Our E-Journal

I decided to link to our ministry’s e-journal (2013 journal). I feel pretty good about it… and it includes some of the work we have done with disaster relief in response to Typhoon Yolanda. I was the editor of it… but perhaps I shouldn’t admit it. There are probably a lot of errors. I really should not be an editor since I hate reading something more than once. Still, for a little pastoral care group in the Philippines, I think it turned out pretty good.

Disaster Response for Religious Crisis Care Providers

<div style=”margin-bottom:5px”> <strong> <a href=”https://www.slideshare.net/bmunson3/disaster-response-presentation-new&#8221; title=”Disaster Response Crisis Care Overview” target=”_blank”>Disaster Response Crisis Care Overview</a> </strong> from <strong><a href=”http://www.slideshare.net/bmunson3&#8243; target=”_blank”>Bob Munson</a></strong> </div>


Disaster Response Volunteer Guide

Getting lots of hits on my blog about some alleged prophecies here in the Philippines. I suppose I can understand the idle curiosity. Still, I hope that idle curiosity about what is going on in the Philippines can be rechannelled toward righteous action for what is going on in the Philippines and the world. Our group (Bukal Life Care & Counseling Center) has being doing training and stress defusing (along with relief goods and such) in struggling parts of the Philippines. Getting ready for another trip next week (to Bohol). Here is a volunteer guide that hopefully would be of value to people (not just in the Philippines) concerned with helping those who suffer from traumatic events.

<div style=”margin-bottom:5px”> <strong> <a href=”https://www.slideshare.net/bmunson3/disaster-response-volunteer-guide&#8221; title=”Disaster Response Volunteer Guide” target=”_blank”>Disaster Response Volunteer Guide</a> </strong> from <strong><a href=”http://www.slideshare.net/bmunson3&#8243; target=”_blank”>Bob Munson</a></strong> </div>

Disaster Response Volunteer Guidelines

<div style=”margin-bottom:5px”> <strong> <a href=”https://www.slideshare.net/bmunson3/disaster-response-volunteer-guide&#8221; title=”Disaster Response Volunteer Guide” target=”_blank”>Disaster Response Volunteer Guide</a> </strong> from <strong><a href=”http://www.slideshare.net/bmunson3&#8243; target=”_blank”>Bob Munson</a></strong> </div>

Focus on Disaster Response Relilgious Care Volunteers in the Philippines. First version… changes likely.

Typhoon Yolanda (Haiyan) Disaster Response

I am taking a bit of a break from blogging for now. We live in the Philippines and have been walloped by disaster. Strangely, the Philippines has been doing fairly well of late with good economics and the perception (at least) of less corruption. But then came three big disasters:

  • Kidnapping and village burnings in Zamboanga
    Philippine Flags
  • Major earthquake in Bohol
  • Typhoon Yolanda

We running a counseling training center (Bukal Life Care & Counseling Center, www.bukallife.org or www.bukallife.wordpress.com). We do chaplaincy training, chaplaincy work, and disaster response. Even before the typhoon came we were being asked to assist with the work in Zamboanga and Bohol. With Yolanda, things were are very busy.

We live in Baguio… a city in the Philippines that was not affected by any of these disasters. That is a blessing, but also an opportunity. One is not called upon by God to live lives of thankful complacency. It certainly may be understandable that people ask “Why would God allow such tragedies to happen?” A really good question, but another good question is “Why did God spare us from these tragedies?” The second question I believe is much easier to answer than the first. We are spared to share.

We are presently partnering with a number of groups in chaplaincy and training. Some of our team are prepping to leave for the destruction zone. Tonight my wife and I will be training a team that will leave two days from now.

The rest of the time we are emailing, texting, checking with support and with needs.

Blogging is good, and theological speculation is enriching. But sometimes one has to do something.

Asleep Near the Raging Waters

My wife is a Disaster Response Crisis Intervention Counselor, and she went with a team from our group, Bukal Life Care & Counseling Center (www.bukallifecare.org) down to Cagayan de Oro and Iligan City in Northern Mindanao, Philippines to provide defusing/debriefing  (and training for others) in the tragedy of the flooding from Typhoon Sendong a couple of weeks ago. Over 1000 have died and many are missing… many struck by flooding and by floating trees and debris while they slept. Tens of thousands are displaced and have suffered great material loss. Many were literally washed out to sea. Many disappeared. Others washing ashore on another island… but too far away to be saved.

