Last weekend I went to the Mobilizing Medical Missions conference in Houston.
I heard of it through one of my tridelt sisters, Georgia Grace. Her dad is Dr. Paul Osteen, a medical missionary. Georgia Grace grew up in Kenya where Paul was running a hospital. She has a seriously amazing story. Her uncle is Joel Osteen, the head pastor of the Lakewood Church. The conference was at Lakewood, which just happens to be the biggest church in America. It was about the size of the Century Link Center in Omaha, if not bigger.
Georgia Grace’s dad was hosting the conference, so we got to sit with her in the VIP section. I felt super legit. We heard so many great speakers, including ebola survivor Kent Brantly and Love Does author Bob Goff. We were definitely the youngest people there. Most people were well established surgeons or recent medical school graduates. We attended sessions like “how to set an open fracture in a third world country” and “the surgical removal of intestinal parasites”. We were a little out of our depth, but listening to the medical conversation happening around us was indescribable.
One speaker was Aileen, an 85 year old nurse who has served in the Middle East for 60 years. 60 YEARS!!! She told stories where she thought she was going to die, but the people she served loved her so much that they came to her rescue. When she would go out to the pharmacy by herself, she was always shadowed. At first she thought her shadow was planning to attack her, and she was brave enough to turn around and confront him. He responded that the was following her to make sure she made it back to the clinic safely. Everyone in her little town calls her Auntie. She taught us that serving in undeveloped countries has risks, but when you are purely going to help people, your people will protect you. She was only in America for the conference and to catch up with her grandchildren, and then she was going back to the Middle East.This lady couldn’t walk up three stair by herself, but she was going back to continue to help. Someone asked her why she was going back, and she simply responded, “I’m not going back. I’m going home.”
Most of the speakers were powerful surgeons who are humble and Godly enough to turn down high paying jobs in America to start up hospitals in developing nations and work for little to no pay. Most of them don’t just go on mission trips, they live among the people they serve. They raise their families in these countries. They continue to give up the comforts that we have here in the US to serve the populations that need it most. These people are truly inspiring. The conference lit a fire inside me that I didn’t know I had. I didn’t know I had an urge to be a medical missionary, but now I know it’s something I want to do. I don’t just want to go to a undeveloped country and play with cute African children. I don’t want to go to China with a stack of Bibles and a mission to force my faith down other peoples’ throats. I want to use my passion for medicine to heal peoples’ bodies. Through healing, I hope to show people the kindness and love of God, and maybe their spirits will heal too.
I know its probably going to be a long time before I can go on a medical mission trip. First, I actually need to have some useful medical knowledge. I also need to have enough money because there is no way in hell that my parents will support me going to a third world country. I’m going to have to do it on my own. I feel like I need to start serving here before I decide to go anywhere else. I am already volunteering at St. Joe’s. Changing adult diapers is pretty humbling work, but I’d like to do more. I’m going to look into opportunities to serve my community right here in BCS before I look to serve another community.
I won’t lie, I think it would be so cool to work in a foreign country. But I’ve travelled and lived overseas, so it won’t be my first rodeo. I want to go so badly because of all the statistics and maps I saw over the weekend. People desperately need healthcare workers. In some parts of Africa and South East Asia, the patient to doctor ratio is as bad as 50,000:1. We have the vaccines and the technology to help these people, to save their lives, but they aren’t getting any medical care because of where they live. So many people die not only from rare infectious diseases and tropical parasites, but also broken bones, child birth, and the poor sanitation. These deaths are simply due to not having proper medical care, and that is something I can give. I save lives. I can make a huge impact on the world if I’m in the right spot.
I feel like I need to do something. I want to go right now. I can feel a fire burning inside of me. I want to help all of the people who are suffering because of a situation they were born into. I’ve never felt this way before. The conference ended three days ago but my urge hasn’t dampened.
I think I found my passion.