For people forced out of their make-shift homes in slum areas, resentment, discouragement, sense of injustice and hopelessness are normal reactions. Understandably, it’s not easy adjusting to a new environment. Coupled with the fact that those affected often view the government who forced them out of their homes with animosity, their new community with dislike, and new neighbors with distrust, getting relocated is seldom an easy process. But for the Philippine Bible Society (PBS), it was an opportunity to meet a need, a way of bringing hope into seeming hopeless situations, and a ministry door that opened a way for God’s love and Word to be shared.
Through Ilaw sa Tahanan, a special Bible produced and distributed by PBS to relocated families, enlightenment and illumination came to many troubled homes. Many received and found hope in God’s promises while others received inspiration in the supplemental articles that tackle issues faced by relocated families.
Gina C. David, 41 years old, a mother of 8 relocated in Northville 9, Relocation Site, Barangay Ibaoeste, Calumpit, Bulacan, shares her story. “It really strengthens my faith and gives hope like a light shining through. It also became a way to encourage my neighbors to really trust in the Lord Jesus.” One such neighbor is Theresa Balitos, 54, who expresses gratefulness for having received a free copy of the Ilaw sa Tahanan Bible which she says, is now her guide to life. “Iba talaga pag nagbabasa ka ng Biblia, maitatama ang iyong landas (It’s really different when you read the Bible, it will straighten your ways),” adds her 21-year old daughter Princess who was also changed by the Word of God.
Raising children in itself is already a challenge, but doing it single-handedly in unfamiliar territory, is no doubt even more so. Widow Emlyn Rumaldo says the Bible is where she finds strength to raise her kids aged 15, 14 and 11. “Malaking bagay ang Biblia kasi ang mga anak ko ay napapalaki ko ng maayos at nakakasama ko sila sa church (The Bible is very helpful because I’m able to raise my children properly and we go to church together).”
God is true to his word that all who seek shall find. Amidst life’s numerous problems, Felisitas Tiongson, the 52-year-old wife of Home Owners Association President Lorenzo Tiongson, says they found refuge and salvation through Ilaw sa Tahanan. Meanwhile, Pastor Manny Depues of Jesus The Rock Assemblies Church, who followed up on and ministered to those who received copies of Ilaw remarks on how receptive the families in Northville 9 Relocation Site are to God’s Word. He gladly shares that the labor is not in vain but is instead now bearing fruit.
With a copy of Ilaw sa Tahanan in their hands, these once homeless, hopeless families found security, hope, and a happier future. And, as sure as the light that burns brightly in their homes, so too shall the love for God’s and his Word now burn in their heart.