to the Lord
Today I give thanks for this young man...Celestino Velasquez Garcia. He attended Ruach International Christian Academy in Comayagua, Honduras. Upon graduation he was awarded the Amy Elizabeth Pack Memorial Scholarship. He was able to attend a college near us before he attended ORU. We know the Lord has big plans for Celestino and love that his dream of becoming a doctor is coming true!
From Honduras to Med School
Celestino Velasquez Garcia, originally from Comayagua, Honduras, is a junior at ORU. He is majoring in biomedical chemistry with a pre-medicine concentration and minoring in biology.
When Celestino completes his ORU degree, he said he plans to “go right to medical school. …Ever since I was a kid, I have wanted to be a doctor.”
There’s a good reason why Celestino wants to go into medicine. As a child, he suffered from a severe case of asthma. One incident in particular helped convince him to choose medicine for a career.
As an eleven-year-old, Celestino was in a small village in the mountains in the western section of Honduras. “It’s a pretty isolated town,” he said. “It took about three or four hours to get to the nearest city that would have any specialized medical attention. They just had a very, very small clinic.” And that clinic had one doctor who worked short hours—just a few days a week.
Celestino says he did not always have an inhaler to help him with his asthma. “One time my asthma attacks got very severe. They were coming very frequently, and my mom didn’t know what to do. I was hyperventilating, struggling just to breathe.” His mother carried him through the village for hours, calling out and asking people if there was a doctor in town, or if there was anyone who could help her son.
“There were a few important people in the town like a mayor, a university professor, a lot of politicians, some engineers, but none of them could really help me,” Celestino said. “There was only one person in the entire town that could help me, and it was a doctor. So my mom and I went to his apartment.” In desperation, Celestino’s mother knocked on the doctor’s door and yelled for help.
Finally, the doctor answered the door and asked what the problem was. “He tried all kinds of things on me,” Celestino said, and eventually, through “continuous puffs of an inhaler,” the 11-year-old began breathing normally.
Looking back, Celestino said he “was just amazed at how this man had such a vast amount of knowledge that surmounted all these other people in the town. That saved my life. If he wouldn’t have been there—a person with his knowledge—I wouldn’t have survived.” Since that time, it has been his dream and his goal to become a doctor, “to go to people that can’t have access to medical assistance and be able to provide for them.”
Although Celestino says he would like to go back to Honduras eventually, he realizes it’s not so much what he wants to do; “it’s what God wants me to do, I know. This is what God wants me to do right now—go to med school.”
How did Celestino get to ORU? He heard about the Whole Person Scholarship program from a friend. He applied to ORU, took part in a Whole Person Scholarship event—including interviews and essays—and some time later, he received a phone call saying he had received a full award.
“I just hung up after that,” Celestino said. “I didn’t even say bye to the person. I kind of wanted to jump up and down and run all over the place, but I didn’t. I just felt peace. And I knew right then it was the place I wanted to go.”
Celestino says the Whole Person Scholarship has definitely changed his life by helping him afford his dream of receiving a college education and by emphasizing the importance of becoming a whole person in spirit, mind, and body.
This ORU junior sees how the Whole Person Scholarship program teaches that “life isn’t just about academic achievement or achievement in one particular area, but becoming servants of the Lord that care about people and that, for example, in my case, have been taught to have a healthy and disciplined physical lifestyle—watch what I eat, work out.” Equally important: “to have a spiritual time, to be socially adept, and to be responsible in my academics; those are qualities I want to have as a doctor.
“It’s a unique award because it doesn’t just honor achievement, grades, or test scores. It’s about honoring that person’s discipline and commitment to leading a good life.”