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Becoming Like Him

March 17, 2005

Julie Syverson is in the OBU School of Nursing. Several months ago she went to Oaxaca, Mexico, to serve on a medical mission team — to become more like him, more like Christ.

“We teamed up with the Roca Blanca mission base, there to offer medical treatment at a low cost,” she says. A charge for care is 20 pesos, or less than $2 per visit.

The medical side is only part of the ministry. “The base also has a bible school that teaches students and sends them into neighboring villages to plant churches,” she says. “While we were down there we focused the majority of our time in Oaxaca and the local church.”

The team taught children about the importance of taking care of their bodies. “‘God made you,’ we would say, ‘so take care of yourself.’ We integrated the importance of hygiene, hand washing, and the use of toothbrushes. The time that we were able to spend with the church people was very rewarding to all of us.”

Julie realized that many of the people in Oaxaca worshiped the same God. “It bought tears to my eyes,” she says. “They were so thankful for our service to the Lord.”

The trip brought her home a different person, one that was more willing to prioritize life around the things of God and the purposes he might have for her to carry out. “Before I did this mission trip I would have said that I didn't know if foreign missions was for me,” she says. “Now, I want to use my nursing degree as a service to people that can't afford health care.” It was a local nurse that helped to drive this message home for Julie, a nurse, that “never turned anyone away, working until we saw everyone that came to seek help no matter how late into the evening.”

The trip was divided into two parts. After serving for several days in Oaxaca, the team of OBU nursing students spent four days in Jicayan and Tetalpulcinco. “We were pretty scared at what we might find and the conditions that people lived in,” Julie says, “but every time that we went out there it was always better than what we thought. That gave us confidence to be able to spend four days straight in different villages. The people were so accepting and thankful. There were a few families that gave up their houses for us and slept outside on the dirt so that we would be able to sleep inside.”

Philippians 3:7-11 provided the text to learn from during her trip:

But whatever was to my profit I now consider loss for the sake of Christ. What is more, I consider everything a loss compared to the surpassing greatness of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things. I consider them rubbish, that I may gain Christ and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ— the righteousness that comes from God and is by faith. I want to know Christ and the power of his resurrection and the fellowship of sharing in his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, and so, somehow, to attain to the resurrection from the dead.