The summon for the creation of MAP was first felt in a remote, mountainous and sparsely inhabited community in Kabayan, Benguet, in the highlands of northern Philippines, when, while fulfilling the call to preach the gospel to the tribal people, the organization’s founder, then Pastor Eleazar O. Sarmiento, was threatened by an infirmity and the nearest medical help accessible was a hundred kilometers away in urban Baguio. Worse, the only passage was a thin and rough road over the rugged mountains; the ambulance- a bamboo hammock carried by merciful porters each taking turns and resting as little as possible throughout the long journey. After the experience, he felt a God-given determination to pursue medical training to meet the needs of the people in the mountains.
In 1964, equipped with a vision a faith in the almightiness of God, the new doctor and his wife began their medical missionary work in the tribal area of Banaue, Ifugao. They both worked at the Good News Clinic and Hospital which was then under the Far Eastern Gospel Crusade now known as SEND International. In 1968, it became apparent that what the tribal people needed most was primary health service and education because the bulk of their illnesses were parasitic, infectious, and preventable. It was also during this time that Dr. Sarmiento felt a need to get trained in General Surgery and so entered the University of the Philippines- Philippine General Hospital (UP-PGH).
Medical Ambassadors Philippines, Inc. (MAP) was formally launched in 1973 when a missionary with the Summer Institute of Linguistics invited the pioneering Sarmientos to set up a medical station in a remote tribe central to seven villages. The total population in the immediate are was five to seven thousand and they were willing to give up their pagan practices and open up to Jesus Christ if a doctor or nurse would come and work among them. When God, responding to prayers, miraculously provided ten thousand dollars ($10,000.00) through one of Mrs. Sarmiento’s patients, the Sarmientos took to the mountains and began a lifetime devotion to serving the minorities.
Now, on its 40th year of serving the minorities and unreached peoples of the Philippines, countless lives have been changed in the knowledge of the gospel and hundreds more are being reached every year through the various medical and training services of the untiring staff of MAP.