From left, Chaplain Rufo (Pong) Cabungcal, Tad Wulliman, Gary Reyes*, Clarence Torkelson and Ricky Silvario*. (*-pseudonym)
Ryan Miller
Wednesday, January 16, 2008

MANILA, Philippines (Mennonite Mission Network) — The thief entered the Faith Academy construction site for scrap metal. Instead, he found faith.

Ricky Silvario* lives in a squatter’s village near the academy, a school in Manila primarily for the children of mission workers. For Silvario, and for others seeking to feed their families, the current project to build a school auditorium was an attractive place to steal from, especially after a twisted, unlocked gate offered easy access to the construction workers’ barracks.

In late October, Rufo Cabungcal, the construction project chaplain known as “Chaplain Pong,” found Silvario on site, scavenging roofing materials and scrap iron to sell on the streets. In broad daylight, Cabungcal confronted him.

Silvario would not relent, leaving with the stolen goods after Cabungcal refused to resort to violence following a vehement conversation.

Cabungcal reported his experience to Tad Wulliman, project manager for construction and a Mennonite Mission Network associate, and Clarence Torkelson, an electrician serving through Wycliffe Associates.

Torkelson’s response: We need to give this man a job.

With support from his supervisors, Cabungcal went in search of Silvario. When he found the man, he offered him a job as an electrician.

Silvario accepted the job. As Cabungcal helped him fill out the official application, Silvario also accepted Christ.

Wulliman said Silvario’s conversion, while dramatic, is not necessarily unusual. It is a symptom of how the academy’s ongoing construction work has been organized.

“For years, we have always given the workers the opportunity to be exposed to the salvation message and the cooperation and attitudes have always been excellent,” Wulliman said.

That message – unusual in an overwhelmingly nominal Catholic culture – is evident on the job site, according to the company bosses Wulliman works with.

“The workers have a better attitude, work harder, are more pleasant, more cooperative, happier, more content,” Wulliman said. “For many of these men, the exposure of the pure gospel of salvation at Faith Academy is the only time in their lives that they would have ever heard of such a life-changing message.”

Wulliman hired Cabungcal to serve as chaplain in early 2006; he initially also worked as a project carpenter, but soon was ministering full-time. Cabungcal and his wife, Janet, live in a small shanty among the barracks with the construction workers, hosting morning Bible studies, worship services, free meals every other Saturday, entertainment and what he calls basketball evangelism – a way to connect with workers on the court.

In an interview with Sandy Musgrave, serving at Faith Academy with New Tribes Mission, Cabungcal said he sometimes sits with workers on his roof after their shifts. He often answers questions about the Bible, which many of the workers, despite their Catholic backgrounds, have rarely opened.

“We talk from 9 o’clock in the evening until 3 o’clock sometimes. They are sharing their problems, sharing their experiences,” Cabungcal said.

Wulliman said much of the construction projects will allow the academy to connect to middle- and upper-class members of the community. Cabungcal’s presence, and the work itself, allows a connection to the working class that has formed a faith community.

Of the nearly 70 workers in the barracks, about 20 have professed belief in Christ, Cabungcal said, including Silvario, who now works under the only other professed Christian electrician on the crew. Wulliman said Silvario’s family is now coming to weekend worship services and Silvario continues to explore his newfound faith in God among a growing community of peers and mentors who are developing relationships with each other as well as with God.

Tad and Barbara Wulliman are Mission Network associates in the Philippines working with Mennonite Mission Network and Wycliffe Bible Translators.

*Ricky Silvario is a pseudonym.

