The dusk of Sunday, August 25, 2013, rapidly turned into midnight. The horrible nightmare of the loss of the three working students succumbed AUP into an obvious terror. Grievances engulfed AUP like a raging tsunami that went beyond the borders; the surging waves rippled to the farthest places on Earth, as the horrible news spread like a wildfire, particularly in FaceBook & other social networks.
The darkness lingered until Tuesday morning. Figuratively, the sun ceased to shine on Monday. But the glimmer of hope, flickering in the hearts, burst into the light of noon as the missing bodies were found dead in the respective areas in Laguna on August 27, 2013. Finally they were found! The aftermath of the search and rescue operations was a blizzard — awakened AUP from the nightmare. The dawn of the Blessed HOPE rose into a brand new day!
This is the Part 2 of “Flushed by a Flash Flood”
If you missed the Part 1, kindly STOP, and please finish reading it first so you would fully understand and appreciate this.
No More Mourning in the Morning
Since Monday afternoon, I haven’t gotten back in the portals of AUP. I failed to attend the memorial service, I was hoping to see. But I’ve got personal reason why I wasn’t able to. On that Monday afternoon, I learned that Kat was among the missing AUP students. I broke down to tears, I was at the internet cafe’ but I didn’t care if the people there saw me weeping. I really wanted to join in the special worship at PIC that night, but lingered there, astounded.
Finally on Tuesday, I regained my composure. But I was more saddened to know that the dead bodies confirmed to be the missing students were found. Everything sank in. My heart dropped.
I felt so sick, broken, and I realized that it’s more than the tragic incident that struck my heart so hard. I corresponded again of whatever update I gather from significant people. I posted series of FB status on Thursday night, I failed to attend the memorial service:
“The remains of the victims were cremated. A memorial service was done at PIC.”
“No one understands like Jesus when the days are dark and grim,
No one is so near, so dear as Jesus, cast your every care on Him.”
While patiently waiting for updates, I was struggling if I would still go to PIC as I planned, but vim abandoned me. I thought everyone was cremated, but only Kim’s and Jay’s were cremated. Kat’s remains remained in the funeral homes.
So I finally divulged my personal reason why I can’t. Bottled up for quite a time, I realized, the scars of my own loss were wounded afresh. I exploded, burst into lamentation. Then updated my FB status:
“The scars of losing my siblings, ate Leah (12/12/12) & Ben Jathniel (3/31/11) seemed wounded afresh as I grieve for Kat T., Kim G., and Jay M. I can somehow relate with the pain of losing loved ones, although I would never fully grasp what their families & relatives are going through right now.
Fervently praying for the comfort of the Holy Spirit. May the Wounded Healer touch everyone’s heart.
Come Lord Jesus! “
Here’s the link of “When SOON Lingers”, story of my ate Leah’s survival and finally resting in peace; testimony of God’s greatness, our healing amid hurting: https://curlybookworm.wordpress.com/2012/12/29/when-soon-lingers/. She died on my brother’s birthday, and it’ll be a forever reminder of her loss. I thought I have moved on somehow after 8 months (ate Leah) and 2 yrs. and 4 months (BJ), but it would take a lifetime, I guess.
I’ve learned that three among the 18 students who went near Japanese Cave celebrated their birthday, it was actually a celebration which turned into lamentation and devastation. They’ll be reminded of that tragic incident every year on their birthdays.
But time will finally come when there would be NO MORE NIGHT, NO MORE PAIN, NO MORE TEARS, no more sickness, no more disasters, especially flash floods, and no more parting. That’s when JESUS would come in the clouds of glory, when He would awake His loving children from deep slumber. I long for that glorious morning!
Encounter with the Wounded Healer
“Why God?”, “How Come?” Few among the queries I’ve asked the Lord again, being boggled with the enormity of the crisis AUP has been facing since Sunday afternoon.
“Where is God When It Hurts?” by Philip Yancey inspired me again as I reminisce how the ministry of pain helped me, how it turned bitter experiences into better components of a new person in me. And more likely many people, although Christians and founded in Biblical principles might have asked the same way.
When answers aren’t enough there is Jesus! He is more than just an answer to your prayer.
