Stories & Commentaries

Connecting the Pieces

Schley Valencia, born in the Philippines, previously a missionary in the Marshall Islands, is volunteering with Total Health Spokane, a nonprofit ministry in Spokane, Washington.

Schley Valencia at Total Health Spokane

Schley Valencia at Total Health Spokane; photos provided by Office of Volunteer Ministries

Schley Valencia was born in the Philippines and is volunteering with Total Health Spokane, a nonprofit ministry in Spokane, Washington. Below, she shares how she got involved in this unique missionary work.

Many people wonder how a volunteer finds their calling and what leads them to that decision. My story begins in December 2019, when I was a volunteer science teacher at the Ebeye Seventh-day Adventist School in the Marshall Islands. With my contract ending at the mission school in June 2020, and the General Conference Session scheduled at the same time frame, I had great hopes of going since the church in Ebeye had secured a booth and was scheduled to participate in special music. However, my plans drastically changed because of COVID-19. I began praying in earnest. Where do I go? What should I do next? Should I leave or stay on the island?

In June I was impressed to fly to my relatives in California, believing that God would be my guide. I knew He would unfold His plan to me piece by piece, like a puzzle. It didn’t make sense at first, but when the few pieces began to connect, I started to see a picture. I must admit, I doubted and I questioned, but I felt God’s hand leading me to the purpose to which He had called me.

Two weeks after arriving in California, I saw a post on Instagram by the North American Division Office of Volunteer Ministries (NADvolunteers), searching for volunteers from all across the U.S. I logged into the Adventist Volunteer Services website and began my own search. I narrowed it down to three choices, one of them being the Total Health Spokane program. I told God that I would go with whichever one responded first, but I favored the Total Health Spokane program because of its wholistic approach to health and unique partnership with both medical and gospel work. I received my answer, and have enjoyed the fellowship of Northview Seventh-day Adventist Church for six months!

Our typical day at Total Health Spokane starts with a group devotional before we interact with clients partnered with each volunteer through online health coaching. Prior to this, we were trained in how to help clients identify their purpose and health goals. Then we motivate and support them on their journey to better physical, mental, spiritual, and social health.

Mission Upfront Discovery Junction

Schley Valencia (right) with a student at Discovery Junction Ministry in Spokane, Washington. 

The team is also actively involved in the Northview church activities, both inreach, which includes assisting with worship services, Bible study groups, work bees; and outreach, such as food distribution through a food bank and Better Living Center, Discovery Junction Ministry (which provides education to at-risk children), and book distribution of The Great Controversy.

I’ve grown in this experience. It has taught me that I also need to practice what I am sharing with my clients, to have a lifestyle that I could keep wherever I go in this world. The challenge in this kind of ministry is to truly incorporate what our doctor has told the team about what sets the sacred health coaching apart from the secular: It makes you holy, not just healthy; alters your character, not just your conviction; changes your heart, not just your habits; and you could achieve this, not by your willpower, but by the power of the will of God.

Visit to see North American Division Office of Volunteer Ministries service opportunities for individuals 18 to 79 years of age.