We just finished our 2nd round of exams (praise God!). As usual, leading up to the test week, I felt bogged down by my studies. I was definitely out of balance; it often felt like I had to choose between spending time with God or spending time with my lecture notes.
But the struggle made me all the more grateful to be where I am now. Countless people have asked me, “Why Loma Linda?” especially after finding out I attended a public university in Michigan and a grad institution in Pennsylvania. Aside from the fact that Loma Linda University (LLU) is the school of my dreams, its location in the city of my upbringing, and the opportunities to serve locally and abroad, one reason stands out: LLU makes man whole. I felt that my experiences during this test cycle can attest to that. I’d particularly like to point out how LLU addressed the spiritual aspect of my wholeness:
Every Wednesday, students gather in the University Church for 50 minutes to sing praises, share testimonies, and hear from the Word of God. After three hours of packed-to-the brim lectures prior to chapel, it’s uplifting to listen to words of encouragement and be challenged to live better lives for Christ. Having weekly worship with the whole school like this is such a privilege. I would not be able to have this kind of experience at many other institutions.
LLU has a Week of Prayer once a semester. The theme of the most recent one was “togetherness.” Every day for one week, I was reminded to see others through Jesus’s eyes and was given practical ways to show love to people who are different from me. At the end of the week, we all stood close, held hands, and prayed together. That sense of unity among everyone regardless of religious and cultural background felt like a piece of heaven on earth.
2. Religion Classes
Every Tuesday and Thursday, I attend a class called Art and Science of Whole Person Care. In this class, I learn how to meet the needs of patients at the bedside — how to see them as people with dynamic stories instead of living textbook examples. The class consistently reminds me that there is so much more to medicine than just cramming tons of information into my already-saturated brain. In addition to sharing this information, I have the opportunity to show genuine care and treat a patient as a whole person.
3. Vesper and Church Services
On weekends, it always feels like a million things are going on at the same time. But that just means more options for students to gather with other believers, eat, enjoy nature, or just relax. Throughout the weekend, students can attend various worship services at school, at people’s homes, or in different churches. On Saturdays, I can finally see people who aren’t in my class and have my attention fixed on something other than pathophysiology. This valuable time of rest is like a breath of fresh air in the smog of the week and helps me to re-energize for the next week.
4. Dedicated Alumni
Right after exams, some of my classmates and I spent the golden weekend in Indian Wells, CA, for the annual Adventist Medical Evangelism Network (AMEN) Conference (free of charge for med students!). There I met other LLU students and alumni who were eager to learn how to be better medical missionaries in their practice. Several physicians shared stories of talking about Jesus with their patients. I was inspired by the physicians’ dedication to their work, community, the next generation of physicians, and God.
No place is perfect, but there is definitely something special about this place. On to test cycle 3!