Written by Tini Castillo, Volunteer Writer, Operation Blessing Philippines

Janela Mendoza is the youngest among the brood of seven. A fourth grader at 16, she is a vision of hope. Despite being behind most of her peers, she has not lost her desire to get an education.

Growing up with a single parent, hardship is inevitable. Her father Rohel passed away when she was young and left her mother, Emilyn, 66, to raise all seven children by herself. Her brother Roger died of a kidney disease. Her mother works as a weed cutter and earns a measly 200 pesos ($4.25) per day. Three of her older siblings all of whom are married with children (Willy, 45, Nonalyn, 29, and Aisa, 23) weren’t able to finish nor attend school. The next two siblings (Errol, 21, and Manilyn, 18) were only able to get through second and fifth grade respectively. Both are also married with children.

With siblings who lacked education, it comes as no surprise that Janela dreams big and continues to press on with school.   She knows how important it is—it is her ticket out of poverty, something her siblings failed to score. She talks about school with great passion as she knows that her future depended greatly on it.

She recalls vividly the day Typhoon Lando hit their town. The rains poured heavily, winds were fierce and terror was in the face and heart of every resident.  Janela was not spared, as she felt every ounce of dread for their house and their family. But by God’s grace they were spared.

When Operation Blessing came to Brgy. Calabgan, Casiguran, Aurora and did a film showing of the Life of David through Superbook, Janela was one of the many children blessed and encouraged. She likened David’s fear of Goliath to her own fear during the storm. She was inspired by David’s perseverance as he trusted God’s plan for him. She realized that if David had that kind of trust in the Lord and emerged a victor, she can also do the same. She knows that God will see her through every typhoon.  No storm is greater than the God whom David believed in. And Janela chooses to believe the same.

Find out how you can extend help to Janela and her family. Call us at 477 7802 to 04 and 06. You may also give through banks (http://www.staging2.obphil.com/home/give-through-banks/) or credit card (http://www.staging2.obphil.com/home/give-through-credit-card/), or you may drop off your gifts-in-kind at our office (http://www.staging2.obphil.com/home/give-in-kind/).

Contributor and Photogarapher: Kristine Gado, Children’s Program Coordinator