Living God's Love in the Philippines
Anyone who has been on an international mission trip knows that it can have a profound impact on one’s life. During spring break, 32 Auburn Adventist Academy (AAA) students journeyed more than 30 hours by bus and plane to the small northern city of Pagudpud, Philippines.
A Mission Story 20 Years in the Making
The city of Pagudpud, located at the northern point of the Philippines, is a beautiful tourist city but is difficult to get to. The journey itself to the city is a mission, with many hours of travel including a long flight and a 10-hour bus ride.
After a family mission trip with In His Service Amianan (IHSA) and seeing a need in the community, Jay Coon, now AAA vice principal for growth and development, joined his family in partnering with IHSA to recruit medical students for mission work. In the past 20 years, 680 high school and college student missionaries have dedicated their time to building a mission there and with every church or academy mission trip and student missionary, IHSA have helped to build three Adventist churches, an Adventist Wellness Center, a clinic and much more.
Today, the clinic sees more than 1,000 patients each month, is fully self-sustaining, and the staff are excited to share God’s grace and care through medical attention.
AAA students helped long-term student missionaries serve the Pagudpud community by serving in mobile clinics, leading Vacation Bible School programs, visiting community members, helping in building projects and much more.
Students returned from mission service ready to share their stories.
"During a community visit, we met a woman whose child was sick with fever and her family in poor health. She didn't have the money to buy medicine,” says Kennedy, AAA junior. “So, a group of students, my dad and I pulled money together and took her to a local market to buy medicine.”
At first the mother only took one bottle of medicine. Kennedy turned to her dad and asked if the mother could get more. The mother was able to return home with medicine for her whole family. By Sabbath, her baby was well and the whole family came to church.
Because of this visitation, Kennedy saw the importance of visiting her own community members at home.
Unique, AAA senior, realized that her attitude of service changed as she interacted with the Filipino people. She reflected on her attitude of the daily tasks asked of her at home to the attitude she had when serving others.
“Why was I so willing to help strangers instead of those I know at home? I felt selfish,” Unique reflected. “I want the next mission trip to be at home. We’re too comfortable in our own communities and we’re called to do God’s mission right where we are.”
Florence, AAA senior, felt that she’s had a chance to get to know God and herself during her time abroad.
“Mission brings students closer to God and closer to understanding oneself. This is a time to get away from distractions and focus on personal spiritual growth,” says Florence. “This trip helped me understand that the greatest mission field is wherever you are at.”