This year, we conducted our annual missions exposure called Operation Samaria in Aguinaldo, Ifugao with the theme “Pamhod”, an Ifugao word meaning “Love”. With a theme verse from John 3:16, we would like to embody “love” just as God loves us.
Last July 3, 2016, a group of 8 people went to Hilgendorf Memorial Clinic (HMC) in Aguinaldo Ifugao to prepare the place for the upcoming mission exposure called ‘Operation Samaria’. Paul, Ira, Selbert, Dahlia, Ptr. Nomer, Roseleth, and Kuya Boy visited the Mayor’s Office to pay their courtesy call to the newly elected Hon. Mayor Gaspar Chilagan and Dr. Virginia Dulnuan, the Municipal Health Officer, to discuss the upcoming medical-dental and surgical mission in three different barangays, namely, Barangay Jacmal, Monggayang and Halag.
The next few days, Operation Samaria Team arrived in HMC. They were a group of 18 individuals including the OS staff and volunteers. They were all excited to be there beholding the beauty of the rice terraces and mountains of Aguinaldo, Ifugao. The team composed of 5 medical students coming from University of the Philippines, St. Lukes College of Medicine and University of the East, 1 dental student from UP, and some church workers from Ministry of Christ the True Vine (MCTV) and volunteers of Compassion International and staff of Medical Ambassadors Philippines.
Operation Samaria is a yearly mobilization activity of MAP Inc. to inspire, educate, and challenge allied health professionals and students, church workers and pastors to missions integrating faith and health in the community service. The major components of OS this year were School Supplies Distribution, Dental-Surgical Mission, Adult Health Classes, Vacation Values Education for Children and Pastors Mission Awareness Program. OS Team was then divided into 3 teams. Jacmal Team led by Paul Bañas, Monggayang Team led by Cris Gardon and Halag Team led by Joab Afuang. And they all immersed in the community from July 7 to 18.
One of the major activities that OS Team prepared is the school supplies distribution among Elementary Students of the three selected barangays. At first we are targeting to reach 300 sets of schools supplies but the Lord God surprised us with the response of our faithful partners and we were able to reach 542 sets of school supplies and were able to distribute them from Grad 1 to Grade 6.
We were so blessed to see the children receiving their school supplies kit because it is very seldom that they will have brand new notebooks, pencils, crayons, erasers, sharpeners, pad papers and plastic envelope and only those who are well-off can afford to buy these items from the market.
Our second major activity is the medical-dental and surgical mission. We are blessed by the presence of 2 Dentist (Dr. Ana Miclat and Dr. Malet), 2 Surgeons ( Dr. Eliseo Garcia and Dr. Deo Del Rosario), and 1 Ophthalmologist(Dr. Lawrence Liziralde from Santiago City).
We were able to minister to 154 Dental Patients, 297 Medical Patients, 124 Surgical Patients (Circumcision and excision)and 100 Opthal cases with a total number of 675 cases.
All who attended the medical-surgical service verbalized their gratitude. They said that it is very seldom that a group like Operation Samaria visits their area and render such services integrating healthcare and spiritual care to the people of Aguinaldo.
Our next major activities were Values Education for Children and Adult Health Classes. The VVE was conducted in Bgy. Monggayang and 90 students attended their 3 sessions about Creation, Stewardship, and Shared the Gospel. According to the team they are all hungry for the Word of God and they took every opportunity and became intentional in sharing the gospel to the children.
The Adult Health Class was conducted in Bgy. Jacmal and Bgy. Halag. 62 adults attended the Herbal Preparation Workshop, First Aid, Basic Hygiene and Health Promotion topics.
The youth fellowship in Bgy. Monggayang was done for four nights. They young people shared their testimonies on how God is moving in their lives and the Monggayang Team led by Ate Cris shared the gospel to these youth. Team Jacmal also spent their evening of fellowship in Aguinaldo National Highschool (ANHS) ministering to almost over 60 young people coming from 5 different barangays. The team was blessed to hear that there is an existing campus ministry in ANHS led by Christian Youth Fellowship (CYF) and their coordinator Mrs. Evelyn Lumayna.
Another blessing that Team Jacmal witnessed is the Mission Awareness Program (MAP) among Pastors of Association of Ifugao Bible Church, Free Believers of Christ Fellowship Inc and Baptist Church in Aguinaldo Ifugao. The program was led by Ptr. John Mark Abao and Paul Bañas. 12 Pastors attended. After the event the pastors were challenged to have a biblical worldview and a World Christian lifestyle. They were all moved by the Word of God and have committed to mobilize their church and other believers to have the same mindset and practice a World Christian lifestyle.
We were also blessed to have our staff, Criselda Gardon, to be invited as a keynote speaker during the Nutrition Month Celebration with a theme “First 1000 Days ni Baby Pahalagahan” in Bgy. Monggayang. The people were inspired by her messaged and challenged many parents to give more importance to the nutrition of their newborn up to toddler years.
Finally, OS sub teams gathered back to HMC and spent their rest, recreation and debriefing in Batad Rice Terraces. Indeed the great commission is like a double edged sword. It will always have an impact in the lives of the one who serves and the ones who got served. Operation Samaria became a channel of God’s blessings, compassion, mercy and kindness.
Paul Bañas, OS2016 Coordinator