Bienvenue

Hello, just wanted to write a quick update on my time here.

Africa is definitely different from what I was expecting. I don’t have much time so here’s a run down on what I’ve found:

The weather is like the Pacific NW…or what I assume the PNW to be…it’s foggy here since it’s rainy season

I guess I can’t help but compare Cambodia to Africa, culture is super different. I was talking to someone about their interactions with foreigners. It’s a bit cold. They are very exclusive, and they are very direct. They said that it may be due to their history and how they were very oppressed by the colonies. Very understandable I gues. But as a feeler, it’s hard to not take it personally sometimes. Their coldness, their directness, I wonder why they can’t be a bit more emotional and jsut crack me a smile. SOMETHING! And at times I want to be cold to them back, but then I have to rememeber that they don’t this on purpose and that’s just how the culture is.

The worst part is at night. I can’t fall asleep because of jet lag, so I’m just up, in my bed. And the lightbulb to my room popped 2 days ago, so I can’t even turn on the light and read. I and just there….wide awake….scared because I found cockroaches in the kitchen, and there was something growling at me when I went in at night (found out rats live there during the night)…hahah yes…..this is Africa I suppose. But that’s the worst. Although, the past two night, I’ve gotten some journaling done and some reading done as well.

My mac charger broke the day I got here, so I dno’t even have a computer. I’m currently on Nadia’s right now, so if you guys don’t get updates from me you know why…Yes…who knew that not having internet makes you feel so deprived and…out of tuoch with the world? But at least I have my phone, which I need to reconnect to the internet every 30 seconds…lol Is it worth is…..I don’t even know.

Anyways, that’s been my life so far. It’s been very difficult with what I just said. Oh, also because my host family is leaving soon and so they don’t really take care of me. I don’t mind too much, but with all the disconnect that I’ve experienced with the internet, and the lights, and the people, it would be nice to have company. Oh well….I don’t know what it is that I keep putting myself into situations like this–first Cambodia then Cameroon…..why do I like to make it hard on myself?

Anyways, reading DoA’s chapter on Jesus’ childhood on diligence and effort (pg 72) really helped. I try and repeat it before each day to try and smile, even though I know that all I will get are people who will roll their eyes at me.

I changed a dressing for a lady at the hospital, and I thought how this was the best thing ever. Even though I spend the rest of the day taking histories or pressing the “on” button on a BP machine, those moments are where I’m reminded that medicine is worth it–when I’m on my knees, cleaning out the granulomatous tissue from her wound and putting iodine on it. Holding her hand and blowing on the wound when I put alcohol on it, then carefully wrapping it up. It’s a good feeling, to know that you’ve helped someone like, and they are beyond grateful. The lady kept repeating my name while I was doing it, and kept saying thank you after it was all done. All I cuold do was blush hahaha. ew, so girly…

Anyways, prayers please. I want to make the most of my trip here. It’s the hardest late at night though when it’s hard to keep reign on your thoughts.

Oh! And also, guess who’s the newest member of the Buea SDA Church choir? YEEEEE….this girl

I know that I don’t have time to be writing in here right now, but I feel like I need some release.

I know that there are a lot of people praying for me, and in the beginning I desperately asked for prayers. But it’s come to the point now, where I feel like just asking for prayers lessens what I need or how I feel.

It’s hard to see people right now. Especially my classmates.

I know that God is with me, and I accept His will for my life. I can hold onto faith, but does it really need to be this hard? Does my morale have to be beaten down to this? I can praise God for everything He is doing in my life, even the failures, but, again, does it really need to be this hard?

I am so burnt out.

Monday. Keep it together until Monday…

This helped a lot: http://veraicona.org/2014/02/26/truth/

4 Days Before Armageddon

Yeah…a bit dramatic, but…

So, why is it that in these precious minutes before the storm hits full throttle, I find myself in this all-too-comfortable “new post” layout on WordPress?

I’m so scared. I am so anxious, and I’m so frightened. I was reviewed past WordPress blog posts, trying to find one that wrote along the lines of, “OMG, I’M IN MEDICAL SCHOOL. NEVER FORGET THIS IS THE BEST THING TO HAPPEN EVER!” But alas, I did not find one…Note to self, write down more those times when I’m thankful.

