Esperanza Sulads Academy for the Lumad Tribes (E-SALT) is a four-hour hike from Salog. The trip requires crossing a river nine times before reaching the school, so we always use large plastic bags to protect our belongings from the river, floods and rain.
Missionaries and some of the students went down to Esperanza last summer to attend the wedding celebration of one of the Sulads* workers. As is the custom, the backpacks were lined with plastic bags, and in went clothes, cell phones and Bibles.
“Oh no, all my clothes are wet,” he said in dismay. “Everything is wet.”
This time, there were not enough plastic bags, and one student’s backpack didn’t get a bag. Still, he joined the group and began the trek.
They hiked rapidly, racing to reach Esperanza before dusk. The group rode on a bamboo raft to cross the river easily and more quickly.
As students hurriedly jumped off the raft at the other bank, the unprotected backpack tumbled into the water. Inside were the student’s clothes and his Bible. One of his companions quickly plucked the bag from the water to save those things from getting wet.
The owner hastily pulled out everything. “Oh no, all my clothes are wet,” he said in dismay. “Everything is wet.”
As he continued unpacking his things, he accidentally touched his Bible. It felt different.
In wonder, he pulled out his Bible, and to his surprise it was dry. The whole group could see this was a miracle. The journey continued, and everyone reached the wedding safely and feeling blessed.
A few weeks passed, and it was my turn to make the trek, this time down the hill. I grew tired and weak from hiking. Feeling unable to walk farther, I prayed to God, “Lord, please send me something that I could ride.”
People from the mountains were cutting down trees for trade in the lowland. They tie them together in the river and let them drift downstream. They ride the rafts so they can guide them using long sticks to prevent them from becoming stuck on the big rocks. I thought riding on a log raft would be a great help to me. How I prayed that somebody would come floating down the river with their logs.
I continued to walk while silently praying for a ride. I was preparing to cross the river when someone riding on a log float offered me a ride. I accepted without any second thought. I was so happy because God answered my prayer just in time.
I was not concerned about the danger that awaited me. All I was concerned about was the weariness I felt and the comfort I would get if I rode on the logs.
As the owner and I rode on the logs he assured me, “Sir, just relax. Everything will be well.” The current was strong, and we slammed into rocks every once in awhile.
Becoming anxious, I asked myself, “What if we get stuck? What if I fall? What will happen to me?”
“Are you OK, sir?” the owner asked me.
“Yes I am. Don’t worry,” I told him.
“Lord, please don’t let my Bible be wet,” I prayed repeatedly.
We continued to row the raft. I kept praying silently, “Lord, I give You all my worries. No matter what might happen to me, I know it’s Your leading. But please, don’t let my Bible get wet.”
It is normal that the river current is stronger when nearing the low land. This made me even more nervous and worried. When we bumped into a big rock I decided to throw my bag to one of the students who was with us to prevent my things from getting wet. I threw it as hard as I could, but he was unable to catch it. It fell straight into the river and sank. The student hurriedly retrieved the bag and raised it up.
“Oh, no, my Bible!” I felt like crying. The Bible was a gift from a friend, and I could not replace it.
Again, I prayed silently. I checked my things and was not shocked to see that all of my clothes were wet. Even my money, which was inside a waterproof wallet, was wet.
“Lord, please don’t let my Bible be wet,” I prayed repeatedly. Probing for my Bible, I felt something hard beneath my wet clothes.
Pulling it out quickly, I was stunned. My Bible was as dry as Gideon’s second fleece. “Praise God!” I shouted.
God again proved Himself to me and everyone watching. Once again, He showed His great love for me and what He is capable of doing.
*Sulads are student missionaries from Mountain View College in the Philippines. Gospel Outreach helps sponsor about 10 Sulads.