smi blog 6.30_connor

From Left to Right: Julia (our interpreter), Patrick (SMI faculty), Joanne, Miriam, Esther, and me.

Friday, June 29th.
We had a full day of Door-to-Door outreach ahead of us. We trekked along, soon to be covered in sweat.

“Hi, would you be interested in a free health screening?”

Over the many significant encounters with North Philly residents throughout the day, one in particular stood out to me. Around 4:00pm, an elderly Hispanic man greeted us at his door. At first sight he was clearly unhealthy. His eyes were yellow like a jaundiced baby. He stood there, shirtless, holding his catheter bag with its tube egressing his abdomen. He was very skinny and looked unsteady on his feet, slightly swaying as he held the door. He invited Joanne and me in, and Julia accompanied to translate. We sat down, took his vitals, talked about the World Cup. We tried to gain an understanding of his medical history as we performed his health screen. He was getting adequate care, but after several previous procedures, it was clear he was approaching the end of life. The Spanish-English language barrier made it difficult to communicate. He seemed rather quiet and soft-spoken.

After performing our health screen and providing him his results, we asked “Would you like to pray with us?” as we made the prayer sign. His smile delighted me. And that was all it took for the man to open up. He told us about his struggles through life and how, through good times and bad, God remained faithful. With the biggest smile he told us of his old Catholic Bible he still has. Throughout his life he’s highlighted it, taken notes. “I will never give that away”, he said. He told us all about the end of times and what it will be like to see Jesus’s face again. After twenty or so minutes of conversation, we finally prayed together. I felt in that moment in prayer, what it felt like to be truly loving God’s children.

As my teammates and I continue to progress in our careers, science will surely grow and healthcare will continue to improve. People will die and people will come. There is something very special about taking a moment in this busy world to simply love God’s children. Jesus, in his encounters throughout the Gospels, did not show worry towards the future. He did not boast to promote his worthiness. He simply showed love, and that was enough.

– Connor Stinson
SMI 2018