Medical Care Opens the Way
Dr. Linda Balugo, a Filipino missionary doctor, tells how her medical missions team created an opportunity for the church to grow in an isolated area of the Philippines.
It was a most humbling experience traveling to San Isidro, a remote village on the small island of Zumarraga, Philippines. We left the mainland Samar on a small motorized outrigger boat with no life jackets. It was an hour travel like this on the ocean, but we went by faith.
Two thousand people live in San Isidro, but there is no medical doctor and no pharmacy. A few health workers with basic training run a health center there. In case of emergencies, patients are brought to mainland Samar, braving the seas we traveled to get there.
As always, we planned our trip in two coordinated portions: a free medical clinic and public evangelism.
The first night, Pastor Sonny Vitaliz and other visitors from Virginia Beach, Virginia, along with Pastor Danny Montes of Living Rock Ministries in Samar, held an evangelistic meeting. It was the first ever such evangelistic gathering on the island.
Two to three hundred people attended. Moreover, the village captain solved a difficulty for us: he offered a chapel in the village as a location for our medical and dental clinics the following day.
That day we saw 333 patients. Most received consultations about ailments and questions they had. Others had tooth extractions, minor surgeries, heart tests, and blood sugar tests. Each one also heard a message of God’s love and was prayed with by the medical professionals and volunteers.
Another gathering followed that evening. By the end, everyone had come forward to receive Jesus.
Local missionaries have started a home church in the village to help these new believers grow in the knowledge of God. Medicine opened the door, and now it is time for discipleship.
Thank you for praying for us.
Dr. Linda Balugo is International Medical Director for Philippine Gospel Association.
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Correction: We initially identified the island as Batagao. It is actually Zumarraga.