Monday, May 19, 2014

How I overcame my fears of the doctor

They called me doctor. The name I used to tremble at was now mine. While I wouldn't dare answer to a call like that in America, to the poor, distressed Peruvians, I was one of their doctors; their helpers, their hopes for healing, and their source of medication.

I overcame my latrophobia (fear of doctors) in a strange way: in a small place,a jungle town in Pucallpa, Peru. It all started when I accepted the call to go as a student missionary. I was nineteen years old and I felt God telling me to step out in faith and serve Him in a foreign land. As I looked through the mission calls, my heart identified with AMOR: a clinically based medical location in Pucallpa that provided free medical care and children's programming oportunities in the Amazon River Basin. As I looked at the previous missionaries' blogs of their experiences, I found all sorts of stories about giving stitches, shots, and assisting with minor surgeries with the help of an experienced doctor.

Why was God calling me to AMOR Projects when I hated the medical field? Could I really learn to give shots, take blood sugar levels, and give stitches? Would I even be helpful there? Could I overcome my fears? Many of these questions haunted me and challenged me to rethink my commitment to service. Yet in the end, I got on a plane ride and said “Here I am, if I can help these people at all medically, it will be all God and not me.”

As I got to Peru, I was nervous about what my time would be like and if I could really do it, but when I arrived, I was welcomed by many loving people and fellow missionaries that were extremely encouraging. Together we were trained by a Peruvian doctor some basic medical skills such as how to take blood pressures, different types of mosquito diseases, and how to give injections. When it came time to learn about shots, we needed to practice on each other. I was so nervous that I started crying, because I was afraid I would hurt the other person. All of my fellow missionaries started encouraging me and cheering for me. I prayed to God that He would help me and He did. I did it! I gave my first shot!

As I worked in the clinic and had to give shots quite often and play the role of doctor, many times I felt the pain of my patients as I treated them. Their tears hurt my heart. I felt their struggles and their fears. I understood the pain they were going through. By giving them painful shots or local anesthesia I was doing the best thing that I could for them. Even though it hurt for the time, I knew I was hurting to heal.

Helping play the role of doctor took away all of my previous fears of doctor visits and clinics. Doctors work hard to do the best thing they can to heal our bodies. Most of all, I remember my heavenly Father: the Great Physician. We need to trust Him with all of our lives and not be afraid to follow Him and let us heal us. He knows all about us and understands our broken hearts and pains. Sometimes to heal our wounds, He must break us so that He can remake us in a different way.

When we cry out and fight in pain or tears, He cries for us in prayer. He is full of compassion and love. He takes great care of us and always knows the best way to heal us.

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