“I have to believe there’s something more..” that was the song of my heart. It was my mantra, the first thoughts that greeted me in the morning. The last thing I thought before I fell asleep. And yet I tried to suppress this feeling, I felt guilty for feeling unsatisfied when I had a roof over my head, three meals a day, I was surrounded by amazing community, and on paper, I had more than I had ever had. Why wasn’t I satisfied? I feverishly began to repent for my lack of gratefulness and as I began to take a deep look into my own heart it dawned on me exactly why this haunted me. At the time, in my very human brain, I thought that in saying “yes” to Jesus, that meant I had to say “no” to everything I wanted for my life before I gave my life back to the Lord. And oh how wildly incorrect I was. You see, my entire life I’ve been attracted to the medical field. As a kid, instead of wanting to be a beautiful princess I wanted to be a fierce superhero. And to me, being involved in medicine in any capacity was the closest human way you could be a superhero. To train your hands to do things that could save/improve lives was captivating to me. And I dreamt of it often. However, I suppressed that part of my heart that beat for medicine. For one, I let society make me feel small, that I was not smart enough or able to do amazing things. Also, in trying to align myself with who God created me to be – I thought that meant starting over from scratch, getting rid of everything that made me who I was – to change into whoever God wanted me to be.
Well, I ended up learning a life-changing lesson in how wildly wrong I was. God, my creator, He who knit me together in my mother’s womb, is the one who intentionally planted certain desires in my heart. He designed me to be drawn to specific things so that I could be used in those areas. And for me, one of those areas was medicine! But wait, I had already made a commitment to missions, how does that work? I thought to myself. But thankfully I was guided to research Medical Missions and what that could look like under the umbrella of YWAM. And thus we have my discovery of the Introduction to Primary Health Care school! Everything fell into place all too perfectly, and next thing I knew I was on a plane to Townsville Australia, to chase after a dream I had long tried to let go of. The first 3 months were intense, we had a different speaker every week teaching us on various topics such as Tropical Diseases, Diagnosis & Treatment, Immunisations, Wound Care, Emergency Response, Mother and Child Health and so much more.
I caught the heart for Primary Health Care very quickly, and on my outreach is when I really fell in love with the art that is intentionally loving people through the avenue of medical services. I got the honour and opportunity to sail on the first voyage of the medical ship the MV YWAM PNG to Papua New Guinea, a nation that captured my heart. Each day was different, we were in a new village every day. We saw thousands of people. It was overwhelming, it was intense, it was tiring and it was absolutely magnificent. The merit of the ship is the vast number of people that it can reach, but the value is in the individual that you can serve. Every clinic day we’d have a huge crowd of people waiting to be seen, but once you had just one patient in front of you, that you could look into their eyes and love on them in such an intentional way, meeting a physical need, educating and shedding light on a lack of knowledge, empowering them, and not just tending to the wounds on their bodies, but taking the time to intentionally cater to their hearts. There’s absolutely nothing like it.
It changed my life to get to be used in such a significant way! I had the answer to my question that used to keep me up at night, wondering if there was something more for me than just the day to day of the American lifestyle. The answer was an overwhelming YES. There is more out there, there is more that I can do and there is more that I can be. The IPHC opened my eyes and awakened a part of my heart I didn’t know was sleeping. I am so thankful I had the courage to say yes to something that scared me and to leap in with both feet, and that God would call me higher.
Haeley is one of our alumni who has a special place in her heart for Medical Missions. Haeley joined the IPHC (Introduction to Primary Health Care) school in 2015 and then staffed an IPHC herself! She is currently now helping to pioneer IPHC at the YWAM New Zealand base.