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Balikatan ng mga Kristiano, Inc.  |  P.O. Box 1021, San Leandro, CA 94577 | 617-331-4551 | Email: TulunganTayo@gmail.com

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My first encounter with Inter Varsity Christian Fellowship Philippines (IVCFP) was at the Freshmen Retreat at our campus, Philippine Christian University (PCU). It was then that I surrendered my life to Jesus Christ. After that, I became active in the Nurses Christian Fellowship (NCF)-IVCFP. Not only was I discipled through God’s Word but was also given the opportunity to sing in the Come Alive Choir. In the summer of 1977, I was faced with two options: attend Kawayan Camp or join the Summer IVCF Student Medical Mission (IVSMM). In God’s sovereign plan, He led me to join the latter. It was through this life-changing experience that His seed was planted in my heart - to serve the “unserved and least-reached peoples”. This calling was such a blessing! He spoke to me through this verse:

“The Spirit of the Sovereign Lord is on me, because the Lord has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim freedom for the captives and release from darkness for the prisoners, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor and the day of vengeance of our God.” (Isaiah 61:1-2, NIV)

He then gave me another life blessing – a husband who is a medical doctor, who loves the Lord, and is passionate in serving the Indigenous People (IP) groups of our country as I am! We are both MAP workers, having been assigned to the hinterlands of Bukidnon in Mindanao, in Ifugao and Benguet provinces of Luzon, and among the informal dwellers of Metro Manila.

MAP was started by Drs. Eleazar and Elma Sarmiento in the 1950s. Its vision was to provide health care while bringing the gospel to indigenous peoples. To date MAP has served over 1,000 communities, trained thousands of barangay family health workers, equipped over 500 churches, organizations and institutions, provided primary health care services to 300,000 people, and shared the gospel through all these. MAP is a medical missions organization composed of Christian doctors, nurses and other allied health professionals with the vision of seeing God-honoring, transformed communities through His love and holistic care.

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Our flagship ministry programs are: 1) Church-Based Health Education - equipping and empowering local churches by training their lay people as health care educators and providers, 2) Community-Based Primary Health Care - organizing and empowering communities with effective health care systems and resources, 3) Maternal and Child Health & Nutrition, 4) General Health Education for vulnerable populations, 6) Disaster Services - First Aid and Medical Provision, and 6) Mobilization and Partnership Development - connecting with churches and like-minded organizations for medical missions, missions course training and mission exposure.

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Regarding the Mobilization and Partnership Development, one important component we highlight is the Summer Cross-Cultural Mission Exposure (SCCMP) or “Operation Samaria”, which we adopted from IVCFP, and now conduct every summer. It has become one effective way through which God calls men and women to be involved in missions. It is one of MAP’s many advocacy outreaches, challenging Christian young people in the medical, nursing and allied health fields to offer their prime years to serve in the remote areas of the Philippines. We want them to see places where God’s love is not yet known, where people have poor health, low self-esteem, and are exploited and powerless. The integration of spiritual care and discipleship in every community we serve medically is critical in our endeavors. By God’s grace, we continue to see believers in these far-flung places, equipped to go and make disciples, multiplying themselves as they become a worshipping community of their own.


Currently MAP is serving IP communities in Puerto Galera, Abra de Ilog, Mindoro Occidental, the Magbukon and Abellen Aytas in Bataan and Tarlac, the Dumagats in Dingalan, Aurora, Ayangans in Ifugao and the informal dwellers in Metro Manila.

Pray alongside us as we pursue these plans in the next two years:

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1. CB-HELP: Organize and conduct ‘Church-Based Healthcare Education for Lay People’ (CB-HELP) Training Programs in five churches in Coron, Palawan, and ten churches in Pangasinan.

2. TB Treatment: Address decisively the high incidence of tuberculosis (TB) and malnutrition among children in Singawan, Pinamaypayan and Dugyan, Umiray, Dingalan, Aurora. Pray for ongoing TB Treatment, and the consequent education and equipping of parents of 50 children for continuing care. Remember also the Family Health Workers’ Training and Discipleship in these areas as well as the mentoring of believers so we can all together address the physical and spiritual drain of this disease.

3. Hernan, Eastern Samar: Provide basic needs resources such as potable drinking water and sustainable livelihood projects; open homes for bible studies, and establish CB-HELP Trainings Phase 2 for five to seven churches.

4. Aguinaldo, Ifugao: Strengthen the triad partnership of MAP, Aguinaldo Local Government Units (LGUs) and 21 churches in restoring the Hilgendorf Memorial Clinic for special medical services. It will also be the site for a small herbal medicines laboratory and classrooms for Basic Health Workers (BHW) and CB-HELP trainings.

5. Operations Samaria: Challenge more medical and nursing students and professionals to join Operation Samaria in July, 2016 to Aguinaldo, Ifugao.

6. Discipleship Program: Conduct an intentional and contextualized discipleship program for Mangyan, Ayta and Dumagat believers.

7. Volunteers: Seek out more volunteers who may eventually consider full-time commitment as medical missionaries.

8. God-Perspective: Resolve to keep focused on God, seeking His wisdom, joy, strength and boldness to implement all these programs; to be overflowed by His blessings as MAP workers and volunteers pursue the depth of His word in their own lives.

How Can Balikatan Be More Intentionally Involved With MAP?

Besides becoming our prayer warriors - knowing the enemy is all around us trying to deter and discourage us - be our ministry partner through the following opportunities: join a short-term missions exposure trip to the remote areas of the Philippines, be trained in cross-cultural missions through us, be MAP advocates by promoting our ministry endeavors to your own circles of influence, encourage your family members and friends in the Philippines who have medical backgrounds to consider joining us, and finally, support us financially. Be a blessing to us as the Lord pours His blessings upon you.

For more information about MAP please visit: www.medambassadors.org and FACEBOOK.COM/MEDAMBASSADORS.

 

 

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