For AdventHealth, a New Year Means New Opportunities for Helping Others

Through its Global Missions team, the organization is changing lives around the world.

AdventHealth News, and Adventist Review
For AdventHealth, a New Year Means New Opportunities for Helping Others
AdventHealth team members traveled to Ecuador in 2023 to provide medical services to two communities. [Photo: AdventHealth Global Missions]

For the Global Missions team at AdventHealth health system based in Florida, United States, a new year brings with it the promise of life-changing adventures — for team members, volunteers, and patients.

As mission trips ramp up in 2024 and additional countries are added to the list of 14 “footprint” locations, one thing is certain: the work ahead will be built on the globe-spanning efforts of all that was accomplished in 2023. This included adding the Angelia Adventist Clinic in Kyiv, Ukraine, as an official footprint. Relief efforts there are focused on providing emergency medical services and refugee support.

In the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, “as the world resumed full activities in 2023, our Global Missions’ work was also able to resume full speed,” Monty Jacobs, director of AdventHealth Global Missions, said. “Working in collaboration with our ‘footprint’ hospitals in different countries, we expanded the delivery of health care to those in need in accomplishing our organizational mission to extend the healing ministry of Christ.”

Whether it was a patient in the Philippines who was able to get surgery that was otherwise unaffordable, a mother with a sick child in Honduras who was able to get a diagnosis and medicines for her child, or schoolchildren in Ethiopia who were able to attend school in new classrooms, Jacobs said, “all of these things make our efforts worthwhile. The appreciation that we received for doing relatively simple things continues to inspire us to do more.”

Building on the 2023 Trips

In 2023, more than 300 volunteers — providers, nurses, support staff, and others — were inspired to give of their time and talents on 23 mission trips, providing caring and compassionate hands-on aid in underserved communities throughout the world.

As one of those volunteers, Shelby Houmann, communications specialist and events coordinator for AdventHealth Global Missions, reflected on her trip as part of a six-person pediatric residency team that traveled to Villa Maria del Triunfo in Peru in support of Operation Sunshine, an initiative that began in 2014 in Haiti to improve health care for children and last year expanded to include Peru.

“I feel blessed to have been able to go on that trip and see the work in action,” Houmann said. “I’ve heard about it, and I’ve fundraised for it, but I’ve never gotten to participate in the trip. It was well worth it. It’s really rewarding work.”

While 20 mission trips are currently planned, leaders expect that more will be added as communities’ needs crystallize for AdventHealth team members working alongside them.

In ways much like the recent donation of 40 hospital beds to Jamaica, the generous support of AdventHealth team members and other donors helps transform the delivery of whole-person health care in footprint communities in myriad other ways. In 2023, these included

  • funding for a new CT scanner and digital X-ray machine in Ecuador
  • supporting a nursing program by helping renovate a simulation lab and providing scholarships for top nursing students in the Philippines
  • donating a cardiac catheter lab in the Dominican Republic
  • expanding and improving the school at Kalala Learning Village in Ethiopia
  • completing renovations to the Scheer Memorial Adventist Hospital’s operating suite in Nepal
  • and funding much-needed hospital renovations and shipping hospital beds to Mugonero Adventist Hospital in Rwanda

“As we look forward to 2024, we are excited about projects like a new CT scanner for Nepal, the installation of an MRI unit in Jamaica, and 30 medical mission trips to a host of different countries,” Jacobs said. “We are continuing to build new relationships, and we look forward to welcoming Mexico and Kenya to our list of countries where we are working.”

Jacobs added, “Together, we can live our mission and bring whole-person care to people around the world.”

The original version of this story was posted on the AdventHealth news site.

AdventHealth News, and Adventist Review