Who would believe we did not have any sleep and we worked 12 hours repacking and 8 hours distributing goods on the field before this picture taking? After this photo shoot, we distributed some more goods for the next 6 hours and then travelled back to Davao City for another 6 hours. The joy of the Lord has been our strength.

Our volunteers made it possible for Peacebuilders Community to deliver 14,000 food packs to survivors of Typhoon Pablo (International name: Bopha). These are some of their stories.

ALEX BALICUATRO. Five members of his family were killed in Typhoon Falcon that flooded Davao City on June 28, 2011. After the flood, he was trying to rebuild his life but the people he lent money did not even pay him back.  Still, it did not embitter him. “I experienced the flood so I came here to help. They are persons just like me,” he said pertaining to the people affected by the typhoon this month. Alex is one of the volunteers who also spent sleepless nights looking after the goods being packed in an open gymnasium.

PEPITA OLIVARES. Like Alex, Typhoon Falcon claimed her one-year-old grandson and six other relatives. Their house was washed out. Just a year and half after her family’s tragic experience, she is spending the Christmas season helping us repack goods. “As I help, my feelings get lighter,” she said. She has not forgotten her experience but she said, I am here because I feel for the people who are in the same situation we were in last year.” Pepita is a community leader who brought her people to help us repack goods. From the Christmas Eve operation until our last distribution on 19 January, was always helping out.

MARK ANTHONY. He is a small eleven-year-old boy who is struggling to transfer the big bags from one station to the next at the repacking center. “I am doing this because I want to help the people,” he said. When asked if he is tired, he answered “I am tired but I want to finish this because there are many people who need help.”

AYYI GARDIOLA. Ayyi is a peace worker in Mindanao. “What I like about Peacebuilders is that it addresses the spiritual, psychosocial and physical health of the people. It is wholistic that is why I am here,” she said. Ayyi helped us in the information and communication team and volunteered as a psychosocial worker in one of our operations.

DION TIMBANG. While reviewing for the Licensure Examination for Teachers held last September, Dion prayed, “Use me God in any way you want.” In November, the results were out and he passed! He is now a professional teacher. When the typhoon came, he saw it is another opportunity to be used by God. Dion is the only volunteer who served 24 hours a day and seven days a week. His dedication and skills are very much needed in our relief operations that he was invited as a contract worker for three months to help us out. Dion was also a volunteer during the operations for Typhoon Sendong (International name: Washi) that hit the country on December 2011.

Alex, Pepita, Mark Anthony, Ayyi and Dion are only five of the almost a thousand volunteers who willingly gave their time and effort for this relief operation. We are grateful to them.

We pray that the people affected by Typhoon Pablo will be healed of their trauma and pain. By the grace and mercy of our Creator, may the people who are suffering now will find the strength to use the same energy to reach out to others, just like what Alex and Pepita are doing now.

Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God.  2 Corinthians 1:3-5 NIV

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