on a Medical and Mentoring Mission
By Peter Cariaga, 15
Dr. John Bailey of Colleyville, Texas had been receiving
newsletters and updates from my father for years,
yet never replied. Then, one day, he wrote back and
said, "I want to come to the Philippines. What
can I do?" My dad, a little surprised, wrote,
"You're a dentist, right? Come on over, we'll
organize a medical mission." And that's just
what they did.
was about nine years old the last time I went on on
a medical mission. Besides helping at the operating
table, it was an enjoyable experience. As Dad and
I discussed my role in the mission, he told me I would
probably be Dr. Bailey's assistant a lot of the time.
Apart from conversing with the doctor, I could help
him at the table by handing him his equipment and
communicating with the patients. At that last part,
I wondered if my language skills were enough; I'd
never had to ask someone, "Which tooth do you
want pulled?" in the local dialect. I also wondered
how I'd get along with Dr. Bailey. I guessed that
he must have good people skills to be a dentist. I
just wondered if he was the kind that can work with
teens, and, more importantly, how he would react to
I found out I had nothing to worry about, though.
>From the minute we met him at the airport, I liked
John Bailey. He was enthusiastic about getting to
work, and about seeing the place and meeting the people.
It turns out that he has been traveling to different
countries to preach and do medical missions all of
his life. I was anxious to start working, and to get
to know the man I now count as one of my mentors.
That night after dinner, my dad presented Dr. Bailey
with a schedule that would take him around the Philippines
and utilize his skills as a physician and a speaker.
Besides holding dental clinics in three different
cities, John would be speaking about leadership to
the leaders of the local churches. It would be a tough
schedule, my dad told him. John chuckled and replied,
"That's what I came here to do."
The Mactan Dental Clinic was held at the church building
next to our house. Since Dr. Bailey was staying with
us, I found myself running back and forth to his room
to get things he'd forgotten. Thankfully, though,
there were more than enough volunteers to take over
whenever I had to leave. Members of the church came
to help register patients, take blood pressure and
prepare refreshments. Church workers followed up on
the patients with invitations for Bible study and
counseling. Even some of the young men from the youth
group volunteered to help set up chairs and tables.
And some with the training (or, in some cases, just
the stomach) assisted Dr. Bailey at the instrument
Although John himself had a steady line of patients
coming in, I never heard a serious complaint or a
word of criticism from him. I think that was one of
the factors that kept the workers motivated and the
patients feeling secure. That night he spoke at a
seminar on leadership, drawing on his own experiences
as an elder at his home church in Texas. Response
from the crowd was immediate. John answered questions
about everything from women in church leadership to
the appropriate age for elders. And though it tired
him, I could tell that John really enjoyed what he
The rest of the mission was blessed to go just as
well, and the attendance for the seminar grew with
each day. John Bailey did more clinics in the neighboring
barrio of Babag and in Iloilo city. And while he immensely
enjoyed all of his visits, I think John liked the
final stop in Baguio the most. There, he met with
the elders of the church at Rimando Road, one of the
few churches in the Philippines to reach that level
of leadership. Most of his time was spent mentoring
and giving more lectures on leading and teaching.
The biggest clinic was held at Rimando Road. Dr. Bailey
worked with fellow dentists from MARCH for Christ
in treating over 100 patients in a one-day workshop.
Volunteers showed up throughout the day to help in
any way they could. I enjoyed it a lot, even though
I had been delegated to an instrument hygiene maintainer
(in other words, I sat and scrubbed the utensils all
John Bailey's visit to the Philippines was an inspiring
one for a lot of people, but it was special to me
in a unique way. The last few days before he left,
I got to talk to John one-on-one about a lot of stuff.
The man who the day before had been talking to elders
about the most complicated issues in the church sat
and conversed openly with a teenager. We talked about
baptism and the remission of sins, a topic I really
had on my mind lately. He let me begin discussions
and pose questions, and then he would answer in ways
that made sense to me. I felt like I had learned something
without really being taught.
All of us have mentors. John Bailey was a mentor to
me in a lot of ways. So are my dad, and my teachers,
and those who are wiser than I am. Mentors build and
refine you. They show you things that you didn't know
you could do and take you to places you thought you
couldn't go. And even if you don't think you have
a mentor who does that, remember that God is the greatest
mentor, and He will guide you through the toughest
obstacles life has (Matthew 11:28-30).
If you don't have someone you really count as a mentor,
talk to someone you know, preferably one older than
you. Ask them about life, about their walk with God,
and about what you have in common. You'll find they
have a lot of wisdom in some things.
You'll find they have a lot to offer.
the URL below for dental pictures>>>
Peter Cariaga is a 15 year old MK (missionary
. He is the eldest son of Salvador & Jennie
Cariaga, and their mission work is sponsored
by the Altamesa Church of Christ in Fort Worth.
Dr. John Bailey is an elder of the Legacy Church
of Christ in North Richland Hills (firstname.lastname@example.org).
If you would like to know more about their work,
join a mission campaign and/or a mentoring or
medical mission, help with shipping projects,
etc, please contact Salvador Cariaga at email@example.com
or call 817-737-4968. You may also visit their
website at philippinechurchesofchrist.org or
philippinechurch.org. If they could be of assistance
to you in any way, please feel free to let them
know. If you wish to be deleted off their list,
please write "delete."
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