What did Zane see outside… “dadael” complete destruction! For a seven year old who runs in the jungle, plays on the beach and sits in his tree house with his Agta friends, it was a disaster. It was hard for anyone to see trees uprooted, branches and leaves scattered all over like a war zone. Donovan saw the same thing - their radio antenna was broken leaving only one way of communication to the outside world, and ladders were tossed like toothpicks. Coconuts and coconut tree leaves were all over the place. Nearly every banana tree was on its side, meaning no more fruit for the season. Half of the rice fields were destroyed, leaving a portion of a crop that is about to be harvested this next month.
This is not the first typhoon they have been through, but this is the first time they have been through the roughly 50 mile wide eye. The calm inside contrasted the destruction and noise in the outside of the eye. In one minute they were sitting on their couch watching something on the computer, then next, the wind slammed against the opposite side of the house, and they ran with their valuables to the shelter…..the teachers apartment under their house.
Though the actual typhoon was intense; leading up to it was a lot of fun for their kids. It was like a snow storm in Canada, when you are with your cousins or family friends all together in one house, knowing that there will be no school the next day. They were running around, checking everything out with their friends. First to the ocean to see how far up the beach the 20’ high waves would go, then over to the Centre, where nearly all the Agta were staying, playing card games, looking at books in the ‘library’ side of the Centre.
Don and Charla have never been more prepared personally for a typhoon. Char had the classroom in boxes so the rain blowing through the house would not destroy their new home-schooling books. Don checked the roof again for loose screws, or any weak spot that the wind could catch and start pealing back. Flashlights were charged and they each had a bag ready. They could see the enormous front coming from across the ocean. During this time many village friends came by to see if they could borrow a hammer or nails, or just to see if there was any news from the internet about the track of the typhoon and if they were in its path.
Waves started building and building. Nerves were up and tweaked as they prepared for the freight train to come roaring through. The Agta were getting prepared by moving over to the Centre.
Then the storm hit gradually, over the next five hours, building in intensity, into the darkness of the evening with winds getting over 100 mph.
With many of the Agta in the storm shelter/clinic/library, Don ran over to see how they were all doing, and to take a picture to send the Australian team who built the sturdy shelter. He poked his head in, said, hi, took a picture and ran back home. He didn’t realise what he was taking a picture of until the next day.
The picture he snapped was a picture of his language helper sitting in the middle of the group of Agta looking at a kids Bible story book, teaching his fellow Agta about Noah, and how God was in control of the weather. Donovan found out that when he left the centre after taking the picture, his language helper said to the Agta that they should ask God to stop the storm, because HE is in control. This is when the eye of the storm passed overhead and there was peace and quiet for half an hour. Of course it ended with a blast of wind from the South in which the storm resumed with full force. His language helper also said how he talked about Adam and Eve’s sin, and because they were kicked out of the garden we are all born outside of the garden, with no hope of coming back to God, except if they believe in Jesus being nailed to the cross. One old Agta man said to him, “My sin goes away when I ‘maggimon’ (sit in a church service).” But his language helper was clear about saying that you can’t get to God by worshiping in church.
The Lord is using Donovan’s language helper to bring the Gospel to the Agta, even in the storm.
God is at work in ways Donovan and Charla could only dream of.