With just a little faith and a whole lot of determination, I started out on a journey in 2011 that stretched me spiritually in ways I didn’t know possible. I was born in Jamaica and I got baptized in the Seventh Day Baptist church when I was 13 years old.
About a year after, life was good and I was wondering why I didn’t have any obstacles to overcome, and if I was really a Christian because I didn’t have any ‘struggles.’ But little did I know…
I have always wanted to study in the States and eventually pursue a career in medicine. However, when I went to the bank to get a financial statement, the banker basically laughed and said we didn’t have enough money to satisfy the requirements to obtain a student visa.
I told her not to worry about that, we’ll still take the letter and take our chances. And thus, the journey began.
I ended up missing my appointment at the embassy and had to defer starting school until January 2012. That semester off was an emotional rollercoaster. I questioned if this is what God had planned or if I made the wrong decision and should have just attended University of the West Indies.
But when January came and I took off to the unknown, everything started falling into place. I got a job February 2012 which greatly helped with my tuition and I was able to meet and work with some amazing people. Undergrad was tough and I struggled to stay in the pre-med program.
I had to figure out the process on my own, as the pre-med director told me that only 1% of international students get accepted to med school, and my chances where pretty slim.
During my undergrad years, our family only had one year free where we didn’t loose a family member. Every year for the 4 years of undergrad, either one or two persons would pass away. I didn’t realize that being away from home was taking such a toll on me especially with each death.
I remember my pre-med advisor asking if every time something tragic happened, if I was going to let it affect my grade – this was her response to me having a bad semester.
Nonetheless, I graduated from undergrad, a Biology major and Creative Writing minor. I started working at an Urgent care clinic while studying for the MCATs. I had no idea what I was doing, but every time I wanted to give up, someone would encourage me to keep going.
I did the MCAT and started applying to different schools. I was trusting God through the process. I switched jobs to become a 6th grade science teacher in Midtown Manhattan. Unfortunately, three months after I was let go from the job, because my work permit was denied. The school had failed to send the forms in on-time which led to the denial.
So here I was, jobless, with a big decision to make, pack up and go home or try applying to grad school, since I wasn’t hearing back from the med schools. A week after being let go, I got a call for an interview at SGU medical school in Grenada.
Two weeks later, I was accepted and expected to start January 2018. After being let go from my job I asked God to direct me and he opened this door, so I was certain he would make a way.
I started looking for loans to help pay the tuition and nothing was coming up. However, I packed up by apartment in December 2017 and shipped by stuff back to Jamaica. I bought my plane ticket to Jamaica and then a one-way ticket to Grenada.
With a Med school acceptance, no means of getting a loan, about $5000 in my account and faith, I decided to put God to the test. And because I was trusting him, I made the statement that changed my entire faith journey: IF THIS FAILS THEN GOD FAILED, AND HE CANNOT FAIL THEREFORE I WILL NOT FAIL.
Because I was solely trusting God. I was going by his word that said he will supply all my needs, and this was a need I had.
It was the Friday before leaving New York that my tuition was paid, God had made a way. Studying for two years in Grenada was beautiful, stressful, lonely, and exhilarating all at once. There were so many emotions that I experienced during that time, but I saw God’s favor every semester.
Every semester, he made a way for the tuition to be paid. Every semester God was my teacher and sat with me in every exam allowing be to be successful. I have so many testimonies about how God showed up on that little island for me and I am grateful for every miracle he performed.
Now I’m in my third year of med school and getting ready to continue my clerkship. It has almost been 6 months of uncertainty and not knowing if I would be able to continue school. There were days when I thought, this is where God is leaving me, but he is making a way.
I will continue to hold on the faith I profess because the one who promised is faithful (Heb 10:23). I have come this far by faith, and I know God will continue to lead me on. The journey is not done, the story has not yet ended, but like Abraham, I will follow God until I get to the land that was promised.
Ashea West is a third-year medical student from Manchester, Jamaica studying in the USA. I am passionate about sharing the gospel, using whatever opportunities I am given. I do believe in blooming wherever I am transplanted.