It is not until we embark on a journey so far from home that we realize how much we have and how in debt we are to serve the world surrounding. Far from our comfort zone in a new area we are called to make a difference. I have been on many mission trips but the most memorable experience was in Dominican Republic through ISL. What an awesome responsibility and opportunity it is to travel to another country and be of service to others less privileged. There is nothing I recommend more to an aspiring physician or anyone wanting to be in the medical field than to get the full hands- on experience through a medical mission trip. I am a better person because of the experience and came back inspired to do more for others. Many times I feel as if the people we helped may have done much more for us than anything we could have ever done for them. I say this because as for me and my incredible colleagues whom I was blessed to meet on that trip, this opportunity only expanded our drive, dedication, work ethic and vision of the positive impact we could have as doctors. We learned that when we forget ourselves and focus on bettering the quality of life of others, we add value to them and each other and it is only then, in my experience, that we feel truly happy.
One of the biggest epiphanies in my life came when I realized that we do not have to wait until the next trip to make a difference. Shortly after coming home, I thought there must be something we can do to better the lives of others. We do not have to graduate as doctors to begin to add value to people’s lives and make a positive impact in our community. I believe God can use us as instruments of service wherever we are blessed to be. I visited nursing homes and clinics and found many things in common between some of those patients and the amazing people we met in our journey overseas. I witnessed how very few visitors some patients get in some of these places. The realization was simple and profound: Not all pain and illness comes from lack of medicine. Not everybody’s hunger comes from lack of food. Some people starve emotionally from feeling as if they are not valued. Some thirst for being listened to and cared for. We must take note that it is our responsibility to uplift and bring out the best in these people, because if we don’t, who will? I believe we are only qualified to lead at the level we are willing to serve and that our greatest moments come from knowing we made a difference.
Jose Agustin Amengual III
Florida Atlantic University
ISL Alumnus and “Think Global, Act Local” Essay Contest 1st place winner