Medical Mission Takes Off Again on Micronesia Islands

Guam Seventh-day Adventist Clinic visits Palau and Rota after the pandemic hiatus.

Elena Taneva, Guam-Micronesia Mission, and North American Division News
<strong>Medical Mission Takes Off Again on Micronesia Islands</strong>
Jeffrey Ing, part of a medical team of the Guam Seventh-day Adventist Clinic, examines a patient’s eyes during a recent medical mission trip to Palau. [Photo: Elena Taneva]

Now that all the Micronesia islands in the region close to Guam have reopened to visitors, they are also welcoming back medical missionaries.

The return to missions began in November 2022, when the clinic’s eye care team went to the Republic of Palau, followed by a medical and dental trip to Rota in the U.S. territory of the Northern Mariana Islands (CNMI) in January 2023.

Before the pandemic, the last mission trip by a medical team of the Guam Seventh-day Adventist Clinic was in November 2019. A team traveled to Yap in the Federated States of Micronesia to provide primary care.

The trips included a variety of missionary activities. During the trip to Palau, I was asked to conduct a week-long evening seminar addressing topics relevant to the Palauan population’s health needs. During the seminar, entitled “Shipwrecks and health recovery: Are we wrecking our health or are we rebuilding our ships?”, we navigated through health topics using the stories of famous Palauan shipwrecks and what led to their destiny. The famous Jake seaplane wreck, for example, occurred because the seaplane’s engine stopped after it took off. Likewise, if one does not take care of one’s heart, one can experience premature heart failure.

The same applies to the spiritual life. The steering of the famous Teshio Maru fleet oiler of the Imperial Japanese Navy was damaged during Operation Desecrate One, a World War II attack, and the ship was taken by the currents until beached by the Rael Edeng reef. Likewise, it is vital for us to place the steering wheel in the hands of the Master Captain of our life and relinquish control to enjoy good spiritual health.

Much-needed health care was provided on the mission trips. In Palau, the eye team performed numerous eye surgeries. In Rota, dental treatment and medical checkups were provided. Patients were equipped to improve their health through health screening for blood sugar and blood pressure, along with medical, nutritional, and lifestyle consultations.

The trip to Rota was especially encouraging to the two Adventist church members on the island, as the team helped support them in reaching people for the gospel. The goal was to invite patients from the dental and medical clinics to the evening health and evangelistic presentations.

The team visited the primary school and sophomore, junior, and senior classes at the Sinapalo and Songsong schools to teach NEWSTART health principles. The medical team also visited a senior center. There, the visitors played a “Health Bingo” game where, instead of numbers, the names of illnesses and health tips were called out. Everyone seemed to enjoy it!

Everyone who came for optical, dental, medical, and lifestyle counseling was cared for. We also went looking for those who would benefit from our services. We also reached out to the Muslim population in Rota. One missionary strategy we implemented was to take some dog food with us. We were warned not to walk along the streets since the dogs could be quite vicious, but this did not deter our team. We fed many dogs, allowing us to go door to door to help their owners with health care.

With the success of these trips, the clinic looks forward to continuing the ministry of healing with trips to the islands of Saipan and Tinian this spring.

The original version of this story was posted on the Guam-Micronesia Mission news site.

Elena Taneva, Guam-Micronesia Mission, and North American Division News