A select group of Lubbock Christian University pre-medical students are headed to the rural community of Loma Negra, in the Piura region of Peru, for an LCU and Olive Branch Ministries International medical mission trip on May 11th. This is the second year for the LCU natural sciences department to make a week-long trip to Peru, a young annual tradition that began three years ago when LCU pre-med students went to the department head wanting a missions experience unique to their major.
While in Peru, the group will host a clinic from 8am-4:30pm daily at a local school, offering medical care, dental care, physical therapy, fittings for reading and distance glasses, and a pharmacist. Each of the stations will be headed by professionals on the trip, while the 16 pre-medical students will rotate throughout the week so they can experience each area of medical expertise.
“The students will get really good experience. They will go through training, and they all go through triage to be part of taking the medical history and giving that to the doctor,” said Dr. Andy Laughlin, trip leader and LCU natural sciences professor. “They will get to (perform tasks) which they aren’t able to do here in the United States due to rules and regulations. So it’s an intense hands-on experience for them.”
Once the group lands in Peru, they must take a 12 hour bus ride to Piura. Due to transportation expenses, there was a selection process on who would go on the trip to ensure the team could fit onto one bus. Students were selected based on major, character, and how much they would benefit from the experience gained on the trip. The group of LCU students and professionals will then be met by 12 Peruvian translators who will assist them throughout the week.
Laughlin, who was first sent on a survey trip to Peru, says he asks the students to write a paper on what they are expecting from the trip before they depart from the U.S. His favorite part of the trip is toward the end of the week when the group sits down together to discuss what they’ve learned.
“There’s a transition that takes place over three days when they begin to lose that self-centeredness. What seems to me, if they go on one medical mission trip, even though it will help them and groom them for their profession, it changes their outlook on life,” explains Dr. Laughlin. “It gets them more centered on God and away from themselves, and usually they will always return at some point in their lifetime on an additional service trip. They will go back. That first one for some reason breeds many more.”
The medical clinic isn’t the only service activity on the agenda for this group while in Peru; workers from Olive Branch Ministries International will also be putting on a Vacation Bible School at the school that week which the LCU students will assist with.
The LCU and Olive Branch Ministries International medical mission trip is designed to be an annual trip to two different regions of Peru, rotating annually.
Joining Dr. Laughlin and the 16 LCU students to Peru are LCU Chemistry professor Jessica Rogers and her husband, Dr. Toby Rogers, who was recently appointed as Dean of the B. Ward Lane College of Professional Studies. Dr. Toby Rogers will serve as one of the physical therapist professionals in Peru, alongside LCU alum and physical therapist, Chris Huggins(’04). Other medical professionals going on this trip are two medical doctors, one nurse, two dentists, and a pharmacist.
Olive Branch Ministries International’s mission is to introduce people throughout the world to the Gospel by compassionately ministering to their physical, emotional, and spiritual needs; to create opportunities for individuals to use their skills and gifts to serve God by serving others; and to create a passion for international ministries which reflect the healing power of God.
For more information on this specific trip to Peru through LCU and Olive Branch Ministries International, please visit olivebranchministriesinternational.com