A journey of Faith
We are starting our blog with an incredible story of faith from our very own Dr Rodney Baptiste. And what a better way to share his story than in his own words. We hope you are challenged and inspired as you read how God took a young boy from a humble upbringing to university in the Dominican Republic then back to Haiti to serve his own people.
'I was born and raised in the community of Vaudrieul where Bethesda is. I grew up with a single mother and 2 brothers and 1 sister. Life was hard growing up with a single mother there were times me and my family were hungry and other times when it was difficult for my mom to send me to school but God provided for us.
My mother is a trained midwife and worked at Bethesda, in fact she still works there today. She did not consider working at Bethesda her job but her ministry.
I saw what it really meant to love your neighbor as yourself through the example of my mom. Not only did she work at Bethesda but she often provided medical care in peoples homes and organized mobile clinics to go into remote areas where there was no medical care. She did all of this by herself. When I was a child I went with my mom on many home visits and mobile clinics.
''I saw what it really meant to love your neighbor
as yourself through the example of my mom.''
I grew up in church and always prayed at home but didn't really listen when I went to church. One Sunday in 1996 when I was at church I heard a voice saying 'don't sit with the young people, go and sit with the adults. So I got up, away from my friends and sat near the front with the adults. I started to really listen and at the end of the service when they asked if anyone wanted to be a Christian I got up and went to the front and the pastor prayed for me.
I had a plan for my life and it wasn't medicine. I didn't choose to be a doctor, God called me to be a doctor and it was in my last year at high school I got a job translating at Bethesda and it was then I received my calling. I saved my money from translating and got my passport. I decided to go to medical school in the Dominican Republic. I took the bus to the DR to complete the entrance exam at the university in Sanitago.
'' I didn't choose to be a doctor,
God called me to be a doctor.''
Some people told me I was crazy to do this because I didn't know any Spanish! When I got to the exam it was multiple choice and I had no idea what any of the questions said but I believed this was what God was asking me to do. I did the exam and returned home to Haiti on the same day because I didn't have
enough money to stay in the DR. I asked a friend to pick up the results for me.
A few days later I heard from my friend that I passed the test and got a place in medical school in the Dominican Republic!!'
I started medical school in Santiago, Dominican Republic in January 2000. In all my classes I had to make sure I sat beside a Haitian who could translate the classes from Spanish into Creole for me. The university began to notice that I did not know Spanish and they told me I had to leave and take 6 months to learn Spanish. I told them that I didn't have time to do that, I needed to stay in medical school. I asked if I could stay for one more month and I would learn Spanish by myself. They agreed but if I failed the next exam I would lose my place. One month later I completed the exam....and passed! Throughout my 7 years at university my grades were the highest the first year!
I never knew how I was going to pay for university, for housing and for food but God always provided. Sometimes people in the US sent me money, one family sent me $100 a month which paid for my housing every month. On my last month in the Dominican Republic the family got in touch and told me they were no longer able to support me each month. God had even worked out the timing! Other times the university gave me a discount because of my grades.
God provided all I needed and when I graduated I had a choice. Should I stay in the Dominican Republic and get a good job which would give me a nice standard of living or should I return to Haiti to serve my own people?'
While at university I married my beautiful wife, Vedane. She lived in Haiti for a while then moved over to the DR to be with me. In 2004 our son Roud was born. I continued in medical school and everytime I had a vacation I returned to Haiti and worked at Bethesda translating.
I graduated in 2007 and began working at a hospital in the DR.
I had worked for about one month and one Friday I was working and it was very quiet, I was not busy at all. During this shift God started to remind me of the reason I became a doctor, that it wasn't my choice. God had chosen me to be a doctor to serve my people. He reminded me of how I had got to medical school and how He provided for me. That night I could not sleep, God kept bringing to my mind times when I watched my mother serve our Haitian people, times when people would come to my mother for help and the fact that I didn't choose to be a doctor.
''God had chosen me to be
a doctor to serve my people''
I spoke to my boss and told him I wanted to return to Haiti, he told me I was crazy. I had a good job and I would earn much more money in the Dominican. I told him I was going to go for the weekend. I spoke to Vedane and we went to Haiti the very next day, we didn't even know where we were going to stay. On Sunday we went to church and there I met two OMS missionaries who knew me from Bethesda. They asked why I was home so I explained.
They told me to come to Bethesda on Monday for an interview! I went on Monday and got my first job at Bethesda as a doctor. Not only that but they told me there was a house on the OMS Campus that I could move into with my wife and my son! I started working at Bethesda and didn't return to the DR, that was in 2007.
Today I am the director of Bethesda Medical Center, there have been times I have wanted to leave or had other ideas but God always reminds me of my calling. That he choose me to be a doctor and that God gave me the job at Bethesda and that until He directs me somewhere else I will continue to serve him at Bethesda.'