Special to the News-Journal

The East Texas Baptist University School of Nursing traveled to the Philippines as part of the Global Study and Serve program May 13 through June 3.

Students earned credit for Global Nursing, taught by Dean and Assistant Professor of Nursing Rebekah Grigsby. The group of 12 collaborated with International Baptist Church in Manila and the Philippines Christian University to experience and practice health care outside the classroom.

“This is the fourth time I have led a group of students overseas,” Grigsby shared. “Using culture immersion to focus on nursing education and medical missions, each trip provides layers of education for our nursing students.

“The global studies course allows students a hands-on experience interacting within a different culture as they grow in their faith, depending on God’s care as they navigate through the physical, emotional, and mental challenges of the trip,” she said. “Students also learn that they can use their career to participate in short-term or long-term missions and that their everyday job as a nurse is a mission field of its own.”

To prepare for the Global Study and Serve trip, students met once a month in the Spring 2019 semester. Each student selected something about the Philippines he or she wanted to learn more about and presented the topic during one of the meetings. Students also discussed the trip manual and Sarah A. Lanier’s book, “Foreign to Familiar: A Guide to Understanding Hot and Cold-Climate Cultures.”

Upon arrival in the Philippines, International Baptist Church Senior Pastor David Crim provided six hours of cross-cultural training. Students focused on preparing their hearts for missions and learning about working in Filipino culture.

The group also attended five days of nursing clinicals with the students of the Mary Johnston School of Nursing, housed in Philippines Christian University, to prepare for medical missions.

“I had the privilege to work in an outpatient clinic, the ER, and a circumcision clinic,” ETBU junior nursing major Melaina Baggett said. “I was intrigued by the differences between American and Filipino hospitals and health care. We also built relationships with Filipino nursing students and local families.

“My favorite experience was traveling to a native village,” Baggett said. “They did not speak English, but we were able to sing and dance with them, play games, and take selfies.

“I am extremely thankful to ETBU for providing opportunities like this that not only enhance my educational learning, but also my spiritual growth.”

The ETBU nursing students conducted medical missions among indigenous tribes in Maasin, Aramaywan and Quezon on the island of Palawan. There, they treated wounds and educated the tribal leaders and locals on how to use the resources available in their remote area to care for infections. To process and learn from their encounters, students kept a reflective journal as part of the course.

“Keeping a journal allowed me to see my thoughts and feelings written down,” senior nursing major Nicolette Chan said. “It became a place where I worked through my experiences, explained my emotions and recorded what I had learned.

“At our medical mission sites, I realized how much we take for granted,” Chan said. “Some of the locals’ houses had fallen after earthquakes, yet they still praised God for everything they have. I truly experienced how much God loves and cares for all His people.”