You know how it happens right? Just when you finally think you’ve settled into a new routine that’s working for your family… bedtimes, naps, chores, errands, all on a schedule so daily life is a bit easier and more predictable. Then BAM!
Life Throws a Curve Ball
Fortunately for our family, the derailment of normality was not caused by injury or illness, or other major loss directly. On June 6th, around 4:00 pm, the power went out suddenly while our kids were napping. This is not that unusual, though electricity has been more stable in the last 2 years or so. Periodic brownouts still happen.
Then I (Laura), got a message from Francis about an earthquake a bit north of us on our island, Leyte. An earthquake? I hadn’t felt it, fortunately! It was quite a rumbler though not a terribly major quake and barely made the international news. However, it caused a significant amount of damage and injuries because of poor infrastructure and shortcuts to building codes. For 600,000 of us in Leyte, Samar, Biliran the quake meant no power for EIGHT DAYS!
Can you imagine life without power for eight straight nights and days? What would be the hardest for you to adjust to? The first few days were the toughest, trying to maximize the items in our fridge and freezer, adjusting to the humidity and discomfort sleeping, dealing with complaining kids (“Mom, I’m so sweaty!”), and trying to charge flashlights and cellphones to stay connected.
The first few days were really lonely and isolating. And SO quiet! With no radio, TVs, music playing anywhere, no videoke. Until we went into the city. And then the obnoxiously loud grinding of generators dominated the open air and drowned out conversations and other normal ambient noise. Using our phones and cell data to hop on Facebook was expensive and an exercise in extreme patience! We had barely one bar signal at home for a week.
Power of Prayer
A lot of people responded to my Facebook posts updating the (lack of) power situation and praying for us. Praying for a miraculous restoration of power. I believe that God can literally utter a single word and the 6 damaged transformers in Ormoc and the many damaged substations will be immediately functional again. But honestly, I didn’t expect God to do it. God lets us experience trials and experience difficulties. It’s in these times of testing we see our character and God can work in us. And speaking honestly again, I have really struggled at times with choosing joy these last few days.
The reports became increasingly dismal as the true damage was revealed as repairs began, and aftershocks caused more damage and setbacks. We were told to expect at least another 15 days before any power could be restored.
Then one morning after dragging myself out of bed, wondering how to fill the long, blank hours with no school for my kids, no power for my washing machine, no electric fan to cool our sweaty, sticky selves… my son came to me. He said, “Mom, why is the fridge on?” I assumed he meant, “open” and told him to close it. “No” he replied, “look!” as he turned on the bathroom light. Light! LIGHT! Thank you, Lord! It was only Friday, the 14th, after only 8 long nights and days.
Sometimes the best way to appreciate something is to be without it. Absence makes the heart grow fonder? In the case of electricity, WOW, do we depend on it and take it for granted way more than we realize! When we learned the power would be off for an extended period of time and with school canceled, I had hoped that I would have more time. But the reality is life is a lot harder and slower without power, in almost every regard. And in hindsight, after spending so many hours scrubbing my kids’ filthy clothes by hand, I realize it’s not a bad thing. No power is certainly not my preference, it’s greatly inconvenient. But not impossible. We survived, adapted and adjusted. And are still adjusting to the unpredictability of the still unstable power supply.
God doesn’t call us to himself so that our journey is without difficulty. Jesus warns us in John 16 that we will experience troubles but that we can have peace and take courage. The morning the power first came on, a dear friend posted her morning meditation which deeply convicted me. She shared Jesus’s prayer in John 17 “I do not ask that you take them out of the world, but that you keep them from the evil one.” And she wrote this encouragement, “Today, let us not pray for ease or comfort, let’s pray as Jesus did. Let us pray that we would have Christ’s joy fulfilled in us. That we would be kept from the evil one. That we would be sanctified especially in our present affliction. That we would be unified and that we would behold the glory of the Lord.”
We are still experiencing rolling brownouts as the power is very unstable and unable to meet the present demand. We’re currently receiving 2 hours on – 2 hours off from 8 am to 10 pm on a rotating schedule. Sometimes we’re surprised with the blessing of power, like today, after it cut at 12 noon, it came back on 6 minutes later, enabling me to write this post! In closing, please pray for us to model humble hearts and good attitudes to our children as we’re still in this challenging environment. Please pray that Christ’s joy will fill us up! And that He will keep us from the evil one. I am confident that God will continue to work in us to completion until the day Jesus comes back (Philippians 1:6). God is awesome!