My family and I were baptized in General Santos, Philippines, on 5 February 1995. At that time I was a freshman in high school, and I had a good life. My parents provided me with many nice things, and I was studying in a private school. My father worked at a pineapple plantation, and my mother managed our chain-saw business.

There were seven in our family. Even though we lived far from the meetinghouse, we were always there for Sunday services and other activities.

One day my father took a day off work to help my mother with her job; she had to go to school with my brother and sister and me to pay our tuition. On that day somebody hired our chain-saw operator to cut down some coconut trees. My father had to supervise the job.

While we were at school, one of the coconut trees that was being cut fell on a very expensive jeep. My mother went quickly to the place where it had happened. The owner of the jeep was very angry and demanded complete payment for the ruined jeep. My mother felt as though the whole world had fallen on her. We didn’t have that much money. My father requested an early retirement, but his retirement benefits were not enough to cover the damages. The chain-saw operator was arrested. Our chain saws were taken away—as were our house, land, and belongings. In a moment, everything we owned was gone. My father decided to go away, leaving our family to face the consequences alone.

It was a very hard time for all of us, but we didn’t lose our faith and hope. The day my mother had to go to court, we fasted and prayed. Fasting and prayer brought her comfort.

We had nothing left, not even a roof over our heads, but the Lord helped us. Indeed, He helped us through our bishop, who took us to his home to live with his family. Later another member offered his property for us to stay on until we could recover.

When the new school year was about to begin, I prayed that my brother, sister, and I could study again. Through prayer, faith, and hope, we were able to go back to the school where we had enrolled before, even though we did not have any money. I felt the love of our Heavenly Father then more than at any other time in my life.

In a difficult situation, Heavenly Father will help us if we stay faithful, prayerful, and obedient. He helped my family start all over again and kept us going. I know that if we continue to obey the commandments, we will continue to be blessed.

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  • Gemma Omandac Taying is a member of the Polomolok Ward, General Santos Philippines Stake.