Written By Lily Mae G. Quilbio, Visayas Children’s Program Coordinator, Operation Blessing Philippines

GTM_6677“When God gives, He gives what is best.  Just hold on to your faith, pray continually and do something about what you’ve prayed for.  Never give up,” 19-year old Ruth testified during our interview.

Ruth Gadoa is a 4th year BS Entrepreneur student of Eastern Visayas State University (EVSU), and the 4th child amongst the 6 children of Mr. Rolando and Mrs. Artemia Gadoa of Purok Balanak, Brgy. San Jose, Tacloban City.  Her siblings are Jonna Glen, who is married and lives in a separate house, Judith, 29, Rolando Jr, 23, Arlan, 17 and Rean Mae, 9.

Her family is one of the thousands of families who were severely affected by the devastation of super typhoon Yolanda.  All that they have was gone even their house and jeep which her Ate Judith had bought for her father to use for additional source of income.

“My 1st and 2nd years in college were all sufferings and sacrifices,” she opened up.  At that time, her Ate Judith was a contractual City Hall officer earning only Php 1,600 per month. From this salary, along with some money borrowed from friends at interest, Ate Judith provided Ruth with her tuition fee and other projects. Their father is a fisherman but is only able to provide for their daily food needs.  If he catches more than what they need, he sells it to buy rice, but it is still Ate Judith who provides most of the needs of the family together with her Kuya who worked as a bagger in a grocery.  What worried Ruth was the money she needs for her school transportation, food, and projects.

At that time, her family had already attended a fellowship and Sunday Service at Hope Foundation in San Jose and they already had God in their lives.  Because of the teachings and encouragements from the Word of God, Ruth did not lose hope.  She does laundry for her neighbors in order to have money to support her needs.  “God really provides, because He sustains our needs.  We don’t know where we get the provision, but it is just provided.”

Then super typhoon Yolanda came. They are grateful that San Jose Elementary School had a second floor that saved them from being washed out by the big strong waves.  They were so afraid because their father was still in their house, and their house was located near the seashore.  But after the storm, their father went to the school, and they are thankful that all of them were okay, although the only things they had left were the bags that they had with them when they evacuated.

All the members of the family were so hopeless.  The men of the house started looting with other groups for their food.  In order to rebuild their house, her Ate Judith, who was already a public school teacher at that time, took loans from different agencies; this gave her a very low take-home salary that could not sustain all their needs. At this time, Ruth decided to stop schooling for a while and take a job instead.

But she narrated: “Super typhoon Yolanda is a blessing because Operation Blessing came.  Through OB’s Back-to-School (BTS) Program, I do not need to work to sustain my studies anymore. We overflowed with joy when I passed the scholarship.”

Through values formation from the church partner, The Tacloban Family Church of Yahweh, with the guidance of Ptr. Chona Adona, Ruth’s character changed.  Once a loner, she is now an active youth leader at their church.  With the encouragement of Engr. Andrea Estillero, OB’s Site Engineer, she can now play the guitar and is already a part of the praise and worship team.  Before, she already attended church services, but according to her, what enters one ear goes out the other.  But BTS changed not only her but her family as well, who now all actively participate in church activities.

“Education is so important to me because it will help give me and my family a better future.  Operation Blessing is God’s answered prayer to us.  It does not only sustain my education but it helped us grow into much better persons and family.  My volunteer work is my way of saying how grateful I am for making me a part of you.  Now I am on my last year of college and saying thank you is not enough, but you are always in my prayers; that you may have more donors, good health of the leaders and staff and that more people be blessed by God’s Word,”  Ruth tearfully shared.

The Gadoa family has been blessed with a pedicab (cycle rickshaw) for livelihood and is part of the first 20 beneficiaries of COH Palanog. Help us help more families like them! Call us at 477 7802 to 04 and 06 or visit http://staging2.obphil.com/home to find out how.