Calhoun Combines Faith, Education and Career to Serve in the Dominican Republic

COLUMBIA, KY. – LWC nursing alumna Sarah Calhoun '19 traveled on her first mission trip to the Dominican Republic when she was just nine years old.

“My family brought me here for the first time in 2006 and after that, it became a family tradition,” said Calhoun. “Then at some point, it evolved beyond just annual mission trips for my family and church, and began to include mission opportunities for Lindsey Wilson students as well."

Calhoun worked as a labor and delivery nurse for two years after graduation. It was during a trip to the Dominican Republic with her alma mater that she was presented with an opportunity to combine her passion for ministry with her career as a nurse.

“The pandemic happened and I found myself at a place where, although I loved what I was doing in labor and delivery, it felt like something was missing,” Calhoun said. “And then in 2021, I traveled down with the LWC mission group and I was offered the opportunity to work here full time.”

Calhoun serves as the full-time coordinator of community health at the Go Medical clinic in Santiago, Dominican Republic. Go Medical is one of three core ministry focuses for the Go Ministries organization, headquartered in Louisville, Kentucky. The other two areas of emphasis are church planting and sports.

“Go Ministries has developed a more sustainable way to do ministry and I really believe in their vision,” said Calhoun. "It's all about empowering local leaders who have been called to use their gifts and skills for a bigger purpose: the Kingdom of God. It's people who love the Lord and feel called to minister to, love, and disciple others in their communities. GO Ministries empowers and helps provide what is needed in each of the three, overlapping areas of ministry so that local leaders can share God's love and care for their neighbors."

The Go Medical clinic is staffed by local nurses, doctors, dentists, and receptionists. Calhoun’s role is administrative, ensuring the staff has the information, equipment and supplies they need to fulfill their medical mission. 

“Along with my work organizing the short-term American missions, I also lend my help, knowledge and skills where needed with patient care,” Calhoun says. “For example, I have had the opportunity to help the staff kick-start a basic prenatal care program where none existed before. I also act as a liaison between the Spanish-speaking care providers and the American mission teams when medical care is needed.”

Calhoun attributes her success as a nurse, leader, and project manager to the comprehensive education she received through LWC's nursing program.

“The importance of collaboration, teamwork, asking questions, not always having the right answers – those key concepts are things you need to take into the beginning of a nursing career and my LWC professors constantly reinforced those ideas.”    

The Lindsey Wilson College mission team led by Calhoun’s father, LWC Assistant Professor of Religion David Calhoun, returned in June for their annual trip via the Go Ministries organization. For more than a decade, Dr. Calhoun has arranged for groups of LWC students, alumni and faculty to travel each summer to the Dominican Republic. 

“I am always really excited when they are coming down,” said Calhoun. “Both my dad and mom came with the team this summer and I was happy to spend time with them.”

Calhoun's second year of service will conclude next spring. At that time she will reassess her placement and discern whether she is called to continue her role at the Santiago clinic.

“I’m staying open to what God wants for me and I definitely want it to be his plan and not mine. I do love it here. I love my job. I feel like there is a purpose behind the work I am doing. It’s kind of an indeterminable amount of time at this point because things can always change for missionaries and staying flexible is important.” 


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