All was well. I was happy that we were travelling together as a family to go to the Temple. Moreover, to be able to travel with 50 young people and their leaders (who are good friends) made the trip more exciting. But when I saw the small boat that was to take us to Cebu, I began to feel uneasy. You see, I have always been afraid of travelling by sea. The boat was just too tiny, smaller than the one we usually take to Cebu or Bohol. My concern was further intensified because the weather had been “bad” for a few days already. It has been very windy and the clouds thick and dark for days. There was a storm coming in and a weather disturbance up in Luzon. But I assured myself that we were travelling with good men who hold and honor the Priesthood – the Stake Presidency, members of the Bishopric, as well as Youth Leaders – and with that knowledge I knew all will be well. So we settled in our own beds and waited for the boat to finally leave the port.
And then it all began – my worst sea travel experience so far (and hopefully my last). Our tiny boat began to rock to and fro, back and forth, sideways left and right, up and down, with intermittent (but nerve-racking) loud, jolting crashing/banging sounds. It started a few minutes past 7 pm (our boat left port at 7 pm) and lasted until past 2 in the morning. The movement was so bad even men threw up. Many of the young people we traveled with started to feel nauseous and not long afterwards, each took turns in the CR to make themselves feel better. Some had to do it in the trash bins in the hallways. I stayed in my bed and said my prayers, made sure my children were in their beds too, and forced myself to sleep. But it was very hard to sleep. To comfort myself I sang songs in my mind and said countless prayers in between songs, pleading to the Lord to calm the seas. Finally, sleep came around 2 am and I woke up just in time to hear a voice in the loudspeaker calling the crew of the ship for the final docking maneuver. It was almost 5 am.
I gave a sigh of relief and said a prayer of gratitude.
Fast forward to Saturday – time to go home to Cagayan de Oro and take the same small boat. Can you imagine how I felt, Oh no! How we all felt when we heard that the weather has worsened and that in CdO the rain has been consistent? And in Cebu the wind has been howling too for days! If only we could postpone our trip home. But there was no coast guard advisory, and so we had to take the boat ride. On our way to the port, the young people were looking outside the bus windows and were expressing their worries when they saw the huge waves crashing on the seawalls along the road.
Finally, up the tiny boat we went and to our respective accommodations. An hour earlier, medicine for motion sickness had been taken by all of us and so we were ready. When all the things were placed where they should be, our Stake President invited everyone to gather together for a prayer. He reminded all of us about the Savior’s promise that He will protect His people as long as they are obedient to His commandments. He cited Genesis 18:16-33 and reminded us all that we just finished doing a very important work in the House of the Lord and we must have the faith that God will watch over us.
The prayer was offered and we all went to our beds to prepare for the rough trip home.
True enough, even before leaving the port of Cebu the boat already started to rock to and fro, up and down, to the left and to the right … but unlike our trip a few days earlier, we all somehow felt safe and secure. I know it was because we all bowed our heads to pray for safety … but most all of because I know we came from a very sacred place and we helped in the Lord’s sacred work. We were on His errand, and He was with us.
Finally, morning came. Home at last, Safely. As He promised.