 

 

 Related

 

 

Youth Venture trip provides mentorship, plants seeds for future serviceYouth Venture/SOOP hybridhttps://www.mennonitemission.net/news/4706/Youth-Venture-trip-provides-mentorship-plants-seeds-for-future-serviceYouth Venture trip provides mentorship, plants seeds for future serviceGP0|#52c46992-a072-4af3-b006-834f7e8b9cb1;L0|#052c46992-a072-4af3-b006-834f7e8b9cb1|News;GTSet|#544fcc8d-5de2-49c8-9d51-afee09323476Kykotsmovi, Arizona
Bokgoni Sporting Club offers a better future through recreational sportsBokgoni Sporting Clubhttps://www.mennonitemission.net/news/4705/Bokgoni-Sporting-Club-offers-a-better-future-through-recreational-sportsBokgoni Sporting Club offers a better future through recreational sportsGP0|#52c46992-a072-4af3-b006-834f7e8b9cb1;L0|#052c46992-a072-4af3-b006-834f7e8b9cb1|News;GTSet|#544fcc8d-5de2-49c8-9d51-afee09323476Francistown
New legal office to offer immigration justiceLa Posadahttps://www.mennonitemission.net/news/4702/New-legal-office-to-offer-immigration-justiceNew legal office to offer immigration justiceGP0|#52c46992-a072-4af3-b006-834f7e8b9cb1;L0|#052c46992-a072-4af3-b006-834f7e8b9cb1|News;GTSet|#544fcc8d-5de2-49c8-9d51-afee09323476Elkhart, Indiana
Mission Network welcomes new directorsNews Releasehttps://www.mennonitemission.net/news/4703/Mission-Network-welcomes-new-directorsMission Network welcomes new directorsGP0|#52c46992-a072-4af3-b006-834f7e8b9cb1;L0|#052c46992-a072-4af3-b006-834f7e8b9cb1|News;GTSet|#544fcc8d-5de2-49c8-9d51-afee09323476
MVS gathering in San Francisco is a time of connection, comradery and cable carsMVShttps://www.mennonitemission.net/news/4697/MVS-gathering-in-San-Francisco-is-a-time-of-connection-comradery-and-cable-carsMVS gathering in San Francisco is a time of connection, comradery and cable carsGP0|#52c46992-a072-4af3-b006-834f7e8b9cb1;L0|#052c46992-a072-4af3-b006-834f7e8b9cb1|News;GTSet|#544fcc8d-5de2-49c8-9d51-afee09323476San Francisco, California
Mission worker practiced hospitality on three continentsRemembering Wilma Shankhttps://www.mennonitemission.net/news/4694/Mission-worker-practiced-hospitality-on-three-continentsMission worker practiced hospitality on three continentsGP0|#52c46992-a072-4af3-b006-834f7e8b9cb1;L0|#052c46992-a072-4af3-b006-834f7e8b9cb1|News;GTSet|#544fcc8d-5de2-49c8-9d51-afee09323476
EMS students participate in Youth Venture Civil Rights Learning TourEMS and Youth Venturehttps://www.mennonitemission.net/news/4692/EMS-students-participate-in-Youth-Venture-Civil-Rights-Learning-TourEMS students participate in Youth Venture Civil Rights Learning TourGP0|#52c46992-a072-4af3-b006-834f7e8b9cb1;L0|#052c46992-a072-4af3-b006-834f7e8b9cb1|News;GTSet|#544fcc8d-5de2-49c8-9d51-afee09323476
Climate change concerns should not keep Anabaptists from experiencing PentecostClimate change and MWChttps://www.mennonitemission.net/news/4689/Climate-change-concerns-should-not-keep-Anabaptists-from-experiencing-PentecostClimate change concerns should not keep Anabaptists from experiencing PentecostGP0|#52c46992-a072-4af3-b006-834f7e8b9cb1;L0|#052c46992-a072-4af3-b006-834f7e8b9cb1|News;GTSet|#544fcc8d-5de2-49c8-9d51-afee09323476
French-language Anabaptist justice and peace curriculum takes shapeFrench-language curriculumhttps://www.mennonitemission.net/news/4687/French-language-Anabaptist-justice-and-peace-curriculum-takes-shapeFrench-language Anabaptist justice and peace curriculum takes shapeGP0|#52c46992-a072-4af3-b006-834f7e8b9cb1;L0|#052c46992-a072-4af3-b006-834f7e8b9cb1|News;GTSet|#544fcc8d-5de2-49c8-9d51-afee09323476
Mission worker embodied gospel of peaceRemembering John Driverhttps://www.mennonitemission.net/news/4686/Mission-worker-embodied-gospel-of-peace-Mission worker embodied gospel of peaceGP0|#52c46992-a072-4af3-b006-834f7e8b9cb1;L0|#052c46992-a072-4af3-b006-834f7e8b9cb1|News;GTSet|#544fcc8d-5de2-49c8-9d51-afee09323476
Ukrainian students in Lithuania join relief effortsLithuaniahttps://www.mennonitemission.net/news/4684/Ukrainian-students-in-Lithuania-join-relief-effortsUkrainian students in Lithuania join relief effortsGP0|#52c46992-a072-4af3-b006-834f7e8b9cb1;L0|#052c46992-a072-4af3-b006-834f7e8b9cb1|News;GTSet|#544fcc8d-5de2-49c8-9d51-afee09323476Klaipéda
Mission Network sends aid for Ukrainian studentsNews Releasehttps://www.mennonitemission.net/news/4682/Mission-Network-sends-aid-for-Ukrainian-studentsMission Network sends aid for Ukrainian studentsGP0|#52c46992-a072-4af3-b006-834f7e8b9cb1;L0|#052c46992-a072-4af3-b006-834f7e8b9cb1|News;GTSet|#544fcc8d-5de2-49c8-9d51-afee09323476
How can I be a peace witness in time of war?Ukrainehttps://www.mennonitemission.net/news/4681/How-can-I-be-a-peace-witness-in-time-of-warHow can I be a peace witness in time of war?GP0|#52c46992-a072-4af3-b006-834f7e8b9cb1;L0|#052c46992-a072-4af3-b006-834f7e8b9cb1|News;GTSet|#544fcc8d-5de2-49c8-9d51-afee09323476
Mission worker lived God’s love on three continentsWomen's History Monthhttps://www.mennonitemission.net/news/4680/Mission-worker-lived-Gods-love-on-three-continentsMission worker lived God’s love on three continentsGP0|#52c46992-a072-4af3-b006-834f7e8b9cb1;L0|#052c46992-a072-4af3-b006-834f7e8b9cb1|News;GTSet|#544fcc8d-5de2-49c8-9d51-afee09323476
LCC International University responds to Russia’s invasion of UkraineUkrainehttps://www.mennonitemission.net/news/4675/LCC-International-University-responds-to-Russias-invasion-of-UkraineLCC International University responds to Russia’s invasion of UkraineGP0|#52c46992-a072-4af3-b006-834f7e8b9cb1;L0|#052c46992-a072-4af3-b006-834f7e8b9cb1|News;GTSet|#544fcc8d-5de2-49c8-9d51-afee09323476Klaipèda

