Estradas travel on medical missions to Philippines

Bring assistance from Parkersburg

From left, Jemimah Cosme, Sally Balcon, Dr. Cristina Estrada, Josephine Wilson, Brian Wilson, Lily Estrada, Miranda Wilson, Dr. Ruben Estrada and Pastor Joey Cosme at Cosme’s church in Bulacan, Philippines. This is the location of the medical mission. (Photo Provided)

PARKERSBURG — Drs. Ruben and Cristina Estrada of Parkersburg believe in the importance of evangelization through medicine.

Through the years the Estradas have joined medical missions and for years have been “searching and finding ways to serve the Lord in the medical field because that is where our training is.”

In 2013, super-typhoon Haiyan hit the Philippines with thousands of casualties occurring. This opened an opportunity for the Estradas to join the medical mission.

They began their work in Ormoc City, Samar, where they screened people for high blood pressure and diabetes, which are prevalent in the Philippines because of the high salt and sugar diet, the Estradas said.

These are two illnesses that can be controlled with medication, which the Estradas supplied for free through the church. The people of the Philippines are invited to attend the service, hear the word of the Lord, and they receive their weekly medications after the service.

Dr. Cristina Estrada talks to a patient while Lily Estrada is in the background. (Photo Provided)

The treatment of medications with the church service is for both the mind and soul, the Estradas said.

Other churches of the Independent Baptist Mission for Asians (IBMA) heard about the medical mission and requested similar missions in their churches.

In February 2015, the Estradas became an official part of the IBMA as medical missionaries. They have been going twice a year doing a dozen medical missions each trip with partner doctors in the Philippines, Drs. Ruben and Cora Flor, as well as medical coordinator Sally Balcon of Tarlac City, Philippines. Balcon is the daughter of IBMA founder Dr. Emmanuel Quizon of Tarlac City, Philippines.

Balcon takes care of preparing the medical mission sites and purchasing the medications.

Quizon founded IBMA for the purpose of evangelization of the Filipinos by Filipinos, he said.

Dr. Ruben Estrada attends to a patient while Josephine Wilson is in the background. (Photo Provided)

“Our goal is to bring people to church to hear the gospel and pray that they will one day accept Jesus as their Lord and Savior and at the same time attend to their medical needs by providing free medication for them,” Cristina said.

Later on, Pastor Myron Guiler of Marietta Bible Center Church joined the group, along with other American missionaries to the Philippines. For years they have sent Filipino students to the Marietta Bible College, which is affiliated with Marietta Bible Center Church, to prepare in the ministry to become pastors.

The Estradas attend Marietta Bible Center Church.

IBMA now works throughout the Philippines. The group has traveled and provided medication from the northern tip of the Philippines all the way to the southern tip. On each medical mission the Estradas see at least 400-700 people.

During their last trip, from June 19 to July 10, the Estradas brought their daughter, Miranda Wilson, her husband, Brian Wilson, and their two daughters, Josephine Wilson and Lily Estrada of Parkersburg, to the Philippines. Miranda is an art teacher at Parkersburg High School.

Those who helped at the medical mission include Brian Wilson, far left; Miranda Wilson, seated at far left; and front row Josephine Wilson, Dr. Ruben Estrada, Lily Estrada, Sally Balcon and Dr. Cristina Estrada. (Photo Provided)

“We provided medical treatment and medication in Bulacan, Philippines, where we saw 450 people — children and adults,” said Cristina Estrada.

Brian, Miranda, Lily and Josephine handed out the medication while the Estradas diagnosed the patients.

The Estradas and the Wilsons also went to Payatas dumpsite where they fed the children who live there. Brian, Miranda, Lily and Josephine passed the food out to the children.

Payatas dumpsite is a landfill outside of the capital city of Manila. It is estimated that 50,000 people live in the landfill.

The Estradas’ friend Dr. Ruth Tulabot (daughter of Quizon) and Pastor Arvin Tulabot operate an orphanage in Payatas.

Lily Estrada, left, and Josephine Wilson, right, give out medication in the Philippines. (Photo Provided)

The Estradas and Wilsons visited the orphanage and gave the children toys. They also had a party for the children at Jollybee, a chain-restaurant popular in the Philippines.

“We wanted our grandchildren to see the area just to remind them how very fortunate they are to have been born in America,” Cristina said. “But we think they have seen true love and true happiness and thankfulness in the faces of the orphans and we hope and pray that will live in their memories and hearts forever.”

Dr. Ruben Estrada began practicing anesthesia in Parkersburg at Camden Clark Medical Center in 1989. Dr. Cristina Estrada started a family practice in Parkersburg in 1991.

They both are still working part time, Ruben at Camden Clark and Cristina at Ritchie County Health Service.

“We will need all our finances to help buy the medication that is given free at the medical missions,” Cristina said.

The Philippines is a poor country and needs the assistance of others, the Estradas noted.

“We will pray that we will remain healthy and continue to be used by the Lord. We know that it is His work and He will provide the finances. We will remain His faithful vessel for as long as He needs us,” Cristina said.

Anyone interested in the Estradas’ work or would like to donate can contact IBMA at 103 Masonic Park Road, P.O. Box 912, Marietta, Ohio 45750 or call 740-374-5748 or 740-373-8915.