The Story Of Maricel Apatan
I’m going to tell you a true story of a young woman who went through a most gruesome fire. When you read her story, you’ll realize that your trials are absolutely nothing compared to what this young girl went through.
It was September 25, 2000.
Maricel Apatan was an 11-year old girl in Zamboanga.
On that day, this little girl went with her uncle to draw water.
Along the way, four men met them. They were carrying long knives. They told her uncle to face down on the ground. And they hacked him on the neck and killed him.
Maricel was in total shock. Especially that the men were their neighbors. She tried to escape, but the men ran after her.
She cried, “Kuya, ‘wag po, ‘wag n’yo akong tagain! Maawa po kayo sa akin!” (“Don’t kill me! Have mercy on me!”)
But they weren’t listening. With a long knife, a man slashed her on the neck too.
Maricel fell to the ground and lost consciousness.
When she woke up, she saw a lot of blood.
She also saw the feet of the men around her, but she pretended to be dead.
When they walked away, Maricel ran back home.
Her Hands Were Hacked Too
But along the way, she saw that both her hands were falling off. Because the men hacked them too. She cried but she kept running.
Sometimes, she’d faint and fall to the ground. But she’d regain consciousness and run again.
When she was near her home, Maricel called her mother.
Upon seeing her daughter, her mother screamed in terror. She wrapped her bloodied child in a blanket and carried her to the hospital.
Here was the problem: From her house to the highway, it was a 12-kilometer walk.
It took them 4 hours just to reach the highway.
When they arrived in the hospital, the doctors thought Maricel was going to die.
But for 5 hours, they operated on her. It took 25 stitches to stitch together the long knife wound in her neck and back.
Maricel barely survived.
And she lost both of her hands.
Ironically, the next day was Maricel’s birthday.
She was 12 years old.
But alas, tragedy didn’t end there.
Angels To The Rescue
When they went home, they saw their home was gone. It was ransacked and burned down by the goons.
Being very poor, Maricel’s family also didn’t have P50,000 for their hospital bills.
But God sent many angels along the way to help them.
Archbishop Antonio Ledesma, a distant relative, paid for hospital bills and helped them bring the criminals to court.
They were sentenced to prison.
But this, I believe, is the incredible miracle.
Instead of staying down, Maricel kept running.
Instead of cursing God why she had no hands, she now uses her wrists in incredible ways that will boggle your mind.
Maricel was cited as the most industrious, best in computer, and most courteous in the School for Crippled Children.
In 2008, she graduated from a course in Hotel and Restaurant Management. She even received a Gold medal for Arts and Crafts.
Today, at 21 years old, Maricel is studying to be a Chef.
Yes, a Chef without hands.
Nothing can stop this young lady from reaching her dream.
Real Winners Don’t Give Up!
Oh, it was a real gift.
Because last Sunday, I invited Maricel to the Feast.
We saw Maricel in front of us.
And her joy, her smile, her radiance was amazing!
In lovely white Chef’s attire, I asked her to stand in front of the crowd. We cheered wildly.
And then I led her to a table with lots of vegetables on it.
I asked her to make a salad for me.
Using only her wrists, she cut the vegetables and prepared a delicious salad.
I couldn’t help but cry.
I looked around me and saw many were crying too.
Because we were in front of an incredible winner.
Now About Her Younger Brother
We were so blessed by her life story.
And now we have a chance to bless her too.
One of Maricel’s dreams is to send Mario, her younger brother, to college.
But as she is still a student herself, she has no means to do it. She has no money.
We jumped at the opportunity to help Maricel and Mario. Through our Pag-asa ng Pamilya (Hope for the Family) scholarship ministry for the poor youths (one of our ministries here in KerygmaFamily), we’ll be sending Mario to college.
Through your financial support, we will keep on helping Mario for the next 4 years.
Until he finishes a college degree.
In this way, we’ll be giving hope to this family that has experienced so much suffering in their lives.
This month of May, Mario will enroll in a Manila college.
We know that Maricel and Mario will stand on their own and someday bless others too.
Thank you for being there for them!