Loss of possessions but increase of faith


Below is a blog post by Rand Jenkins who has been serving with the disaster relief team in Manila since Oct. 7.

Felicisimo and Marieta Cables and their neighbors have fewer possessions but greater faith in the wake of the flooding in Marikina City. Felicisimo is the bi-vocational pastor of Hope Baptist Church there and lives just a few blocks from the church.

Pastor Cables got a text message from his daughter that was intended for his wife. The text read, “Waters rising. Get on the roof. You’ll be safe.” After receiving this, Felicisimo rushed out of work and started home. By the time he got close to home, all routes had been blocked.

So he swam. He swam across 800 meters of raging flood water along with cars, bits of houses and countless possessions from hundreds and thousands of homes. He made it home, only to find their house full of water.

Marieta noticed the waters rising and was quite the resourceful and determined Philippine lady. First, she went to the second floor of their house. There the flood waters rose to her chest, and she began thinking of options. She sloshed her way to the upstairs front window and yelled to her neighbor on their third-story roof.

marieta cables and sonMarieta does not know how to swim. She climbed out of her window and onto the telephone pole that, at this point, still had live wires and then grabbed a rope thrown by the neighbor. Once on her own roof, she walked in water while holding tight to the rope until reaching the safety of her neighbor’s taller roof where they held a worship service praising God.

“I still have my family and my faith, which is what matters and what got me through this time,” said Pastor Cables. “One item I’d like to find is my favorite Bible,” he continued. “Missionary Bob Harwell, from Texas, gave me his in 1992 and it was filled with notes and encouragement. That Bible gave me the inspiration to finish seminary.

“The fact that people traveled so far to help us clean up is a great encouragement to me, our church and just simply reminds me of the salvation we have in Christ,” he added through tears.

One of the first projects of the Texas Baptist Men disaster response team sent through Baptist Global Response was to mud out the Cables’ house and a church across the street, not where he pastors.

“In talking with Felicisimo, I learned his story and that he lost a Bible that meant a great deal to him,” said Ernie Rice, Texas Baptist Men team leader. “So I gave him mine that Sunday when I preached in his church.”

While several of the volunteers led and attended area house churches in the area hit by flooding, four went with local missionaries to distribute food in some of the poorest of the poor areas. One of the stops on Oct. 11 was the first disaster relief the area had received since the September 26 typhoon. At this location seven people accepted the Lord.

Metro Manilla, made up of several cities, received a month’s worth of rain in one day of typhoon Ondoy after days of rain had already saturated the ground.

TBM is there serving at Baptist Global Response’s invitation and working with 20 other volunteers in mud out disaster relief alongside Southern Baptist of Texas Convention, Baptist Men of Kentucky and Baptist Men of Oklahoma. The TBM volunteers on the mission trip are Ernie Rice, Miguel Tello, Leo Vega, Harold Patterson, Bill Gresso, Jack Vawter, Russell Sheik, Rey Villanueva, Rand Jenkins and Stan Knight.

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