“Coming together is a beginning. Keeping together is progress. Working together is success.”
Like many of my peers, I have had multiple opportunities to be on different teams. Whether in sports, the classroom, or on previous mission trips, learning to work as a team has been an essential component of our lives. For the students going on this trip, this will be our first mission in which we have the opportunity to serve the Lord with our physical therapy skills. In our most recent Bible study, we discussed “being blessed to be a blessing to others” and I honestly can say our group has been immensely blessed in the character of each individual that will contribute to our mission. Therefore, it is my pleasure to introduce you to the student members of our USA Physical Therapy mission team.
My name is Darlene Williams and I have come a long distance to end up in Mobile, Alabama. I am originally from East Rochester, Ohio and moved down south for PT school to be able to be closer to my husband, Jonny, who is a pilot in the US Navy. I attended Walsh University to obtain my undergraduate in Biology with a minor in Psychology. While at Walsh, I was able to go on a service learning trip to Uganda. It was a great experience and in many ways it has prepared me for this mission to the Dominican. My clinical interests thus far include Geriatric and outpatient orthopedic physical therapy.
Evan Stringfellow is originally from Gulf Shores, AL. He attended Auburn University for his undergraduate degree. His previous mission trips include Lake Providence, LA, Wyoming and Gastonia, NC. Evan’s clinical interests include orthopedics, sports, and wound care.
Stephanie Jensen is from Palm Bay, Florida and a graduate of the University of Florida (go gators!- as she would want me to say). Her previous mission trips include traveling to Panama city where they built a house for a family as well as made home visits to different individuals to talk about God’s word. She also has served in New Orleans to help run a VBS for inner city kids. Stephanie’s clinical interested includes outpatient orthopedics, pediatrics and aquatic therapy.
Ashley Theobald joins us from Eufaula, Alabama. She is married and her husband Ben who will be attending medical school in the fall. She attend South Alabama for her undergraduate degree as well and had the opportunity to travel to Thailand and encourage students to get involved with Campus outreach. Her other previous trips include North Carolina to help with a home for girls and Tennessee to serve churches in the inner city. Her clinical interest is currently neuromuscular rehabilitation.
Mandy Brewer, or as many us may say “Momma Mandy”, is from Marianna, Florida. She is married to her husband John who is in the Air Force. She went to college at Florida State University (go Noles) and worked for about a year in an outpatient ortho clinic before coming to PT school, which is the area she plans to work in after graduation. She hasn’t yet had a mission experience but is really excited and thankful for this opportunity and the support we have received. Her clinical interest is in outpatient orthopedics.
Kenna McDaniel is from Pace, Florida. She is married to her husband Chad, and both are graduates from the University of West Florida. Her previous mission trips include San Carlos, Nicaragua in 2009 to build a bible school; Managua, Nicaragua in 2011 to help build a church building; and Juarez, Mexico in 2012 to help build a home for a family with Casas por Cristo. Her clinical interest is mainly in geriatric rehabilitation.
Sharon Thompson also travels down from the north and is from Corydon, Indiana. She is married to her husband Seth, and both are graduates from the University of Southern Mississippi. This will be Sharon’s first medical mission trip and she is very excited to be apart of this team. Her clinical interests include outpatient orthopedics, pediatrics and also home health physical therapy.
Luke Rowe is from Eclectic, Alabama. He completed his undergraduate at Troy University. His previous mission trips include New Orleans, Savannah, and serving in Panama City. Luke also brings some musical talent to the group and enjoys singing and playing guitar. His clinical interest is in outpatient orthopedics.
Joni Barnes joins us from Natchez, Mississippi. She is married to her husband Charlie and Joni is a graduate from the University of Southern Mississippi. This will be her first medical mission trip and we are very excited to have Joni with us because of the enthusiasm she will bring to the group. Her clinical interests are in pediatrics and also home health.
Everyone in our group brings talents, skills, and unique attributes to the team. A quote by Henry Ford states, “Coming together is a beginning. Keeping together is progress. Working together is success.” I liked this quote for this post because as a group we have come together, and now it the time to keep together as we prepare for our mission trip. Over this summer, it will be amazing to see how God can transform our lives and our relationships through this mission. I know God has brought each of us to the University of South Alabama and into this mission as a part of His plan for our lives. When August comes, it will be time to work together, serve, and share the gospel, and with God’s blessing, it will be a success. Not only to benefit the patients we will work with, but in building our own relationships with one another and most importantly with God. We are all excited for this chance to be apart of His mission and we are thankful for all of the support we have received.
May God bless you and keep you and we ask that you please continue to pray for our trip and the people of the Dominican Republic whom we will serve.