My family and I have been based in Tacloban since 2009. My then-fiancé (now my wife) and I decided to help plant the church in the city. I knew God had a plan for us, so we built our lives and our livelihood in the region.
We had a good living in the city, until typhoon Yolanda hit the region. By then, my wife and I had two children, aged 4 and 2. All our belongings were submerged in floodwater. In the middle of looking through the items in our home, we discovered the Every Nation building bank I had gotten for my children. It was all we had left.
To be honest, it was tempting to empty its contents and make use of the money we’d put inside it, but something was holding me back from actually doing so. I resolved in my heart that the money in that coin bank was not mine to keep and use for my family’s survival. It was for the church—specifically, to help advance God’s kingdom.
Before the storm, we’d been putting coins in the bank for some time. Each time I came home from work, I’d give my children a few coins that they could put inside the bank. I wanted to teach my children about giving generously—that what God entrusts to us is not just ours to keep, but ours to give away. I wanted my children to have hearts that give joyfully, and without reservation.
God, in His faithfulness, has blessed us over and beyond what we can ever imagine. After the storm, work was unstable, but my wife and I were given capital to start a new business. We’d also receive unexpected blessings here and there.
God is a lavish and generous God, but He can bless us as He so pleases. One of the biggest lessons I have learned, one that I also want to impart to my children, is to not seek rewards from Him. As we are faithful in the small things, God is honored and glorified. The starting point of giving is in your heart, and I consider it an honor and privilege to give to His kingdom.
Today, John Louie and his family are based in Malaybalay, Bukidnon. Aside from helping jumpstart the Victory church to be planted in the area, they have started a business and have plans to set up a music school in the city.