Emerson Southridge*
Physical Therapist
Specialty: Acute Care, Geriatrics
Location: South Asia
*Name withheld for security reasons
Call to Missions

I grew up in the church, wanting to be a missionary. I loved hearing visiting missionaries share about their work starting churches or translating the Bible. I remember multiple times, standing up when they asked if anyone felt like God was calling them to be a missionary.

I went on two short term trips in high school, then a third short term trip to Kenya in college. I was also a part of Intervarsity, a campus ministry, in college. Through Intervarsity, I also attended Urbana, a large mission conference held every three years. Intervarsity values sharing Jesus and His gospel with those who
have never heard about Jesus. Much of my theology surrounding missions was formed during college. I still feel that scripture calls me to 'make disciples of all nations'. Mt 28:19

During college, I did not think about going overseas long term. My goal was to be part of a short term trip that went to the same place consistently. These are the kind of trips I had been a part of to this point. It was after graduate school that my length of service transitioned from short term to long term. I talked with multiple people that were influential in this transition. Two of them were the team leaders on the church-based team I was on. We joined our church at similar times and began sharing our desire and call to go overseas. I was also encouraged to attend Perspectives. I remember being struck by the Bible study on Jesus' heart for the nations. I was impacted by one of the speakers, sharing about how long it took to develop deep relationships with the people they were living with.
He said it took years, but eventually they were able to share Jesus and many people came to know Jesus as Savior.

These things, along with seeing the number of people who still had never heard of Jesus, and had no churches among them, began to turn my mind and heard toward long term service.

One of my clearest thoughts about serving long term overseas, came when walking through a difficult time with a friend. Without Jesus, the situation was hopeless and heartbreaking. But with Jesus, there was hope and comfort and peace beyond any human reasoning. With Jesus, there is hope out of darkness and
hope for life and freedom. This is why I feel called to serve overseas and share Jesus with people who do not know Him.


Anticipated Impact

I see education as a large part of my role as a physical therapist. I will be able to educate the patient on their condition and what they can do to help treat or prevent it. Physical therapy can be used to decrease pain and increase overall function and participation in life. It can give people back the ability to care and do for themselves, return to work to support families, and enjoy life. Keeping people at work impacts both the family unit and the community. If the family provider is kept healthy and able to work, the rest of the family is provided for. This can help empower people, families, and communities, and hopefully play a part in alleviating poverty.

I also feel that I may be able to decrease isolation in some areas or situations. I think of people with disabilities that are often shunned, or kept home at all times. Training families on how to care and mobilize and interact with them can de-stigmatize their disabilities and allow them to more fully participate in society