Stories & Commentaries

Medical Mission Takes Off Again

Guam Seventh-day Adventist Clinic visits Palau and Rota

A woman in nursing uniform stands by while a man in doctor's coat gives another woman an eye exam

Dr. 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 islands in the region have reopened to visitors, they are also welcoming back medical missionaries. Before 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 medical and dental trip to Rota in the U.S. territory of the Northern Mariana Islands (CNMI) in January 2023.

The trips included various 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 prematurely. 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 wheel of the famous Teshio Maru fleet oiler of the Imperial Japanese Navy was damaged during the Desacre 1 World War II attack, and the ship was made unnavigable. It was taken by the currents until crushed by the Rael Edeng reef. It is vital to place the steering wheel in the hands of the Master Captain of our life and relinquish control to enjoy good spiritual health.

Woman standing on a platform speaking

Elena Taneva, nurse practitioner, presents at a nightly series at Palau's Koror Seventh-day Adventist Church during a recent mission trip as part of a medical team from the Guam Seventh-day Adventist Clinic. Photo: Elena Taneva

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, sophomore, junior, and senior classes at the Sinapalo and Songsong schools to teach the 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!

Group picture of individuals of different ages and races in a sunny outdoor setting

The medical and pastoral team visiting Rota during a recent mission trip organized by the Guam Seventh-day Adventist Clinic. Photo: Elena Taneva

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 even 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.

— This article was originally published on the website of the Guam-Micronesia Mission of Seventh-day Adventists.