CEDARVILLE — Traveling the world is a dream of many. But for a team of 11 Cedarville University students on a medical missions trip, that journey happened in just six days in Clarkston, Ga., a city landlocked and called “one of the most diverse square miles” in the United States.
In Clarkston, 90 different people groups live in the city, and, although many have jobs, most lack health insurance.
During the Cedarville students’ trip to Clarkston, they partnered with Encompass World Partners, a ministry that serves 34 countries, working at a clinic to provide free medical services. They visited a Mosque and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta. At the CDC, they viewed an exhibit on the Ebola virus and held a health screening at Refuge Coffee Co., a nonprofit business that provides jobs for refugees.
Serving this unique community were second-year professional pharmacy students Sarah Berman, Sarah Piraino, Madeline Meister, SangYo Kim and Sylvester Sarpong; sophomore nursing students Erica Rosner and Priscilla Songate; first-year professional pharmacy student Andrea Adegoke; junior linguistics major Rachel Fletcher; Linea Piraino, registered nurse; and Dr. Brenda Pahl, assistant professor of pharmacy practice.
“Each morning, before the clinic began seeing patients, all of the volunteers came together for prayer,” said Pahl. “Our prayer was that we would be able to serve those in need and be Jesus’ hands and feet.”
The team not only ministered to the physical needs, they also offered spiritual guidance to the many patients they assisted.
“One focus of Encompass World Partners is to minister to people in the United States who may return to their home countries in the future,” Pahl said. “Throughout our time together, we were able to learn more about these people groups so that we could minister to them.”
The students reflected positively on their experience serving the people of Clarkston and recommended that the missions opportunity be continued.
“Pharmacy is one of the most flexible careers in the world and has a variety of career opportunities,” Kim said. “I believe that being a pharmacist is a great chance to be involved in helping people in the world in a variety of ways, especially in the mission field.”
“The joy I had serving the people at Clarkston echoed the passion that God has placed on my heart to serve the less fortunate,” Sarpong said. “God works in mysterious ways, and the skills He taught me in Clarkston will one day be utilized when I return home to Ghana.”