The launch of the 10,000 Toes Campaign in the Cook Islands and French Polynesia missions has seen much activity and excitement during the past two months, according to Adrielle Carrasco, Adventist Health Ministries director for the New Zealand Pacific Union Conference.
In both missions there was initial training of volunteers in all areas of ELIA Wellness’s My Wellness Snapshot program. The training included taking blood pressure and blood glucose readings, measuring height, weight and waist circumference, testing physical fitness and peak flow lung function, as well as demonstrating simple massage techniques.
The teams in both missions were excited to have a resource that would assist them in connecting with their communities and both ran a pilot expo for their church communities. This proved to be an effective strategy as church members, realising the benefits, brought their friends.
“This event needs to be taken to the whole island, including the outer islands,” said one Cook Islands participant. “And it’s so important to know what my health is doing.”
“I will go see my doctor now and let him know my results,” said another.
Pastor Tereapii Inukiha’angana is leading out for health ministries in the Cook Islands and is keen to take this resource to all the outer islands. She is planning a trip next year.
The health team in French Polynesia, led by Matha Williams, expressed their gratitude at having a new health resource in French. They are thrilled with the response to the outreach and immensely grateful for the support ELIA Wellness and Adventist Health Ministries have provided in getting these resources translated into their language.
Since the initial training, they have run three more community health expos and are planning to do more next year. This new tool has revitalised their health initiatives and proved to be a blessing to a number of communities.
“I love the practicality of the My Wellness Snapshot resource,” said Mrs Carrasco. “This resource has given our churches in both missions the ability to connect with a community in great need.
“The incidence of non-communicable diseases in these missions is rising and the effect this is having on our Pasifika is devastating. For the many families who are losing their elders and loved ones, this means a lot of lost memories and talanoa that cannot be replaced.
“I am proud that these missions have responded so enthusiastically and applaud the work they are doing; they will be able to change many lives. We thank God that these outreach campaigns can demonstrate practical Christian concern for community wellbeing.”
The 10,000 Toes Campaign to stomp out diabetes across the Pacific will continue to become more relevant as more mission volunteers join the cause and are trained as 10,000 Toes ambassadors.
“Next year,” said Mrs Carrasco, “we hope to launch the 10,000 Toes Campaign in New Caledonia and I can’t wait to see what can be accomplished there.”