Finding a Home Far Away From Home

April Y. - SMI 2024

Coming into SMI, I didn’t really know what to expect. All I knew was that God opened the doors for me to spend three weeks serving in Kensington, and I was praying that my heart would be softened and opened to what he planned to teach me in the coming weeks. I was eager to learn about how my faith and medicine could be integrated but I ultimately have learned so much more about God’s character within the first week.

Truthfully, the first few days of outreach were extremely heavy. Seeing and experiencing the brokenness up close on the streets was frightening, and I felt distraught and saddened by the grief that the people here have experienced, are experiencing, and will experience.

‘If my heart felt this heavy just observing as an outsider, how much more difficult would it be for the people living through these troubles, and how much more difficult would it be for God who suffers with their pain next to them?’

Initially, all that I could see on the littered drug-filled streets was a lot of brokenness and hopelessness. However, as I began to spend time with people just talking about their lives, their past, and current struggles through outreaches, I was able to see individuals – sinners just like me. Despite their health conditions, I learned that they just wanted to be heard and genuinely loved like all of us.

During one of my first outreaches, I was able to meet a middle-aged Korean American man who only spoke Korean and a little bit of English. Since I spoke Korean, I conducted a health screening and was able to learn a lot about his background. I was also able to share a bit of my testimony and my journey of growing up in the church. He was so happy to just talk about his new diet regimen (for his diabetes) and also asked me questions about where I grew up, about my family, etc. Since there are very few Korean Americans within Kensington, it was a joy for both of us to converse with each other in our native language and connect.

At the end of our conversation, he stated that because of our interaction that it felt like he was able to experience God for the first time. He thanked me for blessing him with such kindness, and I was able to pray for him. It was no coincidence that God placed both of us there at that exact time and day, and it was evident that the Holy Spirit was present. I hope he knows how loved he is by God and that our interaction would become the start of a solid intimate relationship with our Father.

I realized what a privilege and blessing it was to be able to hear so many individual’s stories and to have strangers be so open to sharing their lives with me. Truly, I thank God for opening up people’s hearts. Through the next remaining weeks and as ambassadors of Christ, I hope that our eyes are aware of open doors, and utilize them to spread the love of Christ.

While the physical health need is so great in the community of Kensington, I learned about the power of prayer and the mental and spiritual need in this community. I realized that medicine is essentially a tool for spreading the gospel and God’s love to His people. While medicine heals, knowing God is the only way one can experience true salvation and peace.

He is so much bigger than I have ever known and the Holy Spirit is moving and vividly present in the community of Kensington. I’m so excited to see what He has in store for me and the rest of our team in the next two weeks.

Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer. Share with the Lord’s people who are in need. Practice hospitality. Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse. Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn. Live in harmony with one another. Do not be proud, but be willing to associate with people of low position. Do not be conceited.

– Romans 12:12-16 

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