And your heart will find a safe and peaceful refuge. When answers aren’t enough, HE IS THERE.
Another question answers it best: “Where is the Church when it hurts? Philippine International Church, AUP family and the AUP alumni and SDAs worldwide offered their help and support in diverse ways, especially through prayers. Even non-SDAs, local government and other concerned people extended their help. If the Lord touches your hearts, it’s not yet late to help.
Where is God when tragic incident like this happens? Doubt might have overwhelmed some, thinking that God punished, and more likely abandoned them. But lo, when things like these happen, we can be assured that NO ONE UNDERSTANDS LIKE JESUS! You can desert Him, but He will never, ever leave You! You just need to return to Him, for He’s ever near than you could ever imagine. He comforts through the ministry of family, friends and even strangers! I can boldly say because I went through with crucibles as well.
LUMAPIT SA KANYA – Kindly click to view the video of the The Meisters Singers (AUP Ambassadors), with solo part of Lady Daffodil Diesta. They rendered this during the memorial service done at PIC on Thursday night. The urns of Kim G. and Jay M. were brought to PIC after the service. An all-time favorite tagalog song, I usually render this in funeral services and evangelistic crusades then. (Video credit: Mimo Estrada, used with permission)
While the rest of the sympathizers almost overflow PIC during the memorial service, I kept updating in FB whatever new updates I’ve gathered from friends who were there. Then I was impressed to write this short poem:
I AM CONSOLED
(8/27/13 * 10:30-10:35 PM)
I cried a river, but it didn’t drown the pain.
I gazed the cross with the eyes of faith, saw Jesus’ sweat of blood, tears of agony, horrible pain.
I am consoled.
He had to go through that horror of death that I may live.
Oh what glorious thought when face to face I may gaze him,
His pierced hands would clasp mine,
His melodious voice would be heard:
I was broken and wounded, that you may be HEALED.
“…Naked came I out of my mother’ womb, and naked shall I return thither:
the LORD gave, and the LORD has taken away; blessed be the name of the LORD.
In all this Job sinned not, nor charged God foolishly.”
“What if my greatest disappointments and the aching of this life, is the revealing of a greater thirst this world can’t satisfy.
What if TRIALS of this life, the rain, the storms, the hardest nights, are your mercies in disguise.”
~Blessings, Laura Story
Awake out of Sleep
“And that, knowing the time, that now it is high time to awake out of sleep: for now is our salvation nearer than when we believed.” Romans 13:11
As Bible-believing Christians, we know that the quick successions of the three merciless typhoons mixed with Habagat were just signs of the times. Even the numbness of other people who would rather criticize and misrepresent the present condition of AUP. Love of many really grew cold. But still we look on the brighter side of life. We ought to focus on the roses, not with its thorns.
My epiphany on the time I learned the whole story: “Do AUPians need to learn the lesson of obedience the hardest way?”
It blew me hard! My deepest sympathy goes to the 15 survivors. If I were super affected, how much more them? They would carry this tragic baggage in their lifetime. Once in a while, flack backs of what they’ve experienced and witnessed would vex them. This time of grieving ought not a time for blaming game; not a time for pointing fingers to who’s responsible, who’s accountable. We’re all responsible, we’re all accountable in every decision and action we make. And God always gives that freedom to choose. And yet, every action done has a consequence.
With the deep, deep slumber of the three precious students, I roused with a paradigm shift.
Despite of the disheartening outcome, what magnified the most in this event are lessons learned, so practical and precious: unconditional love, faith, patience, perseverance, persistence and unity amid adversity. My sincerest prayers ascend for AUP leadership and the rest of AUP family, I appreciate the all-out support they’ve done. I may not fully grasp the pain and burden in their hearts, but I can imagine them.
I know, healing amid hurting is possible. We may be healed and the scars may be wounded afresh, but surely, there would be progressive healing.
It takes time. But it wouldn’t take forever.
© 2013 LAF
Note: Photos credit to Reü Dawner Flores, Mimo & Weanne Myrrh Estrada, and Mrs. Amelina Fabroa. Video credit: TheAUPian. This blog has a copyright . The photos and article should not be used, reproduced and manipulated by any means without a written request and consent from the author.