Tuesday, December 9, 2014

KMMC Welder Hopes to Become a Pastor

Nestor Siddayao shares his testimony at the dedication of
the new Payatas Community Center in Quezon City.
Photo courtesy of  Roselyne Ko & Therese Keirulf of WTRC.

Note:  In 2013, 26 men from urban poor communities in Quezon City were given a month’s training in masonry and carpentry through Sipag 2, a project of the Center for Community Transformation (CCT) Group of Ministries and the Wholistic Transformation Resource Center.  The men are husbands, sons, sons-in-law, and nephews of community partners (recipients of microfinance loans) of CCT Credit Cooperative (CCT Co-op) branches in Batasan, Payatas, Commonwealth and Bagong Silangan. They range in age from 20 to 55 and are a mix of grade school undergraduates, high school undergraduates and college undergraduates. 

Twenty-four of the men passed assessment by the Technical Education Development Authority (TESDA)and received Level 2 National Certification from the agency.  “This assures them of easier acceptance at construction-related jobs, since employers often seek TESDA skills certification from applicants,” said Goldy Valdellon, of the CCT Co-op. “The men are actually experienced workers but the training gave them knowledge of masonry and carpentry terms that will boost their confidence when talking with foremen, engineers, and architects.”

The men were then invited to help build the CCT's Payatas Community Center and were fully employed during the 11-month construction period. During this time their spiritual lives were also  nurtured by CCT staff and pastors.  During the dedication of the community center, one of the men, a welder, told of a desire and calling to be a pastor.  Here is his story, in his own words: 

Ako po si Brother Nestor Siddayao, member ng CCT Sipag 2 KMMC*, 51 years old, may asawa at anim na anak.

I am Brother Nestor Siddayao, 51, married with six children, and a member of the  CCT Sipag 2 Kaibigang Maaasahan Multi-purpose Cooperative (KMMC)*.

Bago ako dinala ng Panginoon sa CCT Sipag 2 KMMC, wala po akong regular na trabaho. Noong panahong iyon ay kung kailan lang ako tawagin para sa aking pagseserbisyo, saka lang ako makakapagtrabaho. Hirap na hirap kami noon. Kinukulang sa pangangailangan sa buhay. Ang ganitong kalagayan ko noon ay nagiging dahilan ng hindi pagkakaunawaan sa aming tahanan.

I did not have a regular job before the Lord brought me to CCT Sipag 2 KMMC. I had work  only if someone called for my services. It was a very difficult time for my family.  We never had enough of what we needed.  This led to misunderstandings at home.

Ang pinakapangunahing dahilan kung bakit ako nahikayat na sumapi sa CCT Sipag 2 KMMC, ay ang kagustuhan ko na makatapos ng pag-aaral ng kahit simpleng bokasyon. Ibig kong maranasan makatanggap ng kasanayan at diploma. Dahil mula pa sa pagkabata, ibig kong maging isang arkitekto. Hanggang sa may edad na ako ngayon, ito pa rin ang nasa puso ko. Subalit matupad man ito o hindi ang Diyos lamang ang nakakaalam ng tanging pinakamabuti sa akin.

The main reason I became interested in joining CCT Sipag 2 KMMC was my desire to study and have a simple vocation.  I wanted to earn a diploma, because from my youth, I’ve wanted to become an architect. I may be already past my prime but this desire is still in my heart.  And whether or not this dream comes true, God knows what is best for me. 

Malaki ang naging kaibahan ng kalagayan ko noon kaysa ngayon: bagaman hindi kami naging mayaman dito sa CCT, nakatagpo naman ako ng kayamanang kailanman di lilipas. Ito ang Salita Ng Diyos. Dahil dito, napansin ko na hindi nagkukulang ang Diyos mula ng mahalin ko ang kanyang mga Salita. Malaki ang nabago sa pag-uugali ko sa pagsali ko sa CctSipagKmmc. Dati mapagmataas ako. Ayaw kong sinasabihan ako. Subalit ngayon, tinuruan ako ng Diyos na magpakumbaba.

