Student Reflections 

Brazil 

Nicole Strauss, a School of Allied Health student is studying to become a Doctor of Physical Therapy.


 

Let's go on a mission trip

Going on this mission trip was a spontaneous idea. I had never been on a mission trip before, so when one of my friends mentioned they wanted to go I suggested we go and signed up right then and there. Brazil sounded like an interesting place to go and I did want to visit someplace new.

I had no idea what the trip was going to entail, all I knew was I had signed up, I was going on a mission trip, and I was excited. When I eventually learned about what the trip was going to entail my first thought was “oh dear, what did I get myself into?” Then I heard about living on a boat, the bugs, and the weather, and internally I cringed. How was I going to survive this? I had never experienced living on a boat, I did not like bugs, and humidity and I were not friends, but I tried to see the positive and how I was going to be helping people and sharing God’s love.

While I was worried about all these things, the trip ended up being one of the best experiences of my life. Being able to go to Brazil, experience the culture, interact with the natives, play with the kids, and help people who needed medical attention was an experience I will always cherish. I am extremely happy with my decision to go because I learned that I could handle anything if I try. Obviously, I am writing this, so I survived and had an amazing, wonderful, awesome time.

One of the most memorable moments I had was helping with the health expos; it was beneficial both for my career and for my personal joy. I am going to be a future physical therapist and there were instances when I really got to use the skills I had learned in school. One of the people we saw had a stroke and it was awesome to see how he had managed the past six months while being injured, but he still had some areas that we could work on. Unfortunately, one session of physical therapy is not going to suddenly fix someone, but it was fulfilling to be able to help him in a little way. All the future physical therapists had an opportunity to work with him. We stretched, performed a few mobilizations, and then performed soft tissue work on his muscles to try and help get his full range of motion back in his leg. Even though we only saw the man one time the smile on his face is ingrained into my head. He was so thankful and grateful for what we had done words cannot describe the joy it brought to me.

Another aspect about the trip that I enjoyed was how short the trip was. The nice thing about the trip being a weeklong was it did not take a big commitment for me to go, and it was during spring break, which was a perfect time to take a break from school. One benefit of going on a short-term mission trip is I felt like I contributed a lot and I did not have to worry about missing a long period of time. Two, since it was my first mission trip a longer trip may have been more intimidating and not as inviting for me to go on.