In June Mavis Orton received an MBE from the Queen for ‘services to midwifery in the Philippines’. She was accompanied to Buckingham Palace by ACTION founder Doug Nichols and others.
Mavis has worked amongst the poor communities in the Philippines for over 20 years. She trained in Birmingham and retired as an NHS midwife in 1986, but then felt called by God to missionary service. Having applied to several missionary agencies and been turned down on age grounds, she was accepted by ACTION.
Following language study in Lipa City, she moved north to Manila. For two years she was involved in medical and evangelistic outreaches with ACTION partner Christian Growth Ministries and other community development teams among the poor.
Since December 1991, she has run a natal/maternity home in Antipolo, a large city 15 miles east of Manila.
Mavis, who is now in her seventies, continues with day-to-day midwifery work, but is also praying that God will provide funds for a larger and better equipped birthing home.
Her work is now supporting over 1500 births from extremely poor mothers each year. Many of these babies are born in Mavis’ own house – Shalom Christian Bahay Paanakan (‘birthing home’). They would otherwise probably have been born in the mothers’ home without professional help, but with the local, spiritist birth attendant.
It is hardly surprising to learn that many women in the Philippines describe confinement as having ‘one foot in the grave’.