At the end of an extremely eventful semester, what better way is there to finish the school year other than the incredible opportunity to spend a month overseas doing the work you love? A group of four Cedarville nursing students, including me, left the day after graduation and traveled across the world to spend four weeks in the Philippines!
For my Global Outreach trip, I spent a month in the Philippines and worked at various clinics around the Antipolo area. My team and I lived in the apartment directly above Shalom Christian Bahay Paanakan, which was the primary ministry that we worked with. Some of the other clinics that we rotated to included partnering pediatric, med-surge, and maternity clinics.
After hearing about and anticipating this trip for a year, our team immediately jumped into the beautiful culture and was ready for work at the clinics! Working at Shalom and the other clinics was an incredibly unique experience, including the chance to “catch” babies during delivery!
Every day we spent at the different clinics was full of Gospel, care, love, and amazing opportunities! One of the most important values that the missionaries prioritized is the fact that even as medical professionals, the most important part of their work is focused on sharing the Gospel with all people. At the beginning and end of every single task, we would pray with all of the patients. Before patients were even brought back for their pre-natal appointments, they would be led in a Gospel-focused Bible study and connected to a local church so they may grow more.
All the patients and other people I got to interact with there were full of so much joy and love they wanted to consistently share with you. At times, there were struggles in connecting with them because of our language and culture barrier, but there were also a lot of times that the Holy Spirit interceded on our behalf and let a genuine connection form. The overflowing generosity that we were met with from the locals was truly humbling and a picture of how God calls us to sacrificially love one another.
It was consistent in the neighborhoods we served in that the people had very little they could call their own but were still quick to offer what they did have to others. It was very humbling to be called out by the fact that we are blessed abundantly but have a lot more hesitancy with giving. They fully rely on God daily to meet all their needs to live, and it was a great testament to what complete surrender and faithfulness looked like.
The experiences and conversations that my team had with both the missionaries and locals gave us a lot to think about and reflect on. Here are a few things that I learned, was reminded of, and convicted by:
– God’s plan is immensely better than any of our expectations of what will happen, even if it’s completely different than what we think it’s supposed to be.
– When faced with a change in plans, or feeling like you may just be getting in the way of what’s already going on, find new ways to serve those around you.
– The church needs to be the center of even medical ministry and we should be working together in unity to help make the most effective community.
– Even though we are doing medical missions, the ultimate goal is to make the Gospel known to the people we care for, since that is biggest need.
– Do not ignore the vital mission of serving in the community that God currently has placed you in.
– The impact you have on a short-term mission trip may not always be obvious but do not let that discourage you from thinking that the Lord is not effectively using all your actions for His will.
– Find joy in rest and let go of trying to align life with what you want; you will clearly see the good that God has in store if you just stop and listen.
God uses every single moment of our day-to-day lives for impact in accordance with His plan. When coming back from a short-term trip to the international mission field, it is vital that we do not ignore what we have been taught or experienced and make a conscious effort to include it in our everyday lives. Supporting our international missionaries from where we are and being invested in the community that you are presently in, needs to be step one and a foundational part of our commission as Christians.
One way I plan to integrate what I have learned on this trip into my life now is to step up to the opportunities that come my way to serve humbly. Even though it is my goal to become a long-term international missionary, that is not what I am yet. Right now, I am on mission where God has placed me to minister for this season of my life. As Christians, we are commanded to live life in pursuit of the Gospel and the making of disciples. That doesn’t only apply to certain people, or at certain times of your life; it is the cross that we must pick up and bear every single day of our lives.
Moving forward, I will continue to try to find ways to serve my community at home, school, and church as God leads. I look forward to the day an international culture becomes my own community, but until then my eyes are focused on the work that God is doing at this present time and place.
Major & Year: Nursing, class of 2024
Favorite Bible Verse: Psalm 30:11-12
Favorite Class at CU: Pediatric Nursing