More than three years after its last health summit, which was held in Taiwan, the Southern Asia-Pacific Division (SSD) Health Department held its annual gathering in Legazpi, Bicol Region, Philippines, August 23-25, 2022.
Representatives from the division’s fourteen countries attended the meeting with the goal to fellowship and learn new trends in health ministry. More than 200 delegates, including health directors, professors, and medical practitioners, attended the meeting to convene with their counterparts and reinforce networks among health missionaries.
Adventist Health Ministries director Peter Landless opened the summit with a devotional thought about following the example that Jesus’ left for His people. Landless highlighted Jesus’ ministry of healing and what the church attempts to do to follow it. “Health ministry is a powerful opportunity to bring the message of salvation to people longing for hope and salvation,” Landless said.
The three-day summit covered topics such as modern scientific discoveries and their connection to Scriptures; medical practitioners as lifestyle evangelists; the call for medical missionary involvement; global public health issues; and the need for comprehensive ministry. Speakers specializing in various medical fields shared key points about their area of expertise and its relation to health ministries.
“This summit ignited the zeal, passion, and commitment of the health professionals,” SSD health ministries director Lalaine Alfanoso said. “Whatever may betide, whatever may befall, medical missionaries will press on and carry the task of touching lives through the healing ministry of Jesus.”
Alfanoso reminded participants that for the past two years, many people experienced so much illness and mental distress. “As health professionals, we should carry the task of touching lives through the healing ministries. This summit is the venue wherein we get different ideas and strategies on how we could accomplish it,” she said. “Minister to the lost, last, and least, and encourage them to achieve optimum health and share the greatest hope above all, and that is Jesus.”
Jan-Harry Cabungcal, lecturer and neuroscientist from Vulliens, Switzerland, discussed neurodevelopment in children and how crucial it is that the physical, moral, and character molding begins in infancy. “Parents play a vital role in imprinting a Christ-like character in a child’s mind and heart,” he said. “Early intervention by parents should be taken seriously, with an understanding that a kid’s personality will depend on a parent’s dedication and focus on bringing the best out of their children.”
He added that the latest discoveries on health are just scratching the surface of what the writings of church co-founder Ellen White have already been teaching. “The Spirit of Prophecy [Ellen White’s writings] speaks not only about medical intervention but how a holistic approach to health can benefit individuals,” Cabungcal said.
The summit also sought to acknowledge medical practitioners from across the SSD. They have been on the frontline of medical missionary work in their territories, Alfanoso said as she handed out certificates of appreciation to outstanding medical missionaries.
Leaders called participants to use the knowledge they received at the summit to bless others. “Multiply its results by sharing this knowledge in their spheres of influence,” they said.