Nathan (center) with Dan Buttry and Ty Choate
Before coming on the IGNITE trip to Haiti, I have always asked myself, “What do I want to do with my life?” Before I entered college, I finally settled on studying medicine to hopefully become a doctor. I figured that it was worth the extra effort in school to live a comfortable life with a steady income, plus I was always interested in health and the human body. However, I was still not completely satisfied with my career choice. Throughout my first year in college, I quickly found out that medicine is a not an area of study I can simply cruise through. To reach medical school truly takes devotion and motivation. Because I seemed to lack these two things, my first year in college proved to be a drag academically. I always questioned myself if this hard work was worth the comfortable life I sought after. To what end was I putting in all my effort? This question was on my mind as applied for the IGNITE trip to Haiti. I did not think too highly of the opportunity, but I applied nonetheless thinking that no harm could be done by sending in the application. However, after the IGNITE experience, I can say with confidence that this trip was something not to be taken lightly, for it gave me a clear vision as to what my calling in life is.
During our trip in Haiti, we stayed at the UCNH (Universete Chretienne du Nord d'Haiti) in Limbe. This was where we met Dr. Steven James and his wife Nancy. Dr. Steven is a missionary doctor in Limbe where he travels around to different clinics in the area to treat simple illnesses and ailments or to direct patients to a more specialized doctor. Our team was given the amazing privilege to travel to the different clinics with Dr. Steve and experience a glimpse of the life of a missionary doctor. While visiting various clinics, one thing I noticed in was Dr. Steve's relationship with all the patients. When Dr. Steve and his patients would meet, they would greet each other like old friends and he would continue to treat his patients like friends during the entire meeting. God's love seemed to radiate out of him with every patient he met.
Dr. Steve's lifestyle reflected his commitment and love for people, and it was this love that allowed him to give himself up for the sake of others. Dr. Steve has a doctorate degree in family medicine. He could easily be working in the United States and be receiving a hefty pay while living a comfortable life. Instead, he gave this up and came to Haiti where he receives money only through the donations of churches and organizations. He spent all those hard years in school studying not so that he could fulfill his own aesthetic pleasures, but so that he could use his skills to help others in need. Dr. Steve's sacrifice for the people of Haiti pulled me out of my own swamp of being unsure about what to do with my life. It instilled me a new passion as to why I want to study medicine. I want to study so I can be a servant and expand the Kingdom of God. Many times, people have told me that I need to live for something bigger than myself, that I need to live for Christ. However, before the trip to Haiti, I was never really able to comprehend what these words meant. Now, after I have spent time with Dr. Steve, who truly showed me what it means to give up oneself for others, I understand a little bit more of my calling in life. I want to become the servant that God called me to be.