Dentist on a mission

NATASHA BECKLES,

Added 04 November 2012

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DR LOIS APPLEWHITE  is on a mission to cater to the physical and spiritual needs of disadvantaged people. And come January,  she hopes to participate  in a medical discipleship training programme  at Youth With A Mission’s University of Nations  in Kona, Hawaii. As she explained  to the SUNDAY SUN, the University of Nations is a “medical mission school” which trains young  people to combine their professional skills with their love for God  to reach out to people  who are disadvantaged. Although the 25-year-old dentist always felt  a strong desire to help others, her decision to join the programme at this stage resulted from  her unexpected failure  of a critical exam. Her younger sister Laura, who has been  affiliated with Youth With A Mission for the past two to three years. “She actually did  the discipleship training school at the Youth With A Mission here in Barbados, and then after she finished that she stayed  on as staff for about a year and a half,” she explained. Laura travelled  to Hawaii for a conference soon after the medical school had been established and she strongly recommended that Lois participate. Although the former Queen’s College student’s interest was piqued, she was still a dental student at the University of the West Indies St Augustine Campus and didn’t have the time to participate. Upon her return  to Barbados, the valedictorian-elect was surprisingly unsuccessful in the local dental  council exam. “I was really depressed after that. That was compounded by some personal issues I was going through at the same time, and I just didn’t know what I was going to do for the next six months because they [offer] the exam every six months,” she said. While Lois was “depressed in bed all  the time”, Laura looked  on the brighter side and reminded her sibling  that she now had the time to participate in the discipleship programme. “I heard her but  at the same time I pushed it in the back of my mind, because I just wanted to wallow in my depression and I really didn’t care. “But after she left the room I just felt this urge  . . . . I went on the website and everything just happened from there.” The programme begins on January 3 and consists of three months  of instruction and two months of outreach. “In the outreach, because it’s specifically  for medical professionals, we’re not just going  to be going out and bombarding people with the Word of God but we will be meeting their health needs. “It’s not going to be  in an ideal setting like  a medical or dental office but from what I gather, it will be just like a mobile clinic. You just reach out to the poor people who wouldn’t be able to access these things.” Although Lois does not yet know which countries will be included in the outreach, she said the recently concluded training school travelled to Haiti, China and the Philippines. The Barbados Exhibition winner admitted she has some concerns about the trip although she believes strongly that God will meet her needs. “I guess it depends  on which country you’re going to, but basically  the general trend is that there is going to be  a lot of poverty around. “I’m going to be out of my comfort zone in terms of bathroom facilities and food, living conditions . . . . I’m not sure what I will experience so that is something that I’m kind of nervous about,” she said. Lois is also concerned about how she will able to impact people spiritually. “I know I will make a difference in terms of physical needs but I just want to know that  at the end of the day, I’ve achieved what I want  to achieve in terms  of helping people  to understand that there is a God who loves them and who still cares.” The member of the Cave Hill Wesleyan Holiness Church noted that she always felt there was something more for Christians to do than “just sit down in church and grow for themselves when there are other people out there who are suffering”. To pursue her dream, the young Christian is  in the process of raising  at least $18 000 to cover the entire programme. She has already enlisted the help of her family and friends and soon she will be targeting businesses, churches and individuals. • Positive Youth is  a series highlighting the efforts of some of the youth in our nation who are engaging in positive pursuits. If you know of any such people, please contact Natasha Beckles at 430-5459 or natashabeckles@nationnews.com; or Bryan Walker at 430-5492 or bryanwalker@nationnews.com

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