From a young age my goal in life was to become a medical missionary in Latin America. What Albert Schweitzer did in Africa, I wanted to do in Latin America. I had read his biography and was inspired by his life and work. I had also been influenced by my grandfather who was a pharmacist in my birth town in Mexico. Although he had died before I was born, his life story as told by my mother, and his medical books inspired me to become a physician.
When I entered college my goal was still the same; however, I began to consider my own philosophy of life. I attempted to formulate principles by which I wanted to live, and to develop an overall view of God, man, society, and my place in this universe. To accomplish this I felt I needed to read as much as I could from the great thinkers of the past. By the time I got to my junior year, although I had gained a lot of knowledge, I was still uncertain about God, man and society. All I knew was that I had a definite goal to reach and that I wanted to help my fellow man. Inwardly though, my groping and groaning was becoming more intense as time passed. It seemed that the more I searched for truth, the emptier and more dissatisfied I became.
My search ended when a Christian college student asked me if I knew the Lord Jesus. He had just finished singing with other Christians and when he turned to me, his face was shining. I had the distinct realization that he had something that I didn’t have—peace and joy. When I told him that I didn’t know the Lord, he led me to pray with him to accept the Lord Jesus as my Savior. This occurred in April 1974 on the UCLA campus.
After my initial salvation experience, I wanted to meet with other Christians. I also wanted to know the Bible and know the Lord more. Three years later, during my first year in medical school at UC Irvine, I met Christians who met as the local church in Irvine. Their meetings were unlike any I had known. I saw people enjoying the Lord, singing these marvelous hymns and speaking things I had never heard. Attending these meetings made me feel washed and cleansed within. My initial consideration was that this was an excellent place to get Bible knowledge and some spiritual growth, and that after a few years I would continue on my path to be a medical missionary. My plans took a radical turn, however, after I attended a Bible training given in 1978 by Witness Lee which was later published as part of the Life-study of Ephesians. It seems that I was taken to a high mountain by the Lord during that training to see His heart’s desire. I had never heard that God had an eternal purpose, which was according to His desire. My eyes were opened, and I gave myself to Him for His heart’s desire. My own desire to become a medical missionary was too low, His desire and purpose too great. The answers to my deepest questions came to light, and I saw my place in the universe: as a member of His Body, being prepared to be part of His Bride to hasten His return.
Now I meet with the local church in Cypress, having moved here in 1983 after completing my medical residency training. I am a family physician happily married with three children. I had the privilege last year to travel to Russia, not as an independent medical missionary, but as a serving member of His Body, attending to the health of those laboring in Moscow. I saw what the Lord is doing in Russia and realized that He is recovering the whole earth through the gospel of His Kingdom. I am deeply grateful to the Lord for bringing me to the local church. Praise be to Him for His abounding mercy and grace.