 

 



 

 

Youth Venture trip provides mentorship, plants seeds for future servicehttps://www.mennonitemission.net/news/4706/Youth-Venture-trip-provides-mentorship-plants-seeds-for-future-serviceYouth Venture trip provides mentorship, plants seeds for future serviceYouth Venture/SOOP hybrid
Bokgoni Sporting Club offers a better future through recreational sportshttps://www.mennonitemission.net/news/4705/Bokgoni-Sporting-Club-offers-a-better-future-through-recreational-sportsBokgoni Sporting Club offers a better future through recreational sportsBokgoni Sporting Club
Stir Up Peace webinar with Sarah and Jonathan Nahar on the nonviolent direct action video serieshttps://www.mennonitemission.net/resources/peace/stir-up-peace/4704/Stir-Up-Peace-webinar-on-the-nonviolent-direct-action-video-series-with-Sarah-and-Jonathan-NaharStir Up Peace webinar with Sarah and Jonathan Nahar on the nonviolent direct action video seriesLive event
New legal office to offer immigration justicehttps://www.mennonitemission.net/news/4702/New-legal-office-to-offer-immigration-justiceNew legal office to offer immigration justiceLa Posada
Nuevas formas de ser iglesiahttps://www.mennonitemission.net/video/4701/Nuevas-formas-de-ser-iglesiaNuevas formas de ser iglesiaLa Conferencia Sent 2022
Mission Network welcomes new directorshttps://www.mennonitemission.net/news/4703/Mission-Network-welcomes-new-directorsMission Network welcomes new directorsNews Release