The University’s branch of the Global Medical Missions Alliance welcomed vascular surgeon Peter Chung to campus on Saturday to talk about medical missions trips and faith.
Chung described his spiritual journey finding God, and discussed his many mission trips abroad and the power of faith in healing. For the past 20 years, he has traveled around the world to countries including North Korea, Albania, Mongolia, India and Haiti.
“I believe the Gospel is very good medicine,” he said. “Maybe even better than the medicine I can do with my hands.”
Chung said the conditions under which he performed some of the procedures abroad were sometimes unsterile and lacked running water. He showed photos of his procedures, his patients and the operation rooms he has worked in around the world. Chung recounted a few stories where it appeared that the patient would not make it, but then pulled through in the end.
“It was midnight after a surgery and we get a call saying that the patient is in critical condition.” he said. “I run to the hospital and find out that the man had an unexpected stroke. Three days after the stroke he was paralyzed and could not tell night from day, and three days being in this condition is too long to go back to normal. My team and the family of the patient filled the Intensive Care Unit to pray for him before his second surgery. The day after it I walk into his room to see him sitting in a chair reading the newspaper — totally fine.”
LSA junior Marc Gutierrez said the photos made him feel like he had an inside look into Chung’s work.
“The photos that he showed really opened my eyes on the conditions which surgery is done in other counties,” Gutierrez said. “It was really admirable how important his faith was in his work, and you could really see that from the pictures.”
He addressed students who were hoping to head down the pre-med path, and described his belief that missionary work is an important tool for those students of Christian faith to further their education.
“I think that to be in the medical field, you have to have a heart to help others,” he said. “I believe that part of the Christian mission is getting out of your comfort zone to help others. I like to give students opportunities to go abroad and help other people.”
Chung said he has seen the kind of personal growth that results from conducting medical work abroad.
“The medical field is an ever-changing field,” he said. “You are the people who can touch other people’s life. I think that’s a very sacred field to get into.”