Avocados, Mangoes and Surgeries
Johnny Ahn, a senior biology, pre-med, honors student, literally jumped with glee when he received his first care package from his friends in the honors program. Choosing to go to Chad as a medical missionary for six months was a big decision, and it was comforting to receive love from the honors family.
1110 volunteer hours
601 dressing changes
157 assisted surgeries
Receiving care packages from loved ones only represents a fraction of Johnny’s glee-filled moments in Chad. From tibia fracture surgeries to bartering for avocados, Johnny’s six months were full of experiences that have impacted his life and how he relates to others. During those months, Johnny accomplished more than he could have ever imagined. While in Chad he completed more than 1110 volunteer hours, 601 dressing changes, and 157 assisted surgeries!
His experiences weren’t just at the hospital, they also extended into the community, “I was doing public health talks, we would walk out to a village, stand under a mango tree and give a talk.” Relating to the Chadian natives and working alongside fellow student missionaries spreading the mission of health exponentially enriched Johnny’s mission experience.
"Before Chad, I thought about first-world and third-world countries in terms of an excess-scarcity dyad; after Chad, I think differently. I question how we define 'excess' and 'scarcity,' I ask why?"
Curious and reflective, Johnny documented his time as a missionary on his blog, Ahn-tology, highlighting his day-to-day experiences as well as reflections on life and purpose. Asking "why" was a tool used in understanding the stark differences between first-world and third-world culture. By asking self-reflective questions, Johnny expanded his definition of "excess" and "scarcity" beyond just the accumulation of material possessions to how much one is willing to share of their possessions.
"The honors program was the reason why I came to Andrews."
Johnny partially attributes his contemplative thought and desire to ask "why?" to the J.N. Andrews Honors Program at Andrews University. On the recommendation of friends in medical school who were a part of the honors program when they attended Andrews, Johnny decided to join. "The honors program was the reason why I came to Andrews," he says. The honors program "forces you to think and come up with your own opinion." The curriculum is challenging and rewarding as it pushes students to discuss varying perspectives and understand the origins of different viewpoints. For Johnny, being a part of the honors program helped broaden his perspective while in Chad.
Avocados, mangoes and surgeries were all a part of Johnny's mission experience, but what he really gained was a mind ready to be challenged, a heart committed to service, and a spirit empowered to change the world through medical missions. With a reignited sense of purpose and desire to serve thanks to his time in Chad, Johnny is ready for medical school this upcoming fall.