New Dorm – Maasin

Faith Chapel Volunteers

from Billings, Montana

transform abandoned building

into a home for deaf children.

Maasin City, Southern Leyte, Philippines, August 21, 2011

Hundreds of deaf children live in isolation in the mountains of Southern Leyte with no chance for an education because of distance and economics.  There is only one practical solution to providing them schooling and that is to bring them down to a Special Education Center and give them a place to live while schooling.  This has been the strategic starting point for an amazing collaborative effort of establishing a dormitory for deaf children in Maasin, Southern Leyte.

The partners in this project are IDEA, Maasin Department of Education, and Faith Chapel of Billings, Montana.  IDEA has provided the road map, coordination and man power, the Department of Education has provided an abandoned building, and Faith Chapel donated $10,000 and sent a team of volunteers to rehab the building.

For the past two years this abandoned building has been used to grow earth worms and produce organic fertilizer.  Although it is a worthwhile project, it was a waste of a very good building.  It was filled to knee high with soil.  On August 9th, a group of 12 Faith Chapel volunteers arrived to take on the challenge of rehabilitating the building.  The first thing they did was to wade into the piles of soil, bag it up and transport it out.  Some of these bags weighed over 100 pounds and this work took place during a rainstorm.  With the roof leaking badly, the soil quickly turned into mud.

IDEA Philippines also sent a team of ten (10) men from its construction group to work side by side with the American volunteers.  Most of the men on the IDEA team are deaf and former students under IDEA’s education program.

The entire roof and ceiling of the building needed to be replaced so a group of women on the Montana team were tasked with painting 150 sheets of plywood.  With all the mud and paint flying around the work site, by the end of the second day the Montana Team had earned the title of  “THE DIRTY DOZEN”.

                     THE DIRTY DOZEN                                  Chip Crees and Ron Todd

This post is being put up on August 21st and the teams are still working on the building rehab project.  The work is being documented by professional videographer, Mark Hanson from Faith Chapel so additional post will be up soon on the continuing progress of the team.

                       Painting Crew                        Mark Hanson ready for rain

You can follow the blogs from one team member at

Mark Hanson has put up some short videos about the team’s work and experiences in Maasin.  Check it out by clicking on the words “MOVIE”





August 21, 2011

The Faith Chapel team headed back to the U.S. last night leaving Manila about 10:00PM.  Although they had to be exhausted after the incredible week of work they put in on the new dormitory, they were in remarkably good spirits.  As Ron put it, this rather eclectic group had really become a team and he gave all the credit to Jesus.

It was unclear from the beginning of the work on the dorm as to how extensive the renovation was to be.  It was only after the ceilings came down, the old roof taken off, and wall panels removed that they could see the termite damage.  It turned out to be significant.  Additional trusses had to be made and walls replaced.  Despite these additional tasks, the team saw 2/3rds of the work on the dorm completed before they had to leave.  The two bedrooms, boy’s and girl’s sides, were clearly defined as well as the kitchen / dining area and the living room area.  All the ceilings and walls were in place as well as all the electrical lines were installed.  Oh, and we should NOT forget the removal of nearly 8 tons of garbage and soil from the inside and out side of the building.

IDEA’s work crew will now finish up the work on the dorm in hopefully about 10 more days.

                         Boy’s Bedroom                                   Girl’s Bedroom

Final Group Shot On Last Day In Maasin

   Mark catches the action on video                  The group starts the trip home.


A well earned rest on the outrigger boat to Bohol Island.