Building Bridges

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.

Praise God!

"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:

*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.

News & Notes

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,, to learn more about how you can support the ministry.

At our last NEWSTART 18 day session, we had a retired research nurse from Stanford University.  Her health had been declining over the last several years.  Her weight went up, her blood pressure went up, her blood sugar went up, her cholesterol went up. . .you get the picture.  I talked with her at length about two weeks into the session.  With tears in her eyes, she stated, "This program has saved my life!"  Her blood sugar was normal on the morning that I spoke with her and she was off her diabetes oral medication.  Her cholesterol had dropped over 40 points, her blood pressure was normal, and she stated that she feels better than she has in decades--all in two weeks time.  God continues to bring people to us that need physical, mental, and spiritual healing.  We send them back home with a plan, that when followed, will change the rest of their lives.  Please continue to pray for us and the patients that God sends our way!

Randy Bivens, M.D., COO, Weimar Institute

As part of their medical outreach and relief projects, AMOR Projects (who work with student missionaries to spread good health and the Gospel message in Peru) implements mobile medical clinics for the medical missionaries who come every year. Different groups of health care providers, such as doctors, dentists, and nurses, come to Pucallpa in East Peru to participate. When they join, the clinic travels, and many more villagers can receive medical care.
The student missionaries prepare for the arrival of the mobile clinic by organizing the pharmacy. They get ready to provide medical assistance to the villagers by putting slips of paper into the pill bags to indicate the dosage, and they sort ampoules and vitamins so that they are easier to distribute. When dentists are present, the dental equipment is sterilized and sorted, so that the villagers can also receive dental care.
When the healthcare providers arrive, the mobile clinics are scheduled for the entire week. Missionaries go out to where the clinic will be traveling to tell the locals the clinic's schedule and the services that will be offered. If the weather is bad, the clinic may not make it to their scheduled location, but the clinic at KM 8 has, so far, operated without interruption.
The mobile clinic can also responded to emergencies. Recently, the mobile clinic was informed of an emergency. They were able to drive to the house, where people were signaling desperately for help. A boy who appeared to be unconscious was carried to the van, and Pastor David, who had been driving, was showed that he had ingested rat poison. There was no doctor available for the clinic that day, but they were able to bring the child to the emergency room of the hospital.
The mobile clinics are used not only to provide medication. Student missionaries talk with the locals, and the local clinic helps them to see many of the needs in Pucallpa. The medical ministry helps the missionaries to connect with the locals, and opens the door to share the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Missionaries often invite their patients to church on Sabbath. They usually come!

You can find out more about the health and Gospel work by AMOR projects on their website and facebook page:

ASI connections

January 31, 2014
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It's been Said

Health Evangelism
"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

Christ Commanded
"And He said to them, “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature."

-Mark 16:15