The Seventh-day Adventist Church in Malaysia (MAUM) hosted a landmark event that brought together health experts, advocates, and educators from the Southern Asia-Pacific Division region (SSD). The theme of the Adventist Health Professionals Summit 2023, held in Kuching, was, “Missioning in the 21st Century: Bridging Health Mission and Evidence-Based Practice.” More than 120 delegates from various regions attended this yearly gathering, including some from Vietnam, Thailand, Indonesia, Bangladesh, Brunei, the Philippines, and Malaysia.
The Adventist Health Professionals Summit opened on August 14 with Sim Kui Hian, Sarawak minister of public health, housing, and local government, officiating the event. Adventist leaders from the General Conference, the Southern-Asia Pacific Division, MAUM, the Peninsular Malaysia Mission, the Sabah Mission, and the Sarawak Mission attended the ceremony.
SSD health director Lalaine Alfanoso emphasized the need of gleaning best practices and diverse views to assisting vulnerable populations in the church and society. With a sense of purpose in their hearts, summit attendees engaged in discussions that mixed faith with evidence-based methods, generating a learning and growing atmosphere.
Renewed Commitment to Medical Ministry
The summit ended with a commitment service that resonated with the key elements of Adventist faith. Abner Dizon, SSD director of Interfaith Services for Muslim, Secular, and Postmodern Ministries, encouraged delegates to extend their contribution beyond their medical responsibilities. Highlighting Adventist Church co-founder Ellen G. White’s teachings, he said, “Prayer is essential, but we must also pray to send out dedicated workers.” Dizon passionately urged medical personnel to take on the role of medical missionaries within their various areas, using their knowledge as a conduit to communicate Christ’s message to the people they serve.
As the echoes of Dizon’s impassioned call lingered, it became clear that the Adventist Health Professionals Summit wanted to instill not only information but also a profound sense of purpose, leaders said. MAUM health ministries director Jane Yap said she hopes the summit’s impact will last. “Our mission field is vast, and laborers are few,” she said. “My prayer is that the delegates leave here fired up to serve God through their chosen vocations. This gathering is a platform for all medical missionaries to forge a united front.”
Notably, the summit witnessed a rise in church members’ participation in personal and public evangelistic outreach programs. This surge in participation corresponded perfectly with the Adventist principle of Total Member Involvement, a world church initiative to get every church member involved in mission. The summit’s talks and exchanges sought to strengthen the integration of faith-based principles with evidence-based methods, offering a harmonious approach to wholistic well-being and spiritual outreach, leaders said.
“As Adventist health professionals attempt to bridge the gap between various views on health practices, the summit’s legacy is expected to produce a ripple effect of positive change,” they said.