Matt, the Transporter; Jenna, the Artist; and Keith, the Accountant

Peacebuilders Community Inc. (PBCI) invites interns that are willing to share their gifts and help in the peacebuilding ministry in our country. This year, we have three Canadian interns, who, during their stay in the country, are falling in love with the Philippine culture and the peacebuilding ministry in Mindanao. Each one of them is unique, and has skills and talents that are very much needed in the ministry. One of them is a young man and a very good driver. The other two are a couple, one a theater artist, and the other, an accountant.


The Transporter

Matt, enjoying passion fruit in the Talaandig community

Matthew (Matt) Tiessen, is from Leamington, Ontario, Canada. He was sent by Leamington United Mennonite Church (LUMC) to work, learn, and establish new relationships for one year. He started in August 2010, and has only a few months left in the country.  He is in charged of the Transportation and Communication aspects of PBCI work. He serves as the driver, mechanic, and photographer during field visits. He has already taken PBCI team to many places in Mindanao that even most professional drivers in the Philippines would not even dare to go. Matt is a good student of cross-cultural relationship building, and proves to be good in making friends and establishing relationships with people that he just met for the first time.


During his internship, Matt tried to improve his photography skills, experienced becoming a ‘barista’ at Coffee for Peace, and even became a godfather of a Filipino baby girl. His experiences at PBCI teach him a lot, especially that he is required to read books, while he is having a difficult time to do so. He began to love the different Filipino foods such as pusit (squid), banana cue, turon, passion fruit, tuyo, and a lot more. What excites him a lot is the traffic system in the country, wherein he sees order in the midst of seeming chaos.

Asked how he sees his role as a technical support person at PBCI:

“It is very important to keep our vehicle fit for service so that we don’t get stranded in a critical area.  Along with maintaining the vehicle, it is important for me to be a smart, safe, and efficient driver, getting my passengers safely and efficiently to our destination.”

The Theater Artist

Jenna Grubaugh is from Vancouver, British Columbia.  She was inspired to join PBCI because of Dann and Joji’s connections to her home church, Peace Mennonite, in Richmond, BC. She took Peace and Justice Studies and Theater. In January 2010, she was a part of the team that visited Mindanao for our Peace and Reconciliation Field Exposure Program (PARFEP). During that trip, she was convicted to be part of this amazing team. She, and her husband, Keith, would serve as PBCI interns for one year.

As the Theater Arts Specialist of PBCI, she looks forward to inspire change towards peace and justice through the arts. Although she has already gained knowledge and understanding of the peace and justice issues after only 2 months, she is hoping that PBCI will continue to encourage her to use her artistic gifts to contribute to its vision.

She is currently enjoying Monday morning staff meetings, laughter despite  desperate and sad situations, and the fact that being Christocentric is not equated with being exclusive.

Asked what makes her stay in the Philippines enjoyable:

“I would have to say that the friendly nature of the people here and the wonderful, constant sunshine has made this an especially amazing place to be serving God.”

Jenna and Keith, wearing their PBCI IDs during one of their trips in Mindanao

The Accountant

Keith Grubaugh is from LaGrange, Indiana, USA, and studied Accounting at Trinity Western University in British Columbia, Canada. Since the beginning of their relationship, he and his wife, Jenna, had always wanted to take a year and do service together. When Jenna expressed her interest to return to the Philippines after her visit in 2010, it got the ball rolling. They did the application process and they were challenged about the job description assigned to them.

Keith now serves as Peacebuilders Community Inc. (PBCI’s) Business and Accounting Specialist. He envisions to help PBCI and Coffee for Peace have an accounting system that will serve as a financial base to move forward in the next five years. He also envisions to help have a working water reservoir for the Talaandig tribe.

He looks forward for their stay here in the Philippines to be a life-changing experience that will forever help them become better global citizens, and that they will never forget even if they return to North America. As of now, he is enjoying the Philippines—the warm weather and sunshine, the people, and Paradise island, (although he dislikes frogs and lizards).

Asked what he loves about PBCI:

“I love the vision, the people we work with, and the work that PBCI is doing in the Philippines. I love Dann and Joji, they are warriors for the Peace of Christ.”






Permanent link to this article: https://peacebuilderscommunity.org/2011/05/pbci-interns-immerse-in-the-philippine-culture/

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We are sent by Mennonite Church Canada Witness in partnership with our international community.