The First Wedding After the Typhoon

December 30, 2013

by Ron Orcajada, Samaritan's Purse Household Water Program Manager

Ron Orcajada, Samaritan's Purse Household Water Program Manager, shares his experience at attending the first wedding after the typhoon.

“Therefore choose life, that you and your offspring may live, loving the LORD your God, obeying his voice and holding fast to him” (Deuteronomy 30:19-20, ESV).

As my time on Leyte Island comes to an end, I wanted to take some time to share a special highlight.

My Water, Sanitation, and Hygiene colleague Michael received a text from Gleiza, our lead hygiene promoter. She asked for a day off for her “wedding day.”  Our internal vocabulary processing mechanism kicked into gear—“wedding day”—does that mean “anniversary?” Does she want to spend a day celebrating her anniversary? A few minutes later we found out that she meant exactly what she said: Gleiza was getting married! To our surprise and honor, she asked us to be special guests at her wedding.

Thursday morning at 10:30 a.m. Gleiza and her husband were wed at the Tacloban municipal courthouse. The judge asked us to excuse the small courtroom; piles of moldy documents covered the room, but this didn’t take away from the special ceremony about to begin.

In the midst of disaster, this young couple was choosing to live and to celebrate life. They were getting married. They had lost nearly everything because of Typhoon Haiyan, but not each other. Michael and I couldn’t help but admire their commitment.

Upon the completion of the ceremony and signing of the legal documents, the judge and clerks stated, “This is the first wedding conducted in Tacloban since the typhoon.”

A part of history was being lived out in front of us, a part of history declaring that life goes on. Afterwards we had the special privilege to share a few verses of encouragement from God’s Word and then pray for the couple as we enjoyed a wedding lunch together.

As we wound down our time in Tacloban, Michael and I knew we were part of something special, something we will remember for the rest of our lives. We trust that God will show Himself faithful to this couple as they build a new life together.