Bukal Life Care was founded in 2009. Bob and Celia Munson, part of a medical mission organization in the Philippines known as Dakilang Pag-Ibig DIADEM Ministries (DPDM), wanted to do ministry that helped
communities. DPDM’s focus was on medical care and evangelism. The goal of Bukal was towards longer-term partnerships through training and pastoral care primarily. The original name was “Bukal Life Ministries.” Bukal was chosen as a Tagalog word that means “spring,” as in a spring of water. It also was an acronym that defined the intention to minister through partnerships and providing pastoral care.
The name Bukal Life Ministries was first used
in October 2009 for initial partnership with DPDM in doing medical mission work in Pampanga associated with Tropical Storm Ondoy. Soon after Ondoy, however, came Typhoon Pepeng. With that a partnership was developed between Bob and Celia, Joey and Gracia Mercedes, and Angie Gomez to help survivors of this natural catastrophe. The first project was helping police trainees who had been conscripted to recover bodies from a major landslide in Puguis, La Trinidad. Over the next few months several activities were carried out with this group. This included equipment to assist with their recovery activities, a medical mission, and counseling/defusing for these cadets. Additional medical mission work was done in Benguet and La Union in response to the typhoon. The difference from DPDM was that the focus was more on pastoral counseling and crisis diffusing rather than on evangelism.
Soon after Typhoon Pepeng, Chaplain Charlie Benton was sent by the Virginia Baptist Disaster Response. He trained the team in crisis defusing. He also was able to come back a few months later for a longer time to train in this area.
In 2010, Ptr. Joel Aguirre was invited to join the team. Celia was part of a group called Shepherd’s Oikos that was founded in 2009 out of the the Clinical Pastoral Education (CPE) program at Philippine Baptist Theological Seminary, led by Ptr. Joel. The focus of that group was to train church leaders and members in principles of pastoral care and counseling. During this time several others joined the group, including Jehny Pedazo who has been part of Bukal up to the present. In the early months of 2010, we held a meeting of Bukal Life Ministries. At this meeting, it was decided to retire “Shepherd’s Oikos” while the name of Bukal was modified to “Bukal Life Care and Counseling Center.” The name change expressed not only the plan to include with greater intentionality the principles of Clinical Pastoral Education, but also the vision to have exist as a “brick and mortar” entity that people can come to for pastoral counseling. Ptr. Joel was chosen to serve as the Director of this center, and Bob as Administrator. Joel continued to serve in this capacity until 2012.
A small (tiny) office was established for Bukal
at West Baguio Baptist Church. While the office itself was not used that much, a number of trainings (both seminars and CPE units) were held at West Baguio. West Baguio Baptist Church also served as the host for a celebration in October 2010. This celebration had two functions. First it was the first year anniversary celebration for Bukal. It also served as celebration of the incorporation of the group, Bukal Life Care and Counseling Center, Incorporation, in the same month. Dr. Sim Dang-Awan Jr. was the guest speaker for this event, and Joey Mercedes was the first president of the Board of Trustees. Years later, Joey stepped down and Dr. Sim became president, serving until the present.
Pictures counter-clockwise starting in upper-left.
- Chaplain Charlie Benton who came to train our group in Disaster Response chaplaincy and stress defusing
- Disaster Response work in Coron, Tublay. Here we are doing songs and games with children there that were followed by art therapy
- Training activity in community development with Divine Love Cooperative.
- First Anniversary Celebration
- Entry to Seminar at West Baguio
- One of our first CPE groups being held outside of our first office at West Baguio Baptist Church.