“A Moment to Remember”
“The land produced vegetation: seed bearing plants and trees on the land that bear fruit with seed in it, according to their various kinds.” – Genesis 1:12 (NIV)
Can you still recall the poem entitled “All things bright and beautiful”? When I was in grade three, I used to recite that poem. The best line for me is, “All things wise and wonderful, the Lord God made them all.” What I’m trying to emphasize here is that, all the things that our eyes can see were created through Him (Colossians 1:16). Yet, they are just temporary.
Waking up one morning, I recalled the tragic event last November 8, 2013 when typhoon Yolanda wreaked havoc in the provinces of Leyte, Samar and some areas in the Philippines. It was as if I could hear again the loud thunder, accompanied by lightning, fierce winds and heavy rains. For many of us, it was the worst nightmare of our lives. Although, it lasted only for more than just five hours, it changed everything in our town. All the buildings were destroyed, plants and trees were uprooted and loved ones were lost. After Yolanda, many survivors may have thought: “What’s the point of living after they have lost everything in life?” However, we must move on. We must leave behind all the painful memories and the pains of the past.
At that moment, I realized that earthly and material things are only temporary. I was back to myself again, when I received a message from a friend who said that we will do something significant that day. I quickly got ready to go to Eastern Visayas University (ESVU) Tanauan Campus, Leyte.
The sky was pouring rain that morning, when I entered the campus. I felt strange as I walked through the ruined wall of the school and sighed as I looked at it, I met my classmate who told me that our activity for that day was moved to one o’clock in the afternoon. I headed to our room with myriads of thoughts bugging my mind.
Time passed by quickly. I met my classmates, Jenelyn and Erika and we proceeded to Tanauan School of Craftsmanship and Home Industries (TSCHI). Our purpose in going there was related to the message that I received that morning. We are members of Inter-Varsity Christian Fellowship of the Philippines at Eastern Visayas State University and our adviser reminded us to join a very important activity that day.
That was October 11, 2014. Our activity was tree planting and clean-up drive at TSCHI, a secondary institution within walking distance from our campus. Immediately, I felt so excited to join that one-of- a kind activity. Earlier, I mentioned that many trees were uprooted by typhoon Yolanda. After that, we experienced extreme heat. Because there were not enough trees to absorb carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, by joining the tree planting activity, I know that in one way or another, I can contribute or even just give a little help to balance our ecosystem.
There were 22 students who participated in the activity, together with Engineer Erwin Royo, our IVCF adviser. Our goal was to plant 20 pieces of jackfruit trees inside TSCHI premises. We also planned to clean the school surroundings.
I felt joy in my heart after planting a tree. For me, it was a big opportunity to be part of the activity. While looking at my fellow students, I saw the smiles on their faces, heard their laughter and it made tree planting all worth it, despite our being hot, tired and our hands dirty from digging the ground. This activity would not have been possible without our sponsor. I would like to thank MEANS and their donors for sponsoring: plant a tree activity, send students to Discipleship Leadership Training Camp 2014 from Tanauan, Leyte and to serve one community. Thank you, too, of course to Sir Erwin Royo for his leadership in these events.
After planting 20 trees, we started cleaning the school surroundings by pulling out weeds. I felt so happy when we had our small talks and funny conversations. It was such a strange feeling after we were done with our tasks. Then, we had some snacks to satisfy our hunger and to quench our thirst. Thank you God for giving us people like them. Thank you MEANS and the MEANS donors for helping us.
Before we left TSCHI, I once again looked at the trees we had planted and the place we cleaned. I found myself smiling. The only thing I had in my mind was that, I hope that the trees will grow as strong as the faith we have in Jesus. The trees will serve as a symbol of love and peace in our community. And as long as they live, our dreams and aspirations will also remain strong.
I know, after a month, the trees will grow and I will be proud to say that I was one of those who planted them. I just wish that TSCHI students will take good care of the trees.
I recalled in Genesis how God the Creator was so pleased after seeing his work and said “it was good” That was the same feeling I had as I looked at the trees we planted. I said to myself: “it was good”
Although, typhoon Yolanda destroyed our little shelters and took away our loved ones, I hope we will always remember that God has a reason why He allows sad things to happen. He will always be there. He waits for you and me to come to Him. . We may be roofless now but still we are not hopeless. As long as the sun still shines and as long as there is God, there will always be hope.
The love of God will never fail us. Despite the strongest earthquake, terrible tsunami and deadly typhoon – in God’s arm, I know we are safe and sheltered. God bless us, everyone!
Contributor: Enriano Agnila Jr. BSED, IVCF EVSU, Eastern Visayas State University. Tanauan, Leyte