house and the land. But Mercy’s head injury concerned them the most.
It took five more days before they got to a hospital in Roxas, Palawan to get Mercy checked. They found that she had a blood clot in her head and needed special medical attention that required equipment only found in bigger hospitals in Puerto Princesa City. Because the national highway was still inaccessible to four-wheeled vehicles like ambulances, it took them three more days to get to a Puerto Princesa hospital.
“And miraculously, after some time, the doctor told us that Mercy didn’t need a surgery anymore,” Maricel said, still overwhelmed by her daughter’s sudden miraculous recovery.
Although Mercy did not need surgery, the hospital bills still ate up all their savings, so the family was grateful for the canned goods and MannaPacks from ICM sent through their pastor. “The bills at the hospital amounted to 200 thousand pesos, medicine is not included. In order to pay the bills at the hospital, the title of our land here in Barangay Tinitian is collateral,” Maricel shared. “But all of that doesn’t matter to me because all that matters is the safety of my beloved daughter.”
“What happened to the other person with us?”
“I almost lost my hope when I saw the condition of my child and I nearly blamed God for what was happening to my family,” she continued. “Until Mercy told me a story at the hospital that made me fall to my knees and cry.”
“Ma, what happened to the other person who was with us before the coconut tree fell on us?” Mercy had asked.
This confused Maricel at first, because there were only three of them in the house when Typhoon Odette hit — she, her husband, and Mercy. But Mercy insisted that there was another one with them.
“He was in white,” Mercy said with conviction. “He pushed us away from where the tree actually fell!” Had the tree fallen on them directly, Mercy’s injuries could have been much worse.
“I couldn’t believe it at first.” Maricel confessed. “But later on, I cried to the Lord because I knew that God saved me and my whole family that night. He answered my prayers even before I called on His name. So from then on, I always started believing that no matter what happens in our life, God has planned it all.”
Healing and Rebuilding
Maricel participated in ICM’s Recover program and took part in the trauma healing sessions. “We were given a chance to share all our burdens. Through that, my heart felt lighter after sharing my problems and thoughts.”
She added that she also learned that a well-established business plan is very necessary for her business to succeed. Her savings group has resumed their activities and contributions with solid business plans to sustain them. She used the individual cash grants for the reconstruction of their house.
Even with everything that happened to her and her family — or because of it — Maricel looks to the future “full of courage and determination” because she knows that they are not alone.