AMEN Philippines: The Medical Arm Further and Higher
Published on 03/01/2019 |
I hate snorkeling. Due to very poor eyesight and severe astigmatism, I can’t see under water. Contact lenses don’t fit me, and goggles are useless, so I have never seen fish under water clearly.
Therefore, when organizers from the Philippines AMEN Conference invited me as a speaker, I likened it to someone asking me to go snorkeling: I couldn’t see my going there.
I had doubts and questions. How many people will come? Will it be well organized? Will it be fruitful? How would I deal with a 12-hour time difference or flying almost 18-hours one-way? And what will it be like to be jet-lagged, both in the Philippines and upon my return to the United States?
Despite all the questions, I said, “Yes.” And I’m so glad that I did. The conference was held in Taal Vista Hotel in the city of Tagaytay; it was on top of a mountain overlooking a beautiful lake, an active volcano, and a quaint village surrounded by hills. What a magnificent setting.
Well-organized, the conference was a great success. The roster of great speakers included, from the USA—Dr. Brian Schwartz, Dr. Lyndi Schwartz, Dr. Elizabeth Chung, Dr. Carlos Moretta, Dr. Hedrick Edwards, and Dr. Zeno Charles-Marcel. Also there was Dr. Linda Varona from the Philippines, and Dr. Raymond Tah from Malaysia. Other presenters, including some powerful testimonies from attendees, were all very inspiring as well.
The presentations were woven together in such perfect harmony that it appeared as if we had all talked together ahead of time to assure continuity. From plenary sessions to workshops to testimonies, all presented a biblical picture of God’s inspired plan for medical missionary work.
About 200 delegates from several countries (Philippines, Malaysia, USA, Guam, Zimbabwe, and Hong Kong), plus their families, were in attendance. Delegates included doctors, dentists, optometrists, medical and dental students, nurse practitioners, physician assistants, nurses, pastors, conference officials, hospital administrators, and others.
It was truly a Spirit-filled conference. Without a doubt, I believe everyone who attended was greatly blessed. One such physician is Dr. John Vic Caagbay from Bacolod City in the Philippines. When asked about his experience at the AMEN conference, Dr. Caagbay shared his experience.
“Long before knowing anything about AMEN, my wife and I had been consistently praying for God to show us how we could get more involved in medical ministry”, Caagbay said. “I have been employed as a government physician for the last 12 years, meeting the physical needs of those who are less privileged and needy, yet I felt my purpose as a doctor was incomplete.”
“When a friend, Dr. Elvin Tecson, invited me to the AMEN Philippines Conference, I felt a great urge to attend. I had no idea what AMEN was or what it stood for, but a constant and consistent urging told me ‘you must attend!’
“After listening to the inspiring messages and testimonies, my wife and I agreed that we were incredibly blessed. We are so grateful we heeded the voice that prompted us to attend the AMEN Conference.
Now we understand that our purpose is not limited only to alleviating the physical needs of our patients, but we must go further and higher by sharing with them the grace of Jesus that brings the greatest healing to the body and soul.”
Like Dr. Caagbay, I was personally blessed. As I attended the conference, our mission became clearer to me. The Great Physician’s work of temporal healing on this earth was and is for eternal purposes. Therefore our work must be as well. As we seek to extend God’s re-creating, transforming power over both the physical and spiritual aspects of humanity, we are commissioned to unify medical and pastoral lines, just as the Good Teacher commanded His disciples. In the sacred privilege of ministering to our neighbor, we accept the call of the Divine Missionary to work as He worked, blending both gospel and medical evangelism.
I came home energized, ready to lead more people to Christ and definitely more dedicated to serve our Savior. I may have been physically jet-lagged, but Jesus gave me true rest and peace.
Prior to going to the conference, two of my colleagues and I went to the Philippine island of Palawan, one of the most beautiful places to visit in the world. We went snorkeling, and for the first time in my life, I clearly saw that there are fish in the ocean; my goggles had prescription lenses!
At first, I couldn’t see the usefulness of going to the AMEN Philippines conference, but now I clearly see that there are millions of fish to be caught there. I praise God that I heeded His call and played a small part as a fisher of men.
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