Independent supporting ministry Sonship is aiming to add to its Medisonship fleet so that it can provide much-needed medical care to people living in remote areas of Solomon Islands.
Sonship president and Hillview Adventist church member (NSW) Trevor Oliver said the ministry currently operates three small medical boats specially designed to work in the shallow lagoons. However, a larger vessel is needed, capable of travelling in open waters to the outer islands. The bigger boat would also be able to accommodate additional medical facilities, including a small operating area, and services such as a dentist and an optometrist.
Mr Oliver said the need is great and the people in the villages are very grateful.
“The people we are servicing have got no other medical aid within reach,” he said.
“There is a district hospital but the people can’t even afford the petrol to get to the hospital so we are providing a need that is saving lives.”
Sonship, a registered supporting ministry of the Seventh-day Adventist Church, is also providing important spiritual nourishment.
“Our nurses do whatever they can to help and the people are so grateful. When they are healed physically they are ready to listen to spiritual things,” Mr Oliver said.
“On every boat we have at least one or two chaplains on board and we have had many, many people respond to Bible studies. I guess we have seen about 65 direct baptisms but there are probably hundreds more that the [local] pastors study [with].”
Some of the most common ailments treated by the visiting medical teams include skin diseases, malaria, dengue fever, diabetes and other lifestyle diseases. They also respond to all types of accidents, including two recent incidents where people were treated for swordfish injuries.
“When we come into the village, the cry will go round, ‘Our boat’s here, our boat’s here’,” Mr Oliver said. “All the people come running from the gardens, all coming to be treated on the ship. So it’s a wonderful experience to know that we are really touching humanity where they need it. That’s encouraging for us.”
Sonship is funded entirely by donations. The new boat is estimated to cost $A300,000. To support this ministry and for more information go to: https://www.sonship.org.au.