Is Your Dead Relative Angry?
An Adventist medical team reaches out to isolated atolls in the South Pacific
Atoifi Adventist Medical Team, from Atoifi Adventist Hospital, in the Solomon Islands, 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 diarrhea and pneumonia and a 25-year-old with very high blood pressure,” Kaola 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 Atoifi Adventist Medical Team with the village chief (wearing sunglasses). [Photo: Adventist Record]
The Atoifi Adventist Medical Team in action. [Photo: Adventist Record]
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 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.
The team thanked their sponsors for responding to the voice of the Holy Spirit in supporting their mission to Ontong Java Atoll. A freewill offering from Maranatha Seventh-day Adventist Church in Honiara helped pay for the team’s mission trip.
George Vann, who pastors in the Solomon Islands Mission church region and accompanied the team, appreciated the warm hospitality they received while in Ontong Java and Tasman atolls. “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, a blown-up projector, the weather and the healing of very sick children. To God be the glory,” he said.
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