Since then, much has changed in my life and attitudes.  I haven’t grown rich working at CCT, but I have found eternal riches in God’s Word.  I have found that God has never failed me since I began loving His Word.  I used to be proud.  I disliked being reprimanded. The Lord has taught me humility.

Dito rin sa CctSipagKmmc, naranasan ko at naramdaman na ako ay pahalagahan at irespeto bilang manggagawa, bagay na hindi ko naranasan sa ibang construction site.

Also, working here at CCT Sipag KMMC I felt that what I do is of value. I've been given respect as a worker, something I never experienced at other construction sites.
  
Loobin ng Diyos, ibig kong tumugon sa matagal nang sinasabi ng Diyos sa puso at isip ko. Ito ay tawag ng paglilingkod bilang pastor at tagapagturo ng Bibliya. Kung loloobin ng Diyos ay ibabalik niya ako sa sarili kong bayan sa Cagayan upang humayo at gamitin ng Diyos upang ipangaral ang kanyang Magandang Balita ng Kaligtasan. Papuri sa pangalan ng kataas-taasang Diyos. Amen.

I know it is the Lord’s will that I respond to his call.  I know in my heart and mind that  he has been calling me  to be a pastor and teacher of the Bible.  If the Lord wills, He will allow me to return to my home province of Cagayan where He can use me as a preacher of the good news of salvation.  Praise the Name of God on high! Amen. 

*Kaibigang Maaasahan Multi-purpose Cooperative is an organization of transformed street dwellers and skilled workers.  

Thursday, December 4, 2014

Construction Workers Honored at Community Center Dedication


Willy Ada and Nestor Siddayao, construction workers who helped build the Payatas Community
Center;  Geoff Osborne,  Australian lawyer supporting projects to alleviate poverty; and pupils of the
Visions of Hope Christian School cut the ribbon at the facility's dedication on December 2, 2014.
 
Workers who built the Payatas Community Center were honored when the new facility was  dedicated to the Lord recently. Two of the men took part in the ribbon-cutting ceremony and shared their testimonies in the formal program that followed. “Here, I felt that what I do is of value, something I never experienced at other construction sites where I’ve worked,” said Nestor Siddayao, 51, a welder.  
SIPAG 2 and KMMC construction workers sing: "Parang
 kailan lang, ang mga pangarap ko'y kay hirap abutin. Dahil
sa inyo napunta ako aking dapat marating. Nais ko kayong
pasalamatan kahit man lang sa awitin."
Photo: Roselyne Ko & Therese Keirulf of WTRC

The men who built the newest community center of the Center for Community  Transformation (CCT) Group of Ministries are members of either SIPAG 2, a program that provides unemployed or underemployed men with construction skills training, or of the Kaibigang Maaasahan Multi-purpose Cooperative, an organization of skilled workers, many of whom are transformed former street dwellers. They sang a song of gratefulness during the dedication program.   

Geoff Osborne of Wholistic Transformation Resource Center, major supporter of the SIPAG II program and visionary for the Payatas Community Center, told the construction workers that they are “chosen by God to be forerunners of men in the Philippines,” and challenged them to be courageous.  

“Because you know Jesus, the Light of the world, you are also lights to the world. This country needs men who will be courageous, who will take the place God has for them in their family, church and community.”   He explained that while visiting communities in the Philippines, Asia and Africa, he has always asked himself, “Where are the men?”  He expressed hope that CCT community servant leaders in the future will not just be almost entirely women, but will have many men as well.

Also attending the ceremony were board members, management and staff representing the programs and services offered by CCT, WTRC board members and staff, microfinance recipients and community servant leaders of the CCT Credit Cooperative,  pupils of the Visions of Hope Christian School, and Arch.Manny Dacanay and engineers of the M.C. Dacanay Architectural Design Office. WTRC is the main partner of CCT for the construction of the community center.

Ruth Callanta, CCT president and founder, recalled how ministry to poor residents of Quezon City began, and challenged CCT staff on three points.  She said, “First, we pray all who come to this place will find rest in the Lord Jesus Christ – so everyone who comes here should be prayed for.  Second, we should not forget to be thankful, to always remember that this facility was not built with our own efforts but by the grace of God.  Our hearts should always be grateful for what God has done, what God is doing, and what God will still do.  Third, because we see God’s work, we will serve as Jesus served.  Because of His love and grace we cannot help but respond to Him, and because of this, we must serve others the way He served.”

