March 2019 |
On June 28, 2018, a team from U. S. A. hit the road to Bicol region to hold a three-day medical mission and one-week evangelistic meeting to the people of Naga City. They called themselves the Arizona Sonshine, a ministry of the Arizona Conference of Seventh-day Adventists.
The administration of Southern Luzon Mission graced the visiting team with a very warm welcome, headed by the president, Ely Garrado and executive secretary, Joven Hitosis.
As a gesture of hospitality, the Naga City local government offered a simple program to recognize the visitors at the Naga City Hall. Present on the occasion were Counselor Vidal Castillo, who gave the introductory address, and Vice Mayor Nelson S. Legacion, who delivered words of welcome on behalf of the city officials.
“The city of Naga is very much grateful because we have been chosen as the recipient of free medical mission of the Arizona Sonshine. Of all the places that they could choose, they decided to extend their services to our very own people. It is such a great blessing to us,” Vice Mayor Legacion remarked. “I would like to convey to the Arizona Sonshine that you are very much welcome to our place. We appreciate your big help to our people, especially to indigent individuals and families who needed your services very badly,” he continued.
The team started the medical mission at Don Bosco Training Center Gymnasium, in Barangay Carolina on Saturday afternoon of June 30, and they served over 1000 people. Later in the afternoon, the whole team and local coordinators met with Philippine Vice President Leni Robredo, where the VP expressed her sincere appreciation and gratitude to the team for choosing the Philippines, particularly Naga City as their recipient. She told the group that this event is very much needed in the country because a lot of people from rural areas cannot afford to have at least medical checkup much more minor surgeries.
“Healthcare is one of the things that we have yet to achieve with more efficiency in the Philippines. It’s something that we are working on everyday. But, the sad thing about it is, until now healthcare is not yet accessible to so many Filipinos. So you will discover later on during your clinics, that your coming over could really be considered a manna from heaven for most of our people. I am very grateful for those developed countries that have never forgotten to help other people who are in need of services despite all the cultural differences,” VP Leni conveyed.
In response, coordinators of Arizona Sonshine namely: Pastor Bob and Carol Lawson and Pastor Steve Salsberry expressed appreciation for the very warm welcome extended by the beloved Vice-President. With much delight, the team felt privileged to meet the second highest official of the country. They offered the song, "We are His Hands,” a song that speaks so true of the ministry they have been doing - bringing love and Jesus to people.
The free medical mission officially started Sunday morning July 1, 2018, at the Jesse Robredo Coliseum. Services included optical, pediatrics, OBGYN, dental, minor surgery, and laboratory services. Over 800 people received health care services that day.
The medical team comprised 30 dentists, 16 medical doctors, 16 medical technicians, 4 ophthalmologists, and over 100 support staff members. Special recognition was given to Medics Expedition team, Southern Luzon Mission medical team, Naga Pharmacist Association, Naga View master guides, Philippine Army, City Health team and local church volunteers. Pastor Glenn Sta. Ana spearheaded the team from Arizona Conference of Seventh-day Adventists.
Pastor Arnel Gabin, the overall coordinator said, "The purpose of this medical mission is to provide free health services especially to the least people of Naga City and to share the love of Jesus, our Great Healer."
The three-day medical mission culminated with approximately 5,000 patients served.
Part of the mission trip of the Arizona Sonshine was the clean-up and painting of Naga View Adventist College buildings.
Meanwhile, eight sites became the venue for the evangelistic meetings. Through the preparations and assistance of local Adventist brethren, the nightly meetings were able to accommodate regular attendees. Speakers were: Pastor Jose Marin, executive secretary of Arizona Conference; Pastor Ronald Yabut, Pastor Ed General, and Steve Salsberry.
On July 7, the Adventist brethren congregated at the Metro Naga Sports Complex for the Sabbath worship and fellowship. Different churches from Camarines Sur area participated in the worship service and Pastor Lawson delivered the Sabbath sermon.
The highlight of the Sabbath celebration was the baptism of more than 400 new believers, officiated by 15 pastors.
“It’s a blessing to see such a big congregation worshipping on the holy Sabbath. Witnessing hundreds of people being baptized is a very heartwarming experience! God is truly amazing!,” declared a group of brethren.
The result of Naga For Christ is a successful contributiontothePhilippinesForChrist2018. Withthese blessings, we return all the glory to God Who made all things possible!
Seventh-day Adventist beliefs are meant to permeate your whole life. Growing out of scriptures that paint a compelling portrait of God, you are invited to explore, experience and know the One who desires to make us whole.