MEET TIA JENKINS: she said yes to the Lord’s call to respiratory therapy, followed Him to Haiti, and learned that you can be a servant in everything you do.
What led you to pursue respiratory therapy?
After high school, 10 years ago, I didn’t feel called to do anything, and for almost 8 years I continually asked God to show me a career path…for 8 YEARS!! When my second son was born in 2016, he was born with premature lungs and ended up being put on a ventilator, and during that time I met Ben’s Respiratory Therapist. Don’t get me wrong all of Ben’s NICU nurses were great, but something about the respiratory therapist really stood out to me. I don’t know if it was because I didn’t know RT’s were over ventilators and assumed that all respiratory therapists did was give breathing treatments, or that it was just because he was just so nice and made me feel like everything was going to be okay. Ben recovered from his collapsed lung, and a year later I found myself applying for the RT program at my nearest community college. At the time of Ben’s birth I couldn’t understand why we were being put through that trial, but I truly believe that was a way that God was showing me a career path that I have learned to love. Even though it took 8 years, it was a reminder that God hears us, He loves us, and He is for us, and we just need to trust His timing in everything.
How did the Lord call you to a trip to Haiti, and how did you serve while you were there?
I always felt a calling to help people and towards the end of my last semester of RT school I felt an urge to really take Respiratory and use to help those who needed it the most. I didn’t know where I was going or how I was going to get there, but I was determined to do what I felt called to do. One morning I Googled “Medical Mission Trips”, and I came across International Medical Relief, a nonprofit organization that travels all over the world. Turns out there was a trip to Haiti during our Thanksgiving break, and I knew if I was going to go that was the only chance I was going to get for a while. Without much thinking, I signed up and started fundraising for this medical mission trip that forever changed my life. Even though I was still a student, I was able to give breathing treatments, help read ketone levels in urine, check blood sugars, check for malaria, and even helped with some dental work!
How did serving in Haiti confirm that you were right were the Lord wanted you to be?
Before I left, almost everyone around me was worried for me; unfortunately Haiti was in a state of political and social unrest at the time. Of course the media makes everything scarier than what it really is, but I never was fearful. I had this peace that I honestly cannot describe, and I knew this was exactly where I needed to be. If it’s a God thing, He will give you the peace you need to do what He has called you to do.
How did serving in Haiti affect you long term?
Haiti has became a part of who I am, it’s this piece of my testimony that I will cherish forever. My hope is that I can continue to serve in Haiti when the time is right, take my family to Haiti when my boys are older, and always remember even in my darkest days that I am beyond blessed.
What’s one thing you wish everyone knew about serving others?
You don’t have to go to Haiti to serve others! You can serve other people around you every single day. I am thankful for a job where I work with long term vent and trach patients that I can help, but guess what? It doesn’t matter what you do for a living, you can be servant in everything you do.
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