A group of international students brought medical aid to Marshall Islands citizens during two months of field work which concluded in August. The students were there to fulfill a public-service requirement from the spring Discipleship Training School at Port YWAM. They worked with Scott and Katie Suderno — long-term missionaries who collaborate with YWAM Ships Kona under its partnerSHIP program — along with their children Nick and Sidney.
Most of the health care work took place during the two weeks they spent on Carlos and Santo islands — where they sailed aboard the Sudernos’ vessel, the s/y CLOUD NINE. Aaron Mitchell Doucette, 25, said he was inspired by the Sudernos’ dedication to the spiritual and physical well-being of the Marshall Islands.
“This trip wouldn’t have been possible without the Suderno family sailing our team there, running the clinics and supplying all of the goods,” said the Canadian Doucette. “It’s a blessing to work with a family of people who dedicate their time year-round as missionaries.”
The group assisted in wound care, diabetes testing and public-health promotion across several atolls in the Republic of the Marshall Islands. Silas Ben-Iesau, a 20-year-old student, said he enjoyed being a helping hand during medical clinics.
“That was one of my favorite aspects of outreach. It was cool because it was another opportunity to develop relationships,” Ben-Iesau, of the U.S., said referring to medical clinics. “We were doing something very meaningful for them — working on their health. We also taught them a lot about health maintenance, which they were very attentive to.”
Ben-Iesau said his team’s health-care coaching seemed to have a quick affect.
“By the end of our outreach we saw people increase their physical activity. They started walking as exercise to lower their risk of diabetes,” Ben-Iesau said. “It was awesome to see that we had that impact.”
Students also taught on dental hygiene, tested people for reading glasses and distributed medication under the supervision of Katie Suderno. All told, they provided 401 health services during their outreaches on Carlos and Santo islands. They also spent time praying for and spending quality time with people who were hospitalized. Lauren Meguyer, 21, said she will never forget praying with an ailing woman in her 40s named Carolyn who became a Christian shortly before her death.
“She passed away while we were on one of the outer islands. At first, that was difficult for me. I wondered why God would allow me to form a friendship with this lady only to see her pass away. Then I realized that if I went to the Marshall Islands to meet Carolyn and help her see what a relationship with Jesus is like, it was worth it for that reason alone,” said Meguyer, an Australian.
Katie Suderno said she enjoyed watching the students persevere and grow during their time on the Marshall Islands.
“This group of people were able to get past some early challenges and grow into a true team that worked hard, had fun and fulfilled God’s plan in the two months they were with us,” Suderno said. “They made an impact on many and their lives will be forever changed.”