I was talking to Noemi yesterday, and legit, I can say this with no abandon, but I have never worked so hard for anything in my entire life this past year, and especially these past weeks.

In this world of medicine, there is no conclusiveness, no ending…there’s always something more to do, another practice question, somewhere, you can do. There is always something to learn, always some way that some person is ahead of the game. So, in this sea of pressure and anxiety, and self-consciousness where do you find peace?

It’s scary how much just one year of medical school can change you.

I ask myself how I could possibly do this. How is it that this can be achieved with merely 24 hours in a day?

I was just talking to someone, and he asked me, “What can I do to make you happy right now?” I was really surprised because we were talking about something light, but I guess the stress is written all over my face without me even knowing. Literally, when I ask people to pray for me, I’m so tempted to grab their shoulder and follow up with, “No, but I, like, REALLY want you to pray. Like, kneeling, pray for me.”

Yeah…May this post be a witness to itself. If I get out of this alive, it will be huge. If anything, I know that I have tenacity; it’s what got me into medical school and kept me trucking through undergrad. Tenacity. I would like to think this is a spiritual gift, etched into me by previous practice.

Okay, Esther. Peace….Breathing exercises taught to us by Dr. Lamberton…

Even after all of this, there is nothing else that I would do. It’s this hardship that makes this worth it, and makes me feel so privileged that GOD , who knows my weakness to the fullest, believed that I can do this. Even with all of this, my life is so enviable. May I do it the justice, then, by putting my all into this work.

Okay, I feel a lot better. But seriously, prayers please. It would mean the world to me. Thanks~

i love this =)

Life Under the Big Top

“Let someone love you just the way you are – as flawed as you might be, as unattractive as you sometimes feel, and as unaccomplished as you think you are. To believe that you must hide all the parts of you that are broken, out of fear that someone else is incapable of loving what is less than perfect, is to believe that sunlight is incapable of entering a broken window and illuminating a dark room.” – Marc Hack

saw this on my friend’s fb page and wanted to share with the wordpress world. beautiful words for beautiful people!

ok, time to stop procrastinating…

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An Inside Look

This week has been very eventful, especially this weekend, so yeah….let me just get into it then.

I guess I could see the foundations cracking every so slowly, but it all caved in on Thursday night. Post-Yorba Linda Leadership dinner, I came back home and everything just crushed me. It was weird, so out of the blue. In that moment, I needed Christine, so I e-mailed her. I hadn’t really talked to her about things that were going on with me for a long time, but in that time when I just needed a friend, I just ran to her.

It’s been a pretty eventful 2014 so far. I’ve heard a lot of things about people around me, really sad things. I’ve heard other things around me, hurtful things. And then there are other things, things that have forced me to step back and evaluate who I thought I was. I would take the course in saying, “I have no reason to complain. There are so many people that have it worse than me.” But that doesn’t change the fact that it still affected me.

Anyways, Friday. I got a response from Christine. Very very sweet. I never regret going to her, she knows me so well at this point. She told me she loved me and that she would always be there, and that she was proud of me; it all made me cry lol

That day, I was also talking to Edna and she invited me to her church service that night. I was saying that I would maybe come, depending if Grace wanted to go with me, but after telling her that I had never watched Passion of the Christ, she said, “Esther, I really think you should come. I wouldn’t normally say this, but I really  think you would like it.” So then I went, watched the movie and joined their vesper service.

It was awesome. It was amazing. I have always had a hard time taking the Bible literally. Like, it’s been hard not associating it with just some quotes or stories that act as compasses for your life. But seeing the film, seeing it acted out, it made me realize that Jesus was an actual person, that actually meant us to do what He said. He REALLY wants us to love our neighbor, He really is telling me that those that are brokenhearted are blessed, He does love me. And maybe it’s a “duh” thing to you, but I didn’t get it until now. That moment when Mary was running to Jesus, and there’s that flashback to when Mary would run to him when he was a child, totally broke me. As a mother, how could she handle that pain? How? Then after He’s been beaten and ridiculed, for Him to still love his abusers…it was powerful to see. And in the light of all this, of course I should, no, I want to love, because He loved me like that.

