Nearly 400 people on Venezuela’s Margarita Island recently received comprehensive medical services thanks to dozens of Seventh-day Adventist medical and health professionals who donated their time and resources during a four-day intervention initiative.
The island, which lies 25 miles (40 kilometers) from the mainland, saw 40 health professionals arrive to care for hundreds of people across 15 Adventist congregations from January 5 to 8, 2022.
The initiative drew dozens of church members and a few of their friends to much-needed medical care in a country struggling with economic challenges.
Free services offered included ophthalmology, gynecology, psychology, dentistry, pediatrics, general medicine, natural medicine, physiotherapy, blood and urine tests, and blood pressure check-ups, as well as talks on disease prevention and the eight natural remedies for a healthier lifestyle.
“This is the first time that we have been able to offer medical services to nearly all of the church membership in a single state, as well as several people in the community,” Elder Rubio, president of the Northeast Venezuela Mission and main organizer of the event, said. It was important to get to the church members and let them know that the church not only cares for their spiritual needs but for their physical and emotional needs as well, Rubio said.
“We wanted them to know that they have a church that loves them and supports them,” he said. Many cannot afford medical services. A tooth extraction can cost US$30.00, and the monthly wage is below that amount, according to Rubio. “Many of the health centers lack medical supplies, and these missionary interventions, all the supplies and medicines were donated to them, and this was so necessary for people there.”
It was the second such initiative led by the Northeast Venezuela Mission. The first one took place last year in Barcelo, where the church mission office is located.
The team of Adventist medical professionals joined a group of professionals on the island during the initiative.
Rubio thanked hotel owners who accommodated the medical team and the municipal authorities for assisting with the coordinated efforts during their visit.
“I have never seen this done in other congregations,” Eva Gamboa Rosas, owner of the Colinas del Sol Hotel, where the medical staff lodged, said. “I hope you come back, because this is a very important work that you are doing to assist so many low-income individuals.”
The initiative also received the support of “Sonrisas para Jesus,” or Smiles for Jesus, a ministry led by layperson Luis Batancur, and the civil protection members who assisted in sanitizing the areas every day.
The medical intervention took more than a month to coordinate, Rubio said, informing the small groups of the upcoming intervention through social media networks.
Plans are to offer medical services in Cumaná and Anaco, both cities in the northeastern part of Venezuela in the coming months, Rubio said.