Whew! Did a tornado just pass through Siloam? It seemed like a whirlwind at least. During a season when most staff and volunteers are looking to take a break, Siloam experienced an unusual infusion of energy in the summer of 2012.
If you’ve followed our Institute blog at all the past two months, you will be well aware of the basics: four senior (or recently graduated) premedical students joined us for an intensive community health care immersion program for seven weeks. They were commissioned by friends and family to come to Nashville for the summer, live and serve within an apartment complex among newly arrived refugees, learn about the practice of whole-person clinical care at Siloam, and grow in their own relationship with God.
Although the brief blog entries give you a small glimpse of what happened, the final night of the project captured its essence. Having heard the students give formal presentations on the results of both their patient surveys and their community assessments, we had a celebratory dinner at Siloam in our traditional, multiethnic potluck style (interrupted, of course, by a medical emergency for an Egyptian patient in the clinic). We watched slides and heard tales of the students’ experiences living in the complex, reflecting on some of the ways their lives, as well as the lives of our patients, were changed this summer.
The evening concluded with a season of prayer and thanks for each student. With hands laid upon them, each student received a spoken blessing that was congruent with their gifts and experience, as well as special words of hope and faith for what God has in store for them in the months and years ahead. Needless to say, the tears and the hugs were flowing!
In seven short weeks, Alonso, Cameron, Margaret, and Olivia had made a profound impact on our lives, numerous neighbors, the clinic itself, and, perhaps most significantly, each other. Now we—and He—are sending them out to be salty, light-giving healers in their own specific contexts. Their stories are each different, but as we learned through our ReFrame training this summer, they each take on new meaning within the context of God’s bigger story.
We just can’t wait to read the next chapter!