Tag: Typhoon Pablo



Gerd Bartel visited us in Davao City and helped us during the Fifth Wave of our Relief Operations in Compostela Valley.  He was accompanied by his son-in-law, Darnell Barkman.  Darnell and Christina, along with their two sons, Cody and Makai, serve with Mennonite Church Canada Witness in planting Peace Church Philippines which is located in Global City, Manila.

The Fifth Wave is the last of PBCI’s five relief operation trips to the typhoon devastated areas.  During that time we handed out 2,500 family packs to three distribution areas pointed by our relief mapping system and verified by our advanced scouts as most needy communities.


Gerd and Darnell accompanied our volunteers and helped in the actual distribution of relief goods under heavy tropical rains.

After the relief mission trip, we went for a rest and recreation trip at the Paradise Island Beach Resort in Davao City.


Again, we’re inviting our Canadian friends to spend their vacation here in Mindanao and join our Peace and Reconciliation Field Exposure Program (PAR FEP).

Permanent link to this article: https://waves.ca/2013/01/19/gerd-bartel-visits-peacebuilders-community/



Arturo Uy (left), Provincial Governor of Compostella Valley, shares with us the typhoon devastated areas declared as geo-hazard zones. I was accompanying Assistant Secretary Rolando Cucio, Office of the President – Republic of the Philippines (standing in front of me), as he was making an assessment of the typhoon-devastated areas along with his technical staff. This is part of the consultation process we’re doing as we make our operational transition from relief to rehabilitation.

In coordination with national, provincial, and local governments, as well as with various non-government organizations, PeaceBuilders Community, Inc. (PBCI) shifted its energies and resources from emergency relief operations to rehabilitation.

Super Typhoon Pablo (international name, Bopha) left Southeastern Mindanao with more than one million families affected and more than a thousand deaths.

The PBCI Rehabilitation Strategic Planning started as early as the first week of January.  We accompanied Mr. Rolando Cucio, (Assistant Secretary of Political Affairs, Office of the President, Republic of the Philippines) and his staff to assess the needs in the areas devastated by Typhoon Pablo.  With the technical assistance of Twinkle Bautista (Leader, Information and Communication Technology Team at PBCI), we listened to local government officials and contributed to strategic planning of some aspects of rehabilitation programs in their respective areas of responsibilities.

In the Province of Compostela Valley, Governor Arturo Uy expressed the need for help in rebuilding homes and in creating livelihood programs.  But his government is faced with challenges as to where the houses are to be rebuilt since many of the areas devastated by the typhoon have been declared as geo-hazard zones.  Governor Uy is now working with various government agencies and non-government organizations in leading the rehabilitation phase in his province.

In the Province of Davao Oriental, Governor Corazon Malanyaon expressed the need for building temporary shelters for thousands of families whose homes were totally destroyed by Pablo.  The coconut plantations in Davao Oriental, the main source of living in the province, were also completely destroyed by the super typhoon.  The provincial government is also working with some international aid organizations and national government agencies in creating new means of livelihood.

PBCI has assigned a full-time community development worker in each of the two provinces hit by Pablo.  They will serve with churches and Christian organizations as consultants in designing comprehensive rehabilitation and development program that would specifically suit the context of the churches’ respective ministry areas.  While the PBCI workers are based among Christian communities, they will also be networking with government agencies and non-government organizations in terms of resource mobilization.


John Mel Sumatra and David Quico are our new Field Operation Leaders in Compostela Valley Province and Davao Oriental Province respectively. They are graduates of Ateneo de Davao University and served as PBCI volunteers prior to their appointment as full-time staff.

Please pray for John Mel Sumatra (Compostela Valley Province) and for David Quico (Davao Oriental Province), the PBCI Field Operation Leaders who will serve as community development consultants in these typhoon-hit provinces.  They will be staying in their assigned fields for a whole year during this rehabilitation phase of this disaster response.

Permanent link to this article: https://waves.ca/2013/01/10/pbci-shifts-operation-mode-from-relief-to-rehabilitation/



…Truly I tell you, if you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you.  

Jesus of Nazareth (Matthew 17:20b NIV)

Was Jesus exaggerating?

The context of this statement was a story of a boy with psycho-spiritual issues. The disciples were not able to heal the boy because, according to Jesus’ assessment, they did not have enough faith.

I’m like one of those disciples. I need God to increase my faith.

Faith ought to be the immediate set of spiritual lenses through which I must perceive and experience Final Reality. Faith also ought to be the ultimate set of spiritual lenses through which I must spiritually understand the dynamics and interactions of the Creator with the whole creation, including the whole of humanity. Through this understanding, I must act accordingly.  “Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see. This is what the ancients were commended for. By faith we understand that the universe was formed at God’s command, so that what is seen was not made out of what was visible.” (Hebrews 11:1-3)

Faith would be my capacity to transcend the limitations of reason, logic, and everything that are commonly perceived by my five senses. But it is not irrational or illogical.  Faith is trans-rational and trans-logical; it also transcends my limited empirical approach to reality. When I learn to live by faith, I’d learn to expand the capacity of my humanity in harmony with the Creator and the whole of creation. When I learn to live by faith, I embrace the whole of my relationships. With the Creator. With my being. With others. With the whole of creation.

Faith brings harmony to all aspects of my life. Faith results to genuine shalom–genuine peace.

The story behind Jesus’ statement was not about me moving mountains. The statement was more about healing the other that would bring healing to my being. To live without faith is to live in disharmony. A life of disharmony needs healing–to become whole again. I am a faith-living human being. I’m not just a mountain-moving ‘human doing.’ Faith brings healing to my humanity.

“Living-by-faith” is usually mentioned when a person or an organization exists without guaranteed financial support. Living-by-faith is deeper than my common understanding that God will provide through unexpected circumstances and sources. The challenge of growing in my life of faith is not just about how to get provision from God. Living-by-faith is growing in my awareness of the presence of the Provider in my life–moment by moment, day by day. Since The Great Provider is with me, why worry about the provision?


Today, 05 January 2013, I’ll lead my team to deliver 2,500 family relief packs to the Mandaya people in Barangay Malibago, Cateel, Davao Oriental. There’s an urgent need to bring them food right now.

We’re facing a number of challenges:

  • A low pressure area is developing at the eastern shore of Mindanao and it’s an extra challenge to bring food across a flooded river;
  • There’s no road going there and the footpaths are muddy, so we’ll use carabaos, horses and all available indigenous transport means;
  • There’s no cell phone signal and communications will only be through two-way radios and foot messengers;
  • There are segments along the way when security is quite a concern.

God, give me faith even as small as a mustard seed.

Faith in God does intervene in the macro- and micro-dynamics of the universe.

Faith heals the hungry person. Faith heals the traumatized typhoon survivor. Faith heals the seemingly hopeless coconut farmer who has lost almost all of his coconut trees. Faith heals the mother whose child is still missing. Faith heals the father who just buried his son. Faith heals the psycho-social workers. Faith heals the relief workers. Faith heals the nurses. Faith heals the doctors. Faith heals the truck drivers. Faith heals the peacebuilder.

Faith heals me.

Jesus was not exaggerating.

Faith, indeed, can move mountains.

Healing is more significant than moving mountains.



Permanent link to this article: https://waves.ca/2013/01/05/im-praying-for-faith-even-as-small-as-a-mustard-seed/