Standing Strong in Three Storms

women, talking

“The best thing for us to do is pray.” Faced with the super typhoon, “Juan” (with the international code name, “Megi”), Anita Laya challenged the people involved with the Ayangan Bible dedication ceremony to continue to pray as they began to prepare for the much-awaited event.

Anita Laya is one of the Bible translators for the Ayangan language, belonging to a people group in Ifugao, Northern Luzon, Philippines. She reported that almost two weeks before the day of the Bible dedication, three major typhoons hit the location where she was leading the preparations for the dedication ceremony.

It was the first time that the Philippines would experience Storm Signal Number 4—strong winds of more than 185 km per hour. Upon receiving this news update, Anita said the people who were preparing for the event became downhearted. However, instead of becoming discouraged herself, Anita felt they were still blessed because the typhoon came before the event.

“There were a lot of things to prepare,” Anita shared. “The typhoon hit the Ifugao province on Monday, Oct. 17, 2010, hampering the construction of the roof and the cementing of the floor of the venue.”

During this time, she had to go back and forth to Manila to raise funds for the event. In the midst of the storm and preparations for the dedication, Anita received some more unfortunate news: her mother had died the same day as the storm. This terrible blow still did not uproot Anita’s faith.

Celebration, Bible Dedication
She instead found a way to thank God because her mother had died peacefully. She also thanked God because they could not serve any liquor during the wake, since her mother died during the typhoon. It is customary in their village to serve liquor during a wake, but since there was a typhoon and landslides, they could not purchase any liquor. This, for her, was a blessing.

Grief did not stop Anita from making sure that the day of the dedication would be a perfect one, but another storm hit her. Her husband and one of her brothers had an automobile accident that damaged their car. Upon receiving this news, she prayed, “Lord, make me strong until the dedication is finished.” She even found a way to thank God because no one was hurt in the accident.

In spite of these three consecutive “storms” (figurative and literal), the preparations continued, and God provided for their needs. “The rain did not stop us,” Anita shared. The Ayangan Bible dedication was successfully celebrated October 30, 2010, at the Bible Training Center in Sanafe, Lamut, Ifugao. People from different places gathered together to witness God’s faithfulness and goodness among the Ayangan people.

Anita saw God’s sovereignty in many ways. He provided perfect weather on the day of the dedication. The roofing and the floor were finished on time. Food was overflowing. Guests arrived safely. There were a lot of answered prayers. But what made Anita most happy was to see people lining up to buy a copy of the Ayangan Bible. Someone even gave her money to purchase Bibles for people who could not afford to buy them.  Anita’s faith was rewarded and deepened that day as she witnessed God’s care and provision in answer to all her prayers.

Photos by Cathy Carlos, KJ Kenfield

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