Southern Asia-Pacific Division (SSD) headquarters workers and their families recently took time from their regular work to take part in mission outreach to an island more than 500 kilometers (300 miles) away. In the town of Taytay, about 170 kilometers (105 miles) northeast of Puerto Princesa, Palawan, Philippines, they brushed chairs and painted schoolrooms, picked up trash from a beach, put up a concrete wall for a local church, gave presentations as resource speakers in several seminars, and manned stations in a large medical outreach.
Wearing light-blue T-shirts with “I AM HERE TO HELP” printed on the back, the 165-strong group that included senior citizens and children stormed the town to do their assigned duties aimed at making downtown Taytay a better place. It was the first mission trip of SSD workers, and the first ever mission outreach of SSD partnering with a local government unit, an Adventist hospital, and an Adventist Mission.
Working With Partners
The chosen dates of May 30 to June 2 coincide with the start of the rainy season in the Philippines, but even the occasional torrential downpours did little to hamper the activities. Adventist Hospital Palawan sent doctors, laboratory equipment, technicians, and medicines for the medical portion of the outreach. The municipal government of Taytay provided coordination, transportation, and security, and the local Palawan Adventist Mission helped in multiple ways to make the mission outreach a success.
“No matter how hopeless life seems to be, there will always be hope in Jesus,”
The medical team served more than 1,700 patients in two days, providing medical, dental, and minor surgical services. During the medical mission, volunteers also offered blood pressure readings, blood glucose examinations, vital signs check, and free over-the-counter medicines. On top of these medical services, patients and guests were invited to a health expo that provided them with additional health information.
Several seminars raised awareness on social responsibility, including the topics of violence against women, help for senior citizens, day-care workers, youth empowerment, children in conflict with the law, and child abuse.
Focused on achieving wholistic service in the community, the SSD team joined with the government’s Brigada Eskwela kickoff. Brigada Eskwela is the government’s program to mobilize the community to help prepare public schools for the start of the school year. The SSD volunteers took part in repainting classrooms and repairing chairs.
As Taytay is locatednear the pristine beaches of Palawan, volunteers spent time along the shores picking up waste material.
They also supported the local Adventist church by giving the finishing touches to the congregation’s perimeter fence.
A mission trip would not be complete without a series of nightly meetings organized by the church to share the good news of hope. Southern Asia-Pacific Division Sabbath School and personal ministries director Hermogenes Villanueva spoke of the greatest hope this world will ever know.
Villanueva stressed the vibrancyof hope that God gives to us freely. “No matter how hopeless life seems to be, there will always be hope in Jesus,” he reminded the people.
After three consecutive nights of fellowship and prayer with the community of Taytay, 59 persons decided to accept Christ as their Savior through baptism.
Church leaders and volunteers on this mission trip are appealing to the worldwide church to pray for these precious new souls. “Pray that they can multiply and reach out to more people in their community, to share the truth they have recently found,” a spokesperson said.
Southern Asia-Pacific Division president Saw Samuel said he was overwhelmed to see that through the collaborativework of all facets of the church’s ministries, many would see Christ working through the volunteers, making change possible in the hearts of those who witnessed it.
“We are so glad to be here in Taytay serving our brothers and sisters,” Samuel said. “We are touched by the friendship and hospitality that was extended to us by this community. All of us are richly blessedby the services and the contribution that God extends to all of you.”
The mission trip culminated in a social gathering celebrated with the community. The social event featured the diverse and culturally rich countries within the division territory.