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Members in Action

Building Bridges

ASI Staff


If you’ve visited the ASI website “Chapters” page lately, you may have noticed something slightly unusual. The ASI Pacific Union Spring Conference is slated to include a three-day “medical mission trip” to the San Francisco and Oakland Bay areas in collaboration with the Pacific Union Conference city evangelism campaign.

Since the inception of this joint endeavor in April of 2013, leaders and members of ASI Pacific Union and the Pacific Union Conference have been working closely with the Mayor’s Office in San Francisco, and specifically with Colleen Chawla, deputy director of the San Francisco Department of Public Health. The group’s goal is to facilitate collaborative efforts with the City of San Francisco under the infrastructure of the Public Health Department in hopes that this will allow for the most effective patient follow-up and provide a wonderful opportunity to “Build Bridges” with the City.

ASI Pacific Union spring conference attendees will work on “Project Homeless Connect,” a program implemented by the Mayor’s Office. Currently, Project Homeless Connect provides services to more than 1,800 people per day. ASI Pacific Union leaders anticipate being able to serve about the same number of additional people per day during the spring conference medical mission trip. City officials have designated the Bill Graham Civic Auditorium as the program site, which has many advantages, including its central downtown location and the fact that under-served citizens of San Francisco are accustomed to attending Project Homeless Connect events there.

The Mayor’s Office has indicated that it will cover the malpractice and other insurance liability coverage for ASI providers for as long as they work with the program. City officials are aware that ASI Pacific Union is a SeventhDay Adventist group that believes in whole-person health. Already, Christ’s message of healing has softened hearts of city officials during phone conversations.

Other groups will collaborate in this effort as well. Weimar plans to send students for three weekends preceding the conference to perform health outreach events. Souls West School of Evangelism also will spend two to three weeks preceding the event canvassing and inviting nearby citizens to attend.

Currently, ASI Pacific Union has about 200 volunteers confirmed. To really make the system work at peak effectiveness, they hope to recruit a total of at least 400 to 500 volunteers, which is feasible through collaboration with local Seventh-Day Adventist churches.

This may be just the beginning. Lela Lewis, president of ASI Pacific Union, reports that the ‘Building Bridges’ endeavor may have the opportunity to work with the Oakland Mayor’s Office in a similar fashion to what is planned for San Francisco.

“We are excited that our medical mission trip will encompass more of the Bay Area, as it will now include two days in San Francisco and one day in Oakland,” says Lewis. “We are working closely with Elder Jim Pederson of the Northern California Conference to facilitate the success of this project. We have arranged for a meeting between the mayor of Oakland and myself, along with Elder Pederson … as ASI’s goal is to create relationships and bridges with the Seventh-Day Adventist Church.”

The three-day medical mission trip is scheduled for April 23 and 24 in San Francisco and April 25 in Oakland. The regular ASI Pacific Union Spring Conference meetings will be held from Friday night, April 25, through Sunday morning, April 27, at the San Francisco Airport Hyatt Regency Hotel.

The difference between this regional conference and past conferences is the hands-on evangelistic orientation. City officials and residents who are served during Project Homeless Connect will be invited to attend the conference meetings that follow. The speakers, including John Bradshaw, Anil Kanda, Jim Gilley, Don Mackintosh, and Duane McKey, are planning accordingly.

On Sabbath afternoon, April 26, the San Francisco and Oakland Mayors’ office workers and city officials will be invited to attend a very special session during which church officials and ASI National officers will thank the city dignitaries for allowing Seventh-Day Adventists to participate in helping to improve the health of residents in their communities. The secular media will also be invited to attend. Elder Ricardo Graham, president of the Pacific Union Conference, is planning to attend that ceremony, and Elder Ted Wilson, president of the General Conference, will create a video to share, as he will be out of the country during the conference. ASI members and supporters from all over the world are invited to participate in this special event.