Remote village chiefs praise medical mission team

Lending a hand.

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Atoifi Adventist Medical Team recently conducted a health evangelism program on the Ontong Java (Solomon Islands) and Tasman (Papua New Guinea) atolls. The team visited the two main villages of Ontong Java—Luaniua and Pelau—and crossed the border to Tasman Atoll, which is two hours from Ontong Java by boat.

Team leader Rose Kaola said the medical needs at Luaniua village are huge because of the large population and the lack of a clinic or even a qualified nurse.

“We managed to save three children with severe diarrhoea and pneumonia and a 25-year-old with very high blood pressure,” she said. “Most children had pneumonia and there were a few cases of children with suspected trachoma (a bacterial infection affecting the eyes), but unfortunately their parents could not bring them over to Honiara because they had nowhere to stay.”

The island’s health leader, Mr Tutuai, reported that in 2016 about 10 children died at Luaniua village alone.   

“One contributing factor is we Ontong Javanese still have a strong belief that most sickness and death are a result of anger from our deceased relative and not because we broke the laws of health, so we continue to break the health laws,” he said.

The Atoifi Adventist Medical Team in action.

The team provided general outpatient care and conducted health expos during the day, while in the evenings they led out in devotions and health awareness talks, and held open discussions. Large numbers attended the evening programs.

“This is the first time we ever saw and heard such a program on our island,” said one villager.

“This program is not only benefiting our physical health but spiritual as well,” said Chris Alengu from Pelau.

During the farewell party for the team in Tasman Atoll, Council of Elders leader Kennedy and House of Chiefs representative Gibson Tahea requested the team to return. [pullquote]

Pastor George Vann from the Solomon Islands Mission, who accompanied the team, appreciated the warm hospitality they received while in Ontong Java and Tasman Atoll.

“I want to thank our God in heaven for making this program a success and demonstrating the miracles we witnessed with our transport from Honiara, the blown-up projector, the weather and healing of the very sick children. To God be the glory,” he said.

The team thanked their sponsors for responding to the voice of the Holy Spirit in supporting their mission to Ontong Java Atoll.

The team also received a freewill offering from Maranatha Seventh-day Adventist Church in Honiara to help pay for the mission trip.

The medical team with the village chief (in sunglasses).
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