Filipino professor relates her incredible journey to Loma Linda
The research study by Richard Hartman, PhD, assistant professor, department of psychology, LLU, is included among the top findings in neuroscience.
This is my fifth visit to the United States. What’s my purpose this time?
I have come to Loma Linda on a mentorship program in the areas of pediatric cardiology and heart transplantation as well as spirituality, wholeness and Christian bioethics.
I was born in Manila, christened in a Roman Catholic church, and accepted Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior in a Methodist church at age 12.
Prior to my present exposure to Adventism, I had been educated in diverse religious environments. While on a study tour in the Holy Land, being the only Christian in the group, walking “where Jesus walked,” I baptized myself in the Jordan Rivers “in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.”
In 30 years of teaching, I have had Seventh-day Adventist medical students, who, despite all odds, refused to attend classes or take exams on Saturdays.
They were steadfast: “No exams, no classes on the Sabbath.” I pondered, “What brings about such faithfulness and tough resolve in these young people?”
Four years ago, in 2003, I suffered a stroke, rendering me half-paralyzed. This gave me several months of much needed rest and indepth study of God’s word. Eight months after the stoke, a cancer was detected. Surgery, chemotherapy, and reverse isolation followed.
Several months later, another malignancy was diagnosed, needing a second surgery, and 20 plus courses of radiation.
A series of serendipitous events then followed. Bed-bound for many months, I inadvertently came across the Adventist television station, 3ABN, from which I watched programs on health issues, positive spiritual outlook, and more importantly, the Sabbath.
The, one day in late January 2006, browsing in a used book shop, I saw a paperback book titled Legacy, authored by Richard Schaefer.
I bought and read the book and learned that pioneer infant heart transplantation in this country in the 1980s was done at Loma Linda University Medical Center, a Seventh-day Adventist institution.
Within days, I e-mailed the institution, introduced myself, and applied for a two-month observation in my field of specialty. Within a short period I was e-mailed and phone interviewed and my mentorship program was set for January 2007. I filed for a Sabbatical leave, which my institution granted, and then came to Loma Linda.
Someone had said “knowing the truth costs.” I agree. I had to leave my private practice, reschedule all my appointments, and purchase a round trip ticket to the United States.
I have experienced the wonderful blend of intellectual medical learning with what Chancellor Richard Hart calls the “other curriculum.” The truth of this institution’s vision/mission has come alive for me.
In the book Railway to the Moon, President B. Lyn Behrens, MBBS, posed these questions, and I paraphrase: “What sets Loma Linda University apart, what keeps it from being ‘just another’ among 2,500 colleges and universities? What sets LLUMC apart, what keeps it from being ‘just another’ among more than 5,700 hospitals in the United States?”
Having lived and immersed myself in the “hill beautiful” these past weeks, I have discovered the answers.
I believe Jeremiah 29:11 that God’s plans for me are good, though His ways may be beyond my comprehension. This much I know, God brought me to Loma Linda, a place I did not know until a year ago. I await expectantly what God will unravel out of this latest experience.
Like Paul, I declare, “I have been crucified with Christ, and I no longer live but Christ lives in me. The life I live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God who loved me and gave Himself for me.” Galatians 2:20.
I thank Loma Linda so much for playing a significant role in my on-going incredible journey.Editor’s note: The following article was presented as a devotional to the Loma Linda University Adventist Health Sciences Center Board of Trustees earlier this year by Doris A. Mendoza, MD, professor of pediatrics and pediatric cardiology, West Visayas State University, Iloilo City, Philippines.