This Easter, a community was drawn together through the partnership of four different organizations to meet physical and spiritual needs in an underserved Houston Hispanic community.
Andy Dennis, director of Texas Medical Center BSM (including schools from McGovern Medical School and Baylor College of Medicine), sought to find a medical mission project for his BSM medical students to participate in. Since Houston is one of the most diverse cities in Texas, Dennis thought it would be valuable for the students to engage with this population.
As they were searching for the right opportunity, Dennis had a BSM student approach him. She was a part of the Latino Medical Student Association (LMSA), who were also looking for a medical project to do on Cesar Chavez Day, the day before Easter Sunday. Dennis saw this as an opportunity to more effectively minister to others through a cooperative partnership.
Dennis contacted Victor Marte, church consultant for Union Baptist Association who connected the Texas Medical Center BSM and the LMSA with a local Hispanic church - Iglesia Bautista La Tierra Prometida (The Promised Land Baptist Church). The church opened their space for the students to hold a medical clinic for individuals in their community.
“Several of the Christians students who work with the BSM speak Spanish and were able to jump right in and serve the people in the community,” said Dennis. The heart behind this mission trip was to minister to many immigrant populations in Houston who often go without any medical attention, due to financial stress or other trials.
“It’s a real benefit for us to serve those communities. Within the context of the local church, it helps us build bridges to the church through medicine,” he said.
While the BSM students were serving the physical needs of the community through health screenings and basic care, church members were serving the spiritual needs, handing out Bibles, praying with individuals and inviting them to their Easter service the next day.
“I'm thankful that we had the opportunity to offer medical screenings for our brothers and sisters in need in Houston,” said Brittany Tew, Baylor College of Medicine/BSM student. “Many of us who served are first-year medical students, and we were able to use the basic medical skills and medical Spanish that we have learned so far in school to demonstrate God's love and compassion to those living in our very own city. It was truly humbling to volunteer over the Easter weekend, to do what we are called to do with our medical training – to serve others, even as a lowly first-year medical student.”
As the day continued, Dennis realized that this medical project was not just for the community. It was also for the non-Christian students that participated.
“The non-Christian students helping were able to experience what that was like to see Jesus in action and the body of Christ loving their community. It was really powerful. It gave us an opportunity to share the Gospel with both the community as well as our medical students,” Dennis continued.
Throughout the day, the BSM and LMSA students were able to serve over 40 patients. Dennis said that it was a time where “the Gospel was present in people’s lives that hadn’t been in ways before.”
For more information about Texas Baptists Collegiate Ministry, visit texasbaptists.org/collegiate.