Families for Vocation and Healing Ministry
Promoting religious life vocation, and the healing of body and soul
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First day of mission with senior citizens..
Foot abscess discussion with pre-med students.
Members of medical mission trip.
Baby with congenital heart disease. Case discussion, Dr. Bach and Dr. Gutierrez.
They waited so long but were still happy.
Dr. Arlaine B. Gutierrez examines a boy.
FVHM Board Member and Mission Servant Arlaine B. Gutierrez, MD, helped spearhead a medical and dental mission to Camias, San Miguel Bulacan, Philippines, in December 2013. Under her leadership, the trip was organized by the Filipino-American Medical Association of Central Valley (FAMACV) and Families for Vocation and Healing Ministry (FVHM).
In the group were 75 volunteers, 8 doctors, 3 dentists, 9 nurses, 3 dialysis technicians and 2 accountants, among others. Over a two-day period, there was a senior citizens' day, mission day, and a food and toys distribution day, serving about 1000 people.
Arlaine says it was a rewarding experience to share talents, time and treasure, saying "It was an eye-opener the little things that are treasures to other people. We were touched by the appreciation and gratitude of the people."
She reports that the number of people who came was inspiring. "It was very hot at that time; everybody sweating but smiling and patiently waiting to be seen. I just felt bad for the little babies with congenital heart disease lacking access to healthcare, and babies who are malnourished because their families are not able to afford formula."
Arlaine continues, "Seeing the people waiting, falling in line and hearing their concerns and frustrations and gratitude after being seen made us feel we need to plan in the next 2 years to come back. Our student volunteers from the U.S. felt so blessed to be able to help with the mission."
Some of the experiences were very special. "We were touched by a little boy with untreated meningitis," Arlaine says. "He was the oldest and only boy. The day before the mission, he was not eating anymore so he had a nasogastric tube. We were able to educate his parents on his condition, provide milk formula, instruct on how to take care of the pressure sore, and offer wound care supplies and give them a referral to a neurologist."
Participants included Arlaine, her husband, Nomer, and their children, Alyssa and Neal. Donations of supplies were requested from medical and dental clinics, hospitals and churches. "We coordinated with different agencies in the Philippines for support during the mission." She says Nomer picked up and packed donated supplies, and invited volunteers from U.S. to help with logistics during the mission. Neal helped her with planning and documentation, and volunteered in the blood sugar station. Alyssa helped sort and organize the supplies and volunteered at the vital signs station.
Missions like these, Arlaine says, are "one of the ways to share our abundant blessings in the U.S., to reach out to communities that need assistance in health care, to give them hope and show that we care. It also helps our children realize that on the other side of the world, they need to continue the mission to help others in the future. Also, we have a responsibility to our brothers and sisters." Everybody is welcome to help, she says. Volunteers don't need to be in the medical field. Two of the volunteers from Australia and Canada who are accountants.
The next mission is scheduled for January 2016. Arlaine says that everybody is welcome to come and help. They can e-mail or call any of members of either group, or they can phone Arlaine at (209) 996-6663.
"Thank you very much to all the volunteers from all over the U.S., Canada, Australia and the Philippines and to all of our donors," Arlaine says. "If we want reach out to others, the mission is a great way to go."