Meet Mavis Orton—Shalom Birthing Center
“The harvest is plentiful but the workers are few” (Matthew 9:37). This is the verse Mavis Orton heard when God called her into ministry.
At a Methodist missionary rally a young Mavis Orton felt God speaking to her about becoming a missionary nurse. She couldn’t imagine herself becoming a nurse so she joined the Red Cross instead and worked as a volunteer in a hospital on weekends. As we all know we can’t run from God’s plan and God wanted Mavis to be a missionary nurse. She was convicted of God’s calling on her life some years later, and at the age of 26 she started her training to become a nurse.
Mavis was in contact with Overseas Missions Fellowship (O.M.F.) and planned on going to Thailand in 1966 to serve as a missionary nurse. However her mother had a stroke and Mavis decided to stay at home to look after her and work in a maternity hospital in town. After her parents died, some 20 years later, she applied to O.M.F. again but was told she was too old. While looking through In Evangelism Today magazine she read an ad that went like this, “Wanted, mature, hard working Christians over the age of 55 to work in the Philippines with Action International Ministries.” Although she was not 55 years of age she applied and was accepted. Mavis Orton arrived in the Philippines in June of 1986.
Observing the bad practices of midwives and hilots (self-taught midwives), the high mortality rate of mothers giving birth and newborn babies, and the poor not being able to afford any kind of pre-natal care, delivery, and post natal care, she knew she had to do something. God used her past skills and put it on her heart to open a birthing center. In 1991 Mavis moved to Antipolo, outside Metro Manila, and rented a large 2-bedroom house that was used as her residence and a clinic/birthing center. She called it Shalom Christian Bahay Paanakan, meaning a peaceful home where babies are born. Mavis provided parenting clinics, prenatal check-ups and delivery, as well as sharing the gospel to all the women that came for care. Eight babies were born a month when she first opened her doors. This number grew rapidly. Today 120-150 babies are delivered each month in that house. It was apparent that the house was not sufficient and a larger facility was needed. Funds were raised and at the end of 2005 they bought 2 lots of land with plans to build. By God’s grace the new birthing center is in the finishing stages and is expected to open in March 2013.
Queen Elizabeth II of England honored Mavis Orton with the distinguished award of “Member of the British Empire” in 2007 for her outstanding ministry among the poor. Action International, local dignitaries and special guests honored Mavis on her 80th birthday this past November. God has blessed Mavis Orton’s hard work.
Let us honor her with our prayers and financial support if you feel so led. What a blessing Mavis Orton is to so many lives!