TEAMS for Medical Missions
PO Box 215 ~ Macungie, PA 18062
My first missions trip ever was to Jamaica at age 21. I stayed with a family and gained so much cross-cultural experience. While on that trip I visited a local pharmacy and talked to the pharmacist. She encouraged me to consider returning to Jamaica someday to work as a pharmacist. Hmmm… I was determined to serve as a missionary after completing pharmacy school as I had dreamed of combining pharmacy and missions. In 1993, I contacted the largest missionary agency in the world with the intention of applying for their missionary two-year missionary program. They thanked me for my inquiry but said they would not know what to do with a pharmacist. I was crushed. At that time pharmacists rarely served as medical missionaries. Doctors and nurses were much more utilized. I sought God’s will for what next steps I should take.
I figured if I could not be a missionary overseas then I would serve in an underserved area of the US. A short time later I joined the US Public Health Service, and I was assigned to work with the Indian Health Service. I worked in Oklahoma with the Cherokees for the next several years. It was an amazing job and I learned about so many unusual diseases that occur in poorer populations. In 2000, I transferred with the USPHS to the Federal Bureau of Prisons so that I could relocate to NC. Prison was an interesting place to work. There I learned about setting healthy boundaries and treating all people with respect. None of these experiences were wasted as God was preparing me for the mission field.
In October 2003, on a mission’s trip to Russia my heart was broken for the lost. I then decided to seek a full-time missionary position. My job with the government was rewarding, but I could not share my faith. Medical missions evolved greatly over the decade that I was gaining experience. By then there were missionary pharmacists serving all over the world. After a 6-month search for the right missionary position God paired me with TEAMS for Medical Missions. Becoming a missionary was the best career decision I have ever made. The combination of missions and pharmacy gives me great joy. Now, I am enjoying sharing my passion with pharmacy school students from Highpoint University. It is a privilege to introduce them to missions and mentor them. I hope they will develop a desire to serve God in a greater way and consider volunteering on short term mission trips as part of their career. I love paying it forward!