Steve Mahnken, main partner for the newest  CCT
 Waterhope station, cuts the ribbon at its dedication
to the Lord.  Also in photo are Josie Barotilla (left),
WTRC chief financial officer, and Atty. Weena
Mendoza, WTRC executive director.

Photo: Roselyne Ko & Therese Keirulf of WTRC
She also challenged beneficiaries to “show how people in a community center should work.”

A new CCT Waterhope water station was also dedicated to the Lord. The water station will provide clean, affordable drinking water to the surrounding community, and additional income to water dealers and delivery workers. Steve Mahnken, main sponsor for the project, expressed thankfulness for the partnership with CCT. Waterhope is a social enterprise which provides  drinking water to communities where access to this basic human need is challenged.

The new community center has a total floor area of 556 square meters. It houses a clinic, classrooms, the water station, and offices on its ground floor, and a multi-purpose hall and more offices on the second floor. The lower ground floor will be used for storage purposes and as transient quarters for staff.  It is located in Dona Nicasia Subdivision, Barangay Commonwealth, just beyond the boundary between Commonwealth and Barangay Payatas which is home to its main target beneficiaries.  

CCT has been ministering to the poor of Quezon City for about two decades. Its program and services include microfinance, pre-school education, provision of access to government social services, skills training, and spiritual development, among others.  It serves urban and rural poor communities as far north as Abra and as far south as General Santos City.  It also has community centers in Taguig City, Cavite province,  Sarangani province and in 24 other locations in Luzon, Visayas and Mindanao.  
Photo: Roselyne Ko & Therese Keirulf of WTRC.

Geoff Osborne encourages SIPAG 2 and KMMC members
 to be courageous leaders of their families, 
churches and communities. 

Ruth Callanta: "Our hearts should always be grateful
 for what God has done, what God is doing, 

and what God will still do." 
Nestor Siddayao speaks of the transformation 
God has done in his life and of a calling 
to become a pastor in his home province.
Photo: Roselyne Ko & Therese Keirulf of WTRC 

Ruth Callanta and Geoff Osborne with David Bussau,
 founder and president of Wholistic Transformation

 Resource Center, longtime ministry partner of CCT.






Thursday, August 7, 2014

CCT Opens New Community Center in Cavite

CCT President Ruth Callanta and GMA Mayor Walter Echevarria Jr.
cut the ribbon to mark the opening of the CCT Community Center
in GMA, Cavite. 
The CCT  Community Center in General Mariano Alvarez, Cavite, CCT's newest community center, was formally opened and dedicated to the Lord in a joyful celebration on August 3, 2014.

Highlights of the ceremony were an inspiring talk by Ruth Callanta, president and founder of the Center for Community Transformation  Group of Ministries, and a message from God's Word shared by Anjji Gabriel, CCT executive officer.

The occasion was graced by the presence of GMA Mayor Walter Echevarria Jr..  Also taking part in the program were leaders and staff from the various CCT programs and services being offered in GMA, and servant leaders of the Covenant Community Service Cooperative.

Located at CSB Building, Governor's Drive, Baranggay San Gabriel, the new community center offers services in micro finance, savings, spiritual development, skills training, basic medical help, and an after-school program for children called Kinabookasan.  Basic education for pre-school children will also be offered soon.

CCT's community centers are envisioned to be places where community partners will grow in their spiritual walk with God as they fellowship with other believers, serve others, and evangelize and disciple fellow community partners and other community members. CCT also has community centers in Pasay City,Taguig City, in Batasan and Payatas in Quezon City, in Magdalena, Laguna, in Malungon, Saranggani, and in several poor communities across the country.

The town of General Mariano Alvarez, more known by its acronym GMA, used to be  part of the municipality of Carmona, Cavite.  During the late 60s it became a resettlement site for informal dwellers relocated from Quezon City and, for flood and fire victims  from Quezon City, Makati, and Manila in the early 70s. It was inaugurated as a town in 1981.  Today it has 27 barangays,  a population of 139,000, and is recognized as a first-class municipality.

