Medical Mission Takes Off Again

Guam SDA Clinic visits Palau and Rota

Now that all the islands in the region have reopened to visitors, they are also welcoming back medical missionaries. Prior to the pandemic, the last mission trip by a medical team of the Guam Seventh-day Adventist Clinic was in November 2019. They traveled to Yap in the Federated States of Micronesia to provide primary care. The return to missions began in November 2022 when the clinic’s eye care team went to the Republic of Palau, followed by a recent medical and dental trip to Rota in the U.S. territory of Northern Mariana Islands (CNMI) in January 2023.

Dr. Jeffrey Ing exams a patient's eyes

The mission trips included various missionary activities. During the trip to Palau, I was asked to conduct a week-long evening seminar that would address topics relevant to the Palauan population’s health needs. 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, had its engine stopped prematurely, which led to its demise. In a similar matter, if one does not take care of one’s heart, they can experience premature heart failure.

Elena Taneva presents nightly series at the Koror SDA Church in Palau

The same applies to the spiritual life. The steering wheel of the famous Teshio Maru fleet oiler of the Imperial Japanese Navy was damaged during the Desacre 1 WWII attack and the ship was made unnavigable. It was taken by the currents until crushed by the Rael Edeng reef.It is important to be able to place the steering wheel in the hands of the Master Captain of our life and to let go of our control in order to enjoy good spiritual health.

Dental procedures were provided

Much needed health care was provided on the 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.

Consultations provided to members in the communities

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.

Tearsa DeBardeleben, registered dietitian, gives health education to students of local schools on Rota

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

Tina Heinrich, PA demonstrates exercises at senior center on Rota

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

Informational presentation on the benefits of local vegetables by Rota member Katy

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.

"Our watchword is to be, Onward, ever onward. The angels of God will go before us to prepare the way. Our burden for the “regions beyond” can never be laid down until the whole earth shall be lightened with the glory of the Lord." (Ellen G. White, CET 223.4)
The medical and pastoral team visiting Rota
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