My main goal for embarking on this missions trip was to learn how to effectively initiate a conversation about Christ during patient interactions. I desired to witness the reality of being a Christian and a practicing physician. During the trip, for the periods when I shadowed physicians, I was privileged to observe how the physicians introduced Christ into their conversations with the patients. I saw how they asked the patient if they could say a prayer for them. I also learned about how a nurse always told the patients “God bless you” in Spanish. 

Nonetheless, some internal changes occurred while I was in El Salvador. Being a first year medical student with minimal clinical skills, I was rather unprepared and not confident in my ability to navigate through patient interactions while also maintaining communication with my translator. I remember the anxiety that plagued me on the bus ride to the site on the very first day of clinic. I was anxious, nervous and afraid. It didn’t help that I had a speech impediment; my stuttering exponentially increases in new situations. Being in El Salvador, going to provide healthcare to people from a drastically different culture than I am accustomed to and having minimal clinical skills sent my anxiety through the roof. I was at the end of myself on that bus ride which was a very humbling moment because moments like this point me to Christ and His never ending grace for me in times of limitations.

Upon arriving at the site, things were really chaotic especially in the triage which was my station. I noticed that I became inpatient and almost dismissive. Most patients had up to 5 chief complaints and as I was trying to triage each patient as quickly as I could, they seemed to have a never ending list of complaints. I became exhausted and almost started dismissing the patients’ concerns because they were endless and quite honestly irritating. I had to give all my fatigue and irritation to God. I learned that I wouldn’t be the gracious, loving and welcoming person I aspire to me without the help of God.

This trip brought me to the end of myself mentally, emotionally and physically. I was stretched in countless ways that reminded me that I can’t do anything alone. It is Him who died for my sins and traded my sorrows and pain for joy. It is in Him that I can find peace and strength. I will continually come to the end of myself in this life but in Him, I will always break through my limitations.



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  • Angie Thomas

    Angie Thomas

    This is a beautiful story of God meeting us in our moments of perceived weakness and discomfort. Praising Him for all He accomplished in and through you on this trip!
  • Christine Lowe

    Christine Lowe

    Thank you for sharing your story. Being blessed to have served in medical missions in Haiti for 25 years I can understand and relate to your testimony. My journey in Haiti would be impossible without my constant partner and guide, Jesus. May God continue to bless your journey through medical missions.
  • Paul Jarrett

    Paul Jarrett

    I have experienced the same kind of tangential responses from patients in trying to get a targeted answer to the chief complaint in my area of gynecology. Patients rarely get to talk with a doctor in underserved areas of the world so whatever bothers them in any part of the body may come up in their non-medically oriented mind; many have never have studied health or other basic education. It does take patience to get the answer one is looking for, but turning over our frustrations, impatience, and lack of understanding to God is always the best strategy regardless whether we are ministering in our own culture or or one foreign to ours. Listening is also part of ministering even if there is very little you are able to do for the big problem. But doing something for the patient is also important even if you can't treat everything they are concerned about. And offering to pray with the patient for something you can't treat specifically is giving God an opportunity to do what you can't do. For example, if God subsequently gives a child to an infertile patient with whom you prayed, He gets all the glory.
  • Earline Siler-Young

    Earline Siler-Young

    Beautiful story! I am looking forward to my first medical missions. This is what serving in the medical field is all about.