Exploring Health and Healthcare Systems in South Africa
Summer I, 2017
Have you ever felt a calling? A passion? Something that pulls on your heartstrings due north just enough to make you want to pursue its direction. Something that beams its promise so radiantly that it becomes impassable. It should be realized with such intensity, there resides no ambiguity it is a spiritual calling. My name was called; I answered.
The pull on my heart wasn’t leading me north…but rather across an ocean to an entirely different continent.
Specifically, South Africa.
I felt the burning desire in my heart toward this trip, but how could I go? I come from a small town, one that has a high probability of having a greater population of cattle than people. I haven’t experienced diversity. The furthest I’ve ever been away from my family has been moving to college. If 2.5 hours is challenging, how could I handle the 8,696 miles that would be between us?
I haven’t been called to be comfortable. I’ve been called to make an impact. To completely, irrationally, undauntedly trust in what appears impossible.
The biggest challenge I faced resided in my own self-doubt. You see, this is a highly selective healthcare focused trip. Only twelve students are permitted on the 3-week study abroad program. I am a pre-nursing major. Key word “Pre-“. How could I possibly have anything to offer if I haven’t even been accepted into my program? How would the professor even view me as a potential asset? How would I even have the capacity to help anyone in need? But God doesn’t call the equipped, he equips the called.
I received placement as one of the twelve students for the trip.
I used to pray that God would help those in need. To feed the hungry, heal the sick, do this, do that. I believed that prayer changed things, but now I realize prayer changes people. It changes us and, therefore, we change things. Now I’m praying for strength, for the guidance toward whatever I’m supposed to do, or whatever I can do during my study abroad experience in South Africa.
My potential impact lies far outside the comfort of my country, my home. This opportunity will grant me a new perspective, expose me to a new culture, and grant me a greater appreciation. And it begins in the heart of South Africa.