What happens when people with different backgrounds come together around a vision to see communities transformed? When leaders work together — can people find healing? Around the world — people and communities are longing for sustainable change. Cycles of poverty and systemic issues hold them back, but the story doesn’t end there.

Here’s the truth: real change is possible. It happens when people in a community are united around a shared vision and empowered by a Catalyst to work together.

With strategies that follow the ways of Jesus — a vision for a better future is formed. As that community begins to work together — meeting its own needs from within, lasting change begins. Here’s a story showing exactly that from a Catalyst named Shannon and his wife Nelia, serving together in the Philippines — within a community called Bayugan 2 (Bayugan Dos).

“Walking into Bayugan 2 is an incredible experience. You’ll notice a lot, from the houses that melt away into the jungle to the sounds of cars traveling down the paved road in the center of town — but the most important thing is the people. The people here are incredible — friendly, kind, and willing to invite you into their lives from the moment you first meet. It’s incredible to enter into someone’s home and be offered a meal that represents what that family would normally eat in a week. It’s their way of showing that you are valuable to them, that you matter. That’s the kind of generosity that we encounter every day.

In a place with that much generosity, it can be difficult to see needs that are going unmet. Over a third of the people in Bayugan 2 are currently living below the poverty line. Families just barely get by with so few jobs available. Classrooms are overcrowded, and many children come to school hungry each morning. Many kids will drop out after the 7th grade to work and help support their families.

But we see hope when people work together to bring change and begin to use their strengths to make a difference.


One great example is the issue of water in Bayugan 2. Though we get over 20 feet of rain per year, clean water is in short supply. Currently, water is sourced from small wells throughout the city. Each well provides for 50 families, but right now 200 families share each one.

When we first moved here, it was clear that this was an issue that the community could work together to solve. So, we spoke with everyone connected to the project across the community. The town council and partners from the US provided funding for the wells, and members of the local community have given time and resources.

As of today, the first half of construction is complete. Already, more wells are serving the community and others will be finalized soon. All of this was possible because once the community shared a vision for what needed to change, they were able to work together to make that change happen. It’s such a powerful thing to be a part of. 

Over the next few years, we expect to see a lot of growth come to Bayugan 2 — from job skills training to sustainable farming to discipleships groups across the community. That’s the shared vision that is being spread throughout the community — a plan where people with very different backgrounds are brought together. That’s the kind of thing Jesus shows us how to do — reaching the oppressed and invisible around us. It’s that idea of people coming together that sparks real change — and we’re so thankful that your support is allowing that to happen.”

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