Mayor Echevarria chats with Ruth Callanta and with
Lyn and Angelito Gabriel before the dedication

ceremony begins. 
Staff and guests sing the well-loved Filipino Christian
song Dakilang Katapatan.
A dedication prayer is read in the community center's
receiving area. 

Photos: Ralph Parado 

Friday, October 25, 2013

TEE Attendees Visit Taguig Community Center

Participants in the Transformative Economic Empowerment training session held  October 2013
listen as Shiera Ondangan(above, right) and Pastor Ruel Castino (below, in brown shirt)
 talk about the programs and services offered by CCT at its community center in Taguig. 

Micro finance workers from  nine different countries visited the Center for Community Transformation (CCT)  Group of Ministries  community center  in Taguig City as part of their learning activities during the third Transformative Economic Empowerment (TEE) training session held in October 2013. The visit allowed the TEE participants to talk with staff and beneficiaries about the programs and services offered by the community center. 
  
The TEE attendees are from Sri Lanka,  Peru, India, Moldova, Zambia, Kenya, Thailand, Uganda, and the US. The weeklong training session they attended was a collaborative activity of CCT and the CCT Ka-Partner Network, a consortium of US-based organizations ministering to the poor through partnership with MF institutions or churches in other countries. The members of the CCT Ka-Partner Network are Hope International, Peer Servants, endPoverty, and Five Talents. 

The Taguig Community Center offers micro finance services, pre-school education, basic medical check ups, and Brigada Bata training.  Worship services of the CCT-Taguig community church are also held there. 

CCT branch offices throughout the country which at the moment simply offer micro finance services will gradually be converted into community centers over the next several years.    



Thursday, October 11, 2012

Taguig Community Center Turns One


Partners and beneficiaries of the Center for Community Transformation Community Center in Taguig City celebrated the center's first anniversary with a joyful gathering at the Tagaytay Retreat and Training Center in August. The celebration, joined by nearly 200 micro finance partners, Brigada Bata members, pre-school students, and staff included  times of worship, sharing of talents, and lots of games.  

Children and adults alike enjoyed the group and individual games which occupied much of the day.  Many of the games were  traditional Filipino games like patintero, tumbang preso, luksong lubid, sipa and sungka.   

Two programs were held during the evening.  The first was a praise and worship event with Rev. Joel Indico, national director of Child Evangelism Fellowship Philippines, as speaker.  The second program was composed of talent offerings from students of the Visions of Hope Christian School and from  all the micro finance fellowship groups.  Outstanding community partners were recognized and winners in the games were awarded toward the close of the evening. 

After a restful night, personal devotions, and breakfast, a group devotion was held with Pastor Ruel Castino as speaker, before everyone headed home, happy over the warm Christian fellowship shared.   

The event was held on August 17 - 18, 2012.  










Friday, August 3, 2012

PARTNERS' DAY IN BATASAN




Micro finance partners with the CCT Savings and Credit Cooperative branch in Batasan, Quezon City had a grand time celebrating the 20th anniversary of the Center for Community Transformation in a special program held on July 20, 2012 at the Barangay Fairveiw Covered Court on Dahlia St., Quezon City.  

The pictures below show highlights of the celebration which included a message based on Isaiah 6, special dance numbers from several fellowship groups, a  Best in Filipiniana competition, recognition of community members who have been with the co-op for more than five years, and oath taking of the new Cooperative Volunteer Development Council officers and members. 
Ice-breaker: Leron-leron sinta. 

Praise and worship
Scripture reading:

Pastor Jake Ricardo introduces the guest speaker.

Dr. Rico Geronimo, guest speaker, shares a message on
Isaiah 6:1 - 8, Kabanalang Walang Hanggan
Staff render a special number.

Sister Norma Languing makes an
exhortation on giving. 







Participants in the Best in Filipiniana competion














Here and next photo: Fellowship 41 and 42 perform the Salakot dance 



Photos and reporting: Michelle Taway