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Medical missions

Health care students meet needs in Border clinic

While many of their peers spent a leisurely weekend at the lake or grilling burgers in the backyard, eight medical and nursing students from several Houston-area schools staffed a clinic at a church in the lower Rio Grande Valley.

medical hinton loh400A.J. Hinton from the Baylor College of Medicine and Jonash Loh from the University of Texas Medical School-Houston talk in the sanctuary. “We are able to connect the churches with the community,” said Andy Dennis, director of the Baptist Student Ministry at Rice University and the University of Texas Medical School at Houston. “A great way to do that is with medicine. The goal is help pastors connect with communities and see the church in action.”

Dennis also provided students a chance to use their gifts to share Christ’s love.

“I wanted to give students an opportunity to serve the ‘least of these’—to catch a vision for missions,” he said.

The group set up a clinic at Centro Familiar Cristiano Emanuel in Mission that included a children’s play area, blood-pressure assessment, consultation with a doctor and a pharmacy.

Collin Basham, a nursing student at Texas Woman’s University-Houston, said he likes being able to use his skills in the missions setting. He spent the day checking patients’ blood pressure.

“I feel really good,” Basham said. “I can (help) heal them spiritually and physically. I can evangelize and give advice on how to live a healthier life.”

medical basham400Collin Basham from Texas Woman’s University checks a patient’s blood pressure. (PHOTOS/Courtesy of Andy Dennis)Jaclyn Bravo, a doctoral candidate in molecular and human genetics at the Baylor College of Medicine, helped in the children’s play area.

“I learned that my Spanish is painfully awkward,” she said. “But the kids didn’t care, as they listened to whatever I was able to share with them.”

Bravo hopes to participate in future mission trips.

“I really enjoyed the time to reflect and serve and hope to be able to join again in the future,” she said. “We all hope to see this effort grow and become a tool that the local churches can use to reach out to the community that they serve.”

Vanessa Quintanilla, who coordinated the trip through Texas Baptists’ River Ministry, said the students impressed her.

“They were very in tune with everything,” she said. “They were spending time with the people and getting to know them.”

Students humbly adapted to every situation, Quintanilla noted.

“They were a blessing at exactly the right time,” she said. “They have servants’ hearts—showing love though everything that they were doing.”

The community responded positively to the students, she noted.

“People called me and thanked me for the group that came,” Quintanilla said. “They saw that love.”

Bravo hopes future trips include more students and nonstudents, additional health information and more ways to share Christ.

“In the future, we would like to conduct a more extensive triage, to include a time to get spiritual information and opportunities to ask how to pray for the patients,” she said. “We would like to create informational pamphlets to distribute information and recipes for alternatives to their current diet.”

       
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