Harvest in the Philippines

in Winter 2015   |
Published on 01/14/2015   |
3 min

God’s dreams are often larger than our own. AMEN’s trip to the Philippines is a great example of how God will take our seemingly small efforts and use them toward His greater purpose. When AMEN mobilized a team to respond to the typhoon in the Philippines last November, we didn’t realize that God had more planned for us than doing just disaster relief. Ten months later, we are celebrating the fact that His plan was better than ours.

During AMEN’s initial medical-relief trip to the Philippines, we hired a Filipino Bible worker, Joseph Penticase, to remain in the coastal town of Dulag, where our team had served. Here we held a clinic, provided health education, distributed relief resources, and hosted VBS and church services. Previously, this impoverished town had little exposure to the gospel or the Seventh-day Adventist message.

Due to a motorcycle accident, Joseph has the use of his left arm only, but he doesn’t let his disability slow him down. Within weeks of his arrival, he was studying with dozens of eager Bible students, who also started meeting for church on Sabbath. As AMEN followed their progress, it became clear that we needed to return to support the efforts in Dulag.

In May, we returned to Dulag, partnering once again with the Guam Adventist Clinic and Filipino church members from various provinces. Although six months had passed since the typhoon, the town was still languishing. Homes made of tarps, scrap wood, and metal sheeting housed families covered with torn clothing and disappointed hopes.

On this return trip, our group held clinic for three and a half days in Dulag, providing dental care, minor surgeries, wound care, reading glasses, health education, and other services. We saw over 900 patients. We were also able to minister to the children once again through VBS programs.

The highlight of the trip was the baptismal service on Sabbath. How rewarding to watch ten precious souls dedicate their lives to Jesus and join Dulag’s new little Seventh-day Adventist church. Our hearts were overflowing with praise & thanksgiving as we reflected on what God had done.

After our time in Dulag, we travelled to Sogod, another impoverished coastal town. There we joined an event organized by two Florida churches (Melbourne Filipino and Apopka), partnering with the local Adventist church and the local hospital to host a two-day free clinic that treated 600 patients. We were grateful for the opportunity to work with this group and to build relationships with the Sogod community. In the closing ceremony, the director of the hospital said of the Adventists: “I find this people very nice to be with.”

From Sogod, we travelled to the island of Cebu, where we combined efforts with the Central Visayan Conference to host a large health expo in Cebu City. Thousands of patients attended this two-day event, where we performed dental services and minor surgeries. During this time, our volunteers stayed at an Adventist literature evangelism training school in the city. We politely requested that the cafeteria make vegetarian meals for our team. This request so deeply impacted the school leadership that they decided to stop serving meat for good. We were grateful for this unexpected blessing.

Our mission trip is over; the work in the Philippines is, of course, not. We are thrilled that several of the Filipino church members and medical professionals that we worked with have continued to organize local medical mission events. Since May they have held three clinics in the Philippines to help their fellow citizens. This group continues to identify themselves as AMEN doctors, and they are currently establishing a branch of AMEN in the Philippines.

The work in Dulag continues to move forward as well. Six more people were baptized in June. We are currently raising funds to sponsor Joseph to continue doing Bible work. For just $3,500, we can keep him on and add one more Bible worker for an entire year. We can’t wait to see how God will continue to bless and grow the new little church in Dulag.

Seeing God’s fingerprints in the Philippines has been a wonderful reminder that the master plan for medical missionary work is broader, more effective, and more beautiful than we can even imagine. What a privilege to join Him in this work.

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