I begin to write this amazing testimony of a sister in Christ trying to choke back tears. Sis. Elizabeth Martines has traveled from Cebu to share her blessed testimony during the Friday overnight prayer meeting at the Central Church in Amoranto last week (Oct. 3).
On the night of August 16, 2013, Sis. Elizabeth was on board the MV St. Thomas Aquinas which was about to dock at the Cebu City port. At around 8 o’clock in the evening, Sis. Elizabeth looked out to sea and noticed how tranquil it was. The water was clear and she could feel her eager anticipation as in just a few minutes they would be docking. The passengers began the bustle of preparing their luggage, stuffing their belongings in bags and gathering them at their feet.
Suddenly, they heard a loud banging noise, like an explosion. At first, Sis. Elizabeth thought it was the ship hitting ground. But then she saw another ship, Sulpicio Express Cargo, in front of them. That was when she realized they just had a collision with another ship! Immediately, power went out and everything was dark. Their ship slowly tilted on its side and in just a few minutes, began to sink. The passengers began to scream in fear and ran everywhere in total panic. The captain announced to abandon ship and the crew distributed life vests in haste.
When, finally, Sis. Elizabeth found someone to help her get a life vest, the first two cabinets were already empty. On the third and last cabinet, she found a small one for kids. In desperation, she grabbed it and put it on. To her surprise, the kid life vest fitted her! When she was finally ready to go (to where, she didn’t know), all the other passengers seemed to have gone elsewhere, for the place she found herself in, there were no passengers running and there was some kind of light. She held onto an iron bar to steady herself.
She saw as the passengers plunged to the dark waters in extreme panic. Some lost limbs in the process. But Sis. Elizabeth continued to hold fast onto the iron bar of the ship. When the ship finally sank to the bottom of the sea, she went with it. At the depths, she cried out, “Hallelujah! Praise the Lord! My dearest Jesus, forgive me! Please save me! Hallelujah! Hallelujah!” Over and over she cried out to the Lord. She had drunk a lot of sea water but to her, it didn’t taste salty at all! Her neck and head ached from shouting to God for help and deliverance.
She saw lots of fish beneath the sea and to her great surprise, she could breathe easily! For about 30 minutes she was at the bottom of the sea. She believed the fishes were deafened by her loud praising and praying that they gathered at her feet and lifted her up to the surface. Another miracle! I think about Jonah as I write this most blessed testimony.
When she reached the surface, she just floated aimlessly not knowing what to do. She was covered all over by grease from the oil spill. She also drank oil-contaminated water and this made her weak. She saw lifeless bodies blackened by grease floating around her. It was still after a few hours that they were finally rescued.
Sis. Elizabeth didn’t sustain any wounds or bruises from the tragedy. The Lord Jesus Christ delivered her safe and sound.
But now, thus says the Lord, who created you, O Jacob,
And He who formed you, O Israel:
“Fear not, for I have redeemed you;
I have called you by your name;
You are Mine.
2 When you pass through the waters, I will be with you;
And through the rivers, they shall not overflow you…
3 For I am the Lord your God,
The Holy One of Israel, your Savior;…
4 Since you were precious in My sight,
You have been honored,
And I have loved you. (Is. 43:1-4, emphasis mine)
Hallelujah! To God be the glory!
To read news about this sea tragedy, click here.
~ Sis. Rina R. Peru