PAA Fiji Mission Trip Participants Become the Hands and Feet of Christ

July 01, 2012 | Liesl Vistaunet

Portland (Ore.) Adventist Academy (PAA) students recently returned from a 16-day building and medical mission trip to the Fijian island of Rabi.

The students worked with the Jabez Humanitarian Foundation (JHF) to complete the first phase of a mission headquarters, which will eventually offer a medical and dental clinic, a large meeting facility with bathrooms and a kitchen, and several cabins to house volunteers.

Students also provided treatment for 627 patients and did more than 2,000 medical procedures in five villages. Water-borne diseases are a reality on Rabi. JHF treats all who test positive for tuberculosis, and the foundation works to educate the islanders on disease prevention.

Mission work is not glamorous. Besides not having the comforts of home, PAA students endured an exhausting 40 hours of travel, extreme heat and humidity, unusually large insects, torrential rains, flooding, and eventually the threat of Cyclone Daphne. But it didn't dampen the joyful spirit of the students, as the smiles and songs of the Fijians brought more than even the comforts of home could offer.

"Jesus said that all of us are brothers and sisters in Him, and I think that's what [the people showed] us," says Vanessa Hernandez, a sophomore.

Students learned that mission trips are about more than hard work and disease prevention. "It's a lot more than just building and doing some medical work," says Andrew Barcenas, a senior. "It's about showing the image of Christ. I want to hold the children He would hold, stack the bricks that He would stack and hug the kids that He would hug, and have the people smile back as if Christ had just smiled at them."