Saturday, went to church and it was really nice. Then in the afternoon I went back to Edna’s church for their Passion Experience which is like an interactive look at the events leading up to the cross. They give you headsets as you walk through different rooms, designed to look like various places in the Bible (the garden of Gethsemane, Pilate’s court, the upper room, etc.). It was really nice. At one of the scenes, I couldn’t relate to Peter and how he felt as he denied Jesus 3 times. I then, pretended Sally was Jesus, and how I would have felt then. One of the people that I love most in the world, the person that I want to protect and not want anything bad to happen to…Sally, whom I will fiercely fight for till the end, beaten and flogged, then me, denying her. Each time I denied her, my heart just sank. I can’t imagine the guilt Peter must have felt. If I felt that way towards Sally, how would he have felt towards Jesus?

After the experience, I saw Edna and Shelly waiting for me. Edna had come to talk about our experience. She asked us what we thought and how we felt about it. I don’t know why but at the end, I broke down and told them something that was bothering me. It was weird, I’m not very open, but I’m not sure what it was about that time. Shelly took my hand and Edna came to my side. They were like two angels next to me. Shelly said one of the kindest things that I have ever heard, she said how despite my past, that she thought I was a good person, and that I turned out really well. It was something that I have always wanted to hear. And she gave it to me, God finally gave me those words. She cried with me too, it was so sweet. It was like she was hurting with me, and I loved her for it. With Shelly I felt the sweet remedy of the Gospel, with Edna, I got the fierce defense of a sister.

This is more like a diary entry, but I’m writing it to remember it. I have never experienced the cross in this way, its reality, and I don’t ever want to forget it. From Thursday when everything was caving on top of me, to Friday when I received Christine’s sweet e-mail that reminded me I have people by my side and then Good Friday worship when I got to see the reality of the cross played out. Then to Saturday, today, where that reality was again reminded and reinforced by the Passion experience, then to trusting my friends who then didn’t tell me I was exaggerating or being petty, but hurt with me. All ending with this moment here, coming back from Jeremy’s house, laughing with my M1 class and Kiwon and Grace. It’s been a memorable weekend.

Things happen in life that are really bad. You can be stunned by people’s inhumanity and uncompassion, yet the cross still stands. Jesus expects us to love, forgive, to be happy, they’re not just words to make us feel better, they’re things for us to practice. The Bible isn’t just a book of proverbs, but something that is true.

I guess that’s why I’m writing this post. I haven’t written something like this in a while, but I wanted to say that if you’re feeling low, know that the cross is the greatest hope. And that the words of the Bible aren’t just sweet nothings, they hold weight. Why? Because Jesus died for those beliefs, it actually happened. He proved the validity and truth of His words by His death. And what was the greatest embarrassment, most humiliating, most painful thing to have ever have happened became the moment of greatest grace, power, love, and triumph.

Jesus loves me, and He loves you too. Believe it.

Everything, in Light of Jesus…

In those times when I feel like I’ve been wronged…

In those times when I don’t see justice being served…

When I feel so overcome by frustration because “there is more?”…

When it feels like the bad guys win…

In the darkness of it all…

I need to remember that Jesus came for people like me.

 

If I were alive in the times when Jesus was on Earth, He would have come to me. Even if it was out of the way, He would have made sure to come to me.

“I know it’s not fair, but take heart. I know it doesn’t feel like it, but the Kingdom of God belongs to you.

 

Are you heavy-ladened? Stressed? Do you feel outcasted? Played? Embarrassed? Are you hurt? Do you feel like you’re doing right, but your enemies are getting the gold? Do you feel worthless, self-conscious, like a wallflower? Do you feel ugly or insane? Are you pained? Have you gone through heartbreak, failure, loss, or betrayal? Do you feel like it’s too hard to have faith? Is it too much to even start thinking about?

He knows how hard it is, and that’s why, He came for people like you and me.

Take Heart

We often place …

We often place Salvation as the finish line–“How must I act in order to be saved? What can I do/give/not do in order that I can be saved? I’ve done ______, is that still okay?” When in reality, Salvation is not the goal, it is the beginning–“I am saved. What implications does that have for my life now? How must I now life my life? Does my life reflect the grace that I have been given?”

Discussion in Loma Linda University’s Religion Class, Wholeness for Physicians