Their situation reminded me of a learning moment I had many years ago.

Years ago we lived in Virginia Beach, Virginia. My sister and her family would visit us at times to enjoy the warm ocean and beach, getting away from the cold of upstate New York.  We went to Sandbridge in Va Beach. It was a bright sunny day, but it was windy and the waves were big. We don’t surf, but my brother-in-law and I went out into the water. Out far from the beach the water was too deep, and close to shore the water was too rough, but in between is an area of relative tranquility. We stayed there but occasionally we would dive into shore. The water was so rough it felt like we were going through a washing machine. But it was fun and we were strong swimmers so we did not feel like we were in any real danger.

After doing this for awhile we joined our wives to relax on the beach. I laid down and tried to sleep. Then I heard someone come up towards us and said, “Excuse me. Uhhh… excuse me.” I didn’t want to be bothered. Trying to sell me something, perhaps? Try to draw me into a conversation I wasn’t interested in? I pretended to sleep. The other members of our group were either pretending to sleep or maybe were really asleep. After a few moments, the person went away. I was at peace… for a bit. But then I began to wonder what was going on as I heard other sounds I could not so easily identify.

Taking a peek, I saw a group of people at the water’s edge. There was a man in the water in the region between the deep water and the rough water. He was trapped. The others were forming a line to bring him safely to shore. By the time I could respond, he was safe.

I felt bad, as you might suspect, because I could have helped. I had had water safety training in the past, and I was comfortable in rough water. Because I didn’t respond, I hurt someone.

I didn’t hurt the man trapped in the water. He was rescued.

I didn’t hurt the others. They did fine without me.

I didn’t hurt God. He had things under control.

I hurt myself. I had the opportunity to rescue someone from great danger. I had the opportunity to look back and a great moment in my life where I stood up and was counted on the side of those who serve God in helping those in danger and distress.

Instead I pretended to be asleep near the raging waters while someone needed rescue.

The church (universally and locally) often pretend to be asleep as well. They focus on internal strife, politics, denominational or interdenominational wrangling, church growth, or fund-raising… all sorts of things, while nearby the waters rage.

I am very happy that so many Christians and churches have stepped up in the Typhoon Sendong disaster. Many of these churches formed “Kagay-an Evangelical Disaster Response Network.” They have organized, and trained to help in their communities. Many have been sacrificial… burning themselves out, in fact… in trying to help both parishioners and total strangers in this time of crisis. We are thrilled that we at Bukal Life have been able to provide training and stand shoulder-to-shoulder in some small way with these committed Christians.

It is good that some commit to be awake and vigilant was the waters and storms of life rage.

Maligayang Pasko at Manigong Bagong Taon

English: Map of Misamis Oriental showing the l...
Image via Wikipedia

“Maligayang Pasko at Manigong Bagong Taon”  (Happy Christmas and Prosperous New Year) to everyone.

While statements such as this may be thought trite, it is important.

Our group, Bukal Life Care & Counseling Center (www.bukallife.org) is sending a disaster response chaplaincy team to Cagayan de Oro in Northern part of the island of Mindanao. Storm flooding has resulted in over 1000 deaths, and tens of thousands in temporary shelters, this December.

For people in this part of the Philippines, it is difficult to tell them Maligayang Pasko (Happy Christmas), it is difficult to wish them Manigong Bagong Taon (Prosperous New Year).

Our team is traveling down to Mindanao December 26-30 to help them ventilate, and prepare to look hopefully into the future. Our team is also training local churches to effectively minister in their communities.

But let’s be honest. Tossing out a happy greeting to people during the holidays is easy. But taking time to help people find some measure of joy and hope in a time of emotional and physical devastation is true to the Holiday Season.

As important as it is to “remember the reason for the season,” Christ came to to bring joy and hope to poor sheepherders in the hills, a struggling Samaritan woman, the physically handicapped, the poor, the rejected, and the sorrowing.

We truly celebrate Christmas and bring in the New Year when we bring that same joy and hope to others. I pray you have this joy and hope… but don’t keep it to yourself.