The Night of the Typhoon

“The Night of the Typhoon,” Ensign, Feb. 1992, 54

The Night of the Typhoon

Early in the morning of 24 October 1988, the radio reported a typhoon was headed toward the Philippines. The announcer advised those living near the Aklan River to pack up and go to one of the evacuation centers. Our home was near the river, and my mother, my sister, and I were terrified, but we could not evacuate. My mother was too old and sickly for us to take her from our home. We had no choice; we had to remain. Being the only member of the Church in my family, I prayed alone for my family’s protection from the storm.

The radio announced that the storm would worsen in the next few hours. The wind howled and the lithe trees swayed to and fro as I took my umbrella and ran to the store for supplies before the worst of the storm hit our home.

Shortly after I returned, the great storm came chasing into our community. It blew down houses and trees as if they were straw. The wind hissed by, snatching at the thatched roofing of our house.

As the storm raged, we tried to hold on to a semblance of order. We had supper early so we would have time to prepare for the rising water of the Aklan River, which was expected to begin flooding about six o’clock. We placed our clothes and other belongings up as high as we could in our home. We watched as many of our neighbors ran past our house, taking their swine, ducks, and chickens to town for safety. I listened to the radio to help me keep my mind off the storm.

About ten o’clock in the evening, the flood reached our home, covering our bamboo floor with ten inches of water. The night was cold, the rain fell heavily, and the strong wind blew at our house.

I crowded onto the bed with my mother, my sister, and our three pets. We trembled through the long, cold hours, fearful that our tall star apple tree would be uprooted and would fall onto our house and kill us. I struggled with confusion and depression, especially as the flood waters began to rise again.

But when all hope seemed gone, I still relied on my faith in Heavenly Father. I prayed again, and after my prayer, I felt comforted. I began singing “Brightly Beams Our Father’s Mercy” and “Master, the Tempest Is Raging.”

I sang the songs over and over to bring comfort to my mother and sister. We soon felt the presence of a warm, loving Spirit that seemed to say, “You’re going to be all right.” This calm reassurance wiped away all my fears.

Just before dawn, the storm weakened. In the early morning’s light, I saw our tall star apple tree. The storm had uprooted it and dashed it into pieces. In the process, the tree had torn down our five big banana trees, but it had lodged in a vacant space in our backyard and had done no harm to our house. I thanked Heavenly Father for his protection during a time of great danger.

  • Nela Balbastro Fresnido, a member of the Kalibo (Philippines) First Branch, wrote this shortly before her death.