Auburn Builds 15 Years of Philippine Mission Service
For the 15th year over spring break, 48 students from Washington's Auburn Adventist Academy (AAA) traveled to the northern Philippines to be missionaries for two weeks. After about 30 hours of traveling, the group arrived on Tuesday night, March 14, excited and eager to serve the community of Pagudpud.
The first student mission trip, in March 2002, to the Philippines only included four Auburn Adventist Academy students. With continuing needs and more student mission interest, student missionaries continue to support ministry efforts to build more churches, baptize more believers and expand medical ministries.
Today more than 475 students have enjoyed a mission trip with In His Service Amianan, a mission organization that coordinates spring break Philippines mission trips. Projects through the years have included building an Adventist church, pavilion and three-story medical facility that make up the campus of the Pagudpud Adventist Wellness Center (PAWC).
PAWC received its license last fall from the health department to operate an urgent care facility with a modern laboratory, digital X-ray, eye clinic and dental office. There are currently 14 employees who see more than 500 patients a month.
During their recent trip, the Auburn missionaries woke up at 5 a.m. After having breakfast, everyone gathered in the church for morning worship that lasted two hours.
“I believe our young people each need an opportunity to do powerful mission trips that are more than just a destination,” says Jay Coon, pastor and mission trip leader. “I'm committed to creating meaningful worships where young people can grow and experience their faith as they interact together while doing missions. This mission trip is that perfect place for time with God, fellowship with others and plenty of hard work.”
Each team began their daily assignment at 8 a.m. This year students participated, for the first time, in medical missions at the PAWC clinic and in surrounding villages. Depending on their service location, students assisted doctors, nurses, pharmacists, dentists, a lab technician, an X-ray technician and a massage therapist.
“My favorite part of the trip was becoming friends with the medical staff and local church members,” says Juliana Hoffman, a senior student. "Also being able to explore a new place and culture was exciting.”
In addition, AAA students built a wall between the church and the neighboring property, dug drainage ditches, and painted and plastered walls. In a village called Pancian, students started building fencing around another Adventist church. Other students went on chaplain visitations or helped plan a nightly Vacation Bible School (VBS).
Every night at 7 p.m., about 100 local kids came to the church and a nearby village for two VBS programs hosted by Auburn students.
AAA junior Sarahi Villegas says, “One of my favorite parts of the mission trip was getting to know the children, seeing what they're going through and being able to provide somewhat of a safe haven through the Vacation Bible School that we had every night.”