Pacific Union ASI has been collaborating with San Francisco's Department of Public Health to prepare for a medical mission trip this coming April. The Department pledged to provide follow-up for the patients seen during the medical outreach program and malpractice coverage for volunteer providers, which was essential to the project. The ministry would work directly under the Department, and would be restricted from making direct references to Adventist beliefs, not even in literature. Still, they were content to work with that plan, in order to open the door to long-term possibilities in the city.
Plans changed on November 14, when Dr. Lela Lewis, MD (who was about to present the "Building Bridges" initiative to Central Californian pastors) received an email from San Francisco's Department of Public Health, apologetically explaining that they wouldn't be able to co-sponsor the event.
Disappointed and confused, Dr. Lewis placed the matter in the Lord's hands, sent up a prayer, and decided to keep her meeting with the city officials that was scheduled for the following Monday. The pastors, to whom Dr. Lewis refrained from telling the news, were excited about the event and eager to become involved in the project. She and her family found (but had not yet secured) a new location, the armory. More contacts were made on Sabbath.
After a day of fasting and prayer, Drs. L Lewis and her husband, both MDs, met with the city officials. The night before, Dr. L Lewis had felt impressed to make a list of providers and divisions that were participating in "Building Bridges." This proved to be key. She indicated the ministry's goals and their need for patient follow up and malpractice coverage. The official who questioned her (the same who sent the e-mail) quickly agreed to grant the requests, and said that she was happy with the project, that the Department of Public Health would continue to collaborate with Pacific Union ASI, and that the city would provide massive advertising for the event.
A government director, who reports directly to the mayor of San Francisco, indicated that he would do his best to secure the Armory for the event, though Pacific Union ASI will be financially responsible for the rental fees and equipment, for which they need financial assistance. Working along-side the Department instead of directly under them, the ministry will now have a better opportunity to explain Seventh-day Adventistism to those who attend, and also to distribute carefully selected literature.
When asked, Dr. L Lewis humbly requested local coverage. The official who had originally sent the e-mail said that she would personally contact the Washington Post, Huffington Post, and New York Times. She would also ask the Mayor to do a press release before the event, and the event would be taken to national news. The government director asked whether the SDA churches in the city knew that they could get involved in homeless and humanitarian work after the "Building Bridges" event was over. Dr. L Lewis told him about the possibility of starting a community service center in the city. He offered to do what he could to make it happen.
"Building Bridges" is planned for April 23-25, 2014. Pacific Union ASI has around 380 volunteers, but they need close to 450 or 500. They are requesting volunteers for this event, and have a special need for dentists, dental hygienists, and optometrists. To volunteer, you can visit their website: http://bigcityevangelism.com/.
*Note: To protect their privacy, city officials are not named. However, to avoid confusion: the city official mentioned is the same person, and the director is another person.
This winter, Asian Aid released their final newsletter for 2013. “It has been another busy year filled with challenges,” they said. The government decided to split Andhra Pradesh, India into two states. There have been many strikes and protests. Vizianagaram was in the center of all the commotion. For a week, the main road was blocked and angry protesters burned down the houses of local politicians. Over 1,000 police were sent to assist the town’s security. The main road to Sunrise and the Blind School was blocked in the event. Both were caught up in the political storm.
In addition to political storms, a cyclone hit the northern east coast. Over 700,000 people were evacuated. More than 100 deaths have been reported. The area was flooded and the Khunti Adventist School sustained damages.
Along with sponsoring students' education, Asian AID funds four orphanages in India, all of which are run by the Adventist church. These orphanages have helped about 546 orphans. The Lord has worked through this ministry to help children like Ravi, who lost his mother, grandmother, and was sold by his uncle and aunt. After those sad events, he lived in his master’s cowshed and was treated harshly when he made mistakes. Asian Aid found him in this state and sponsored his education at a university. There he studied religious philosophy and computer science. No longer a child, Ravi has graduated from the university, and is now married and has a son of his own. Ravi works to help other children as a senior field officer for Asian Aid.
You can visit Asian Aid's website, https://www.asianaid.org/, to learn more about how you can support the ministry.
January 31, 2014
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It's been Said
"Nothing will open doors for the truth like evangelistic medical missionary work. This will find access to hearts and minds, and will be a means of converting many to the truth"
-Ellen G. White
Manuscript Releases, volume 14, 270.1
"And He said to them, “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature."