When we arrived in the Philippine Islands we were welcomed with a smile from the Barangay Captain, which is similar to what we know as the position of mayor. The Captain was so grateful that we were there to serve his people that he gladly provided whatever we needed.
Our mission partners, the Jennings family, also has a strong relationship with the Barangay Council, which helped make our arrival all the more exciting.
After our arrival, the team had a time of prayer and then we divided up our different duties and began to set up the various mission stations.
The Children’s Ministry station was different than it often is, as there were many young mothers accompanying their young children. The mothers and their children enjoyed themselves as Bible stories were read aloud and they were able to participate in enriching activities. Our team also used J316 soccer balls to successfully share the story of salvation with the eager children.
Meanwhile, the clinic continuously supplies some interesting medical cases while also stimulating a sense of great compassion amongst those of us who are working hands-on to treat the patients.
On our first day,we saw and treated 80 patients. One very memorable moment was when Dr. Joe Vilasi saw a patient who suffered from severe flat feet and plantar fasciitis. It was a miracle that not only was Dr. Vilasi familiar with this condition, but that he also had a pair of shoes with proper inserts in the exact same size that this man needed. At home in the United States, you would never see someone remove their shoes in order to give them to someone who is in true need, but that is exactly what Dr. Vilasi did! It’s a blessing to see such overwhelming care and selflessness at work in the mission field.
Another great moment from our first day was when I met a woman who had no significant physical problems, but I could see on her face that her joy was being suppressed by the burdens of this world. This woman was so relieved to find out that God could speak through us, Caucasian foreigners. We were able to help this woman understand how she can transfer those burdens onto God, who can easily and willingly handle them for her.
After a very hot but rewarding day on the mission field, our team took some time to visit Mantayupan Falls for photo ops and some fresh coconut water. While we were at the falls, several men and women committed their lives to Christ. This was only our first out of seven days, but what a day it was to ponder on the long ride back to the hotel.
By Joseph Pecoraro, MD
Hearts Afire Co-founder