I have come to a decision. I gave my life to God back in 1991 when I was in high school. I told Him I would do whatever He wanted me to do. I felt that God was calling me into full-time Christian service. I spent four years going to Bible College to become a missionary. When I graduated, I found out that the student loan debt I had accumulated would prevent me from using my degree, since missionaries must be debt free. After talking to several pastors, family, and friends, I decided that I would become a pastor instead. I enrolled in seminary to pick up the pastoral classes I missed in my missions program (the programs are very similar since a missionary is essentially a pastor overseas….an oversimplification, but it works).
After graduating seminary, I spent almost two years looking for a church to pastor. There were about 15 churches in that timeframe that were serious possibilities. One church wanted to pull my credit report, I said no. They said, “Nevermind, then.” One church had about 20 people in it, and was dying (I believe the church is currently dead) due to moral problems in the church. Another church decided they felt God had not actually called me into the ministry. Several churches simply told me they didn’t feel that I was a good fit for their church. The search continued.
In January of 2002 I came to a decision. If God didn’t want me to be a pastor, I would do something I’ve always thought about doing: become a doctor. I looked at a medical school website and found out what classes I needed to take to qualify. My family doctor was excited about me becoming a doctor. “You’d make a great doctor,” I remember him saying. I took Chemistry and Biology that semester.
Then in March an Evangelical Free Church called me to be their pastor. That is a long story in and of itself, and I don’t have time to type it right now. We moved there in May (when my classes were done) and I worked there full time as a pastor while still working as a CNA. My salaries weren’t enough to pay our bills, so I enrolled in nursing school in 2003. I resigned as pastor in 2004 due to…another long story but it had to do with the church not following my leadership.
Fast forward to now. I graduated nursing school, moved to Indiana, and I’ve worked as a nurse for six years trying to pay off debts so that I can become a pastor again. We haven’t made much progress, and as the regular readers of my blog know, I have had trouble understanding why God doesn’t pay off my debts so that I can reenter full time ministry. I have come to the conclusion that perhaps He doesn’t want me to right now. Evidently he has something else in mind.
And so we come to my decision. Kim and I were talking last week about our future plans (many things are up in the air right now…where we will live, the kids’ school, my future career, etc). and we came to the decision that I should look into becoming a doctor again. The only way that I can see that it would be possible for me to pay for medical school would be for me to join the Navy (something else I’ve always wanted to do).
If God allows me to become a doctor, it is my prayer that I will be able to do some medical missions (perhaps that was what I was supposed to be doing in the first place?).
To become a doctor, there are still a few prerequisite classes I need to take (mainly, Organic Chemistry and Physics). So I need to do that. I also need to take the MCAT (Medical College Admission Test) which tells them if I’m smart enough to be a doctor. If I get a good score, I apply to medical school and the Navy HPSP program (that will pay my way through medical school AND pay me a monthly salary).
Kim and I have been praying hard about this and we have determined that this is what we are going to do. I have told God that if He doesn’t want me to do this, then please stop me, because I don’t want to do it if He doesn’t want me to. There are three “full stops” that I have specifically mentioned to God (and Kim) where, if one of these conditions happens, I will stop trying to become a doctor: 1. I fail the MCAT, 2. I do not get into the Navy HPSP, or 3. No medical school will admit me. Any one of those three things can happen (also, the rapture could happen any day, so there’s that).
So here’s the plan. Right now I study for the MCAT, and take it in July (also I step up my weight loss to reach Navy standards). In August I find out if I got a good MCAT score or not. If I did, then I start taking prerequisite classes this year, and apply to medical school AND the Navy. If I get accepted (I should know that around Christmas, probably) then I would start medical school in the fall of 2012. At that point I would be an Ensign in the Navy. I would graduate medical school four years later (becoming a Lieutenant), and do a residency program (usually four years long). Then I would spend four years in the Navy on active duty (most of this time at naval hospitals). Then I would be able to find a job as a doctor, and (hopefully) do medical missions at the same time.
It is a long road, and I have just set foot on the first brick. But I am resolved to reach the end, and with God’s help, I will do so.