Dr. George and Christine Jackson with their youngest son Levi arrived on the MEU campus Friday afternoon, May 13. They’d spent the last few weeks flying around the world as they attended Mission Institute in Thailand then returned to California to finish the packing process. They were thrilled to finally realize a dream that began more than 3 years ago. . .
Dr. George comes most recently from Weimar College, California, where he headed the Science Department and started a BS in Natural Sciences with a pre-med focus. While there, one of his students, Michael Lombart, suggested they take a group of college students and go to the Middle East over spring break to conduct health expos. They were present for the inauguration of the 4 Your Life Center and began holding health expos in the small space. Dr. George describes it as “an incredible life-changing experience. We were told to expect maybe two or three people per hour but were swamped with several hundred people over just a few days!”
Dr. George returned for the next two years, each time with a team of students whose lives were changed as they learned the value of helping people regardless of culture or religion. They used health education to cross boundaries, reach out, and make friends. In 2015, he brought Christine and Levi along to see the beautiful country and its people who had captured his heart. As the Jacksons felt the deep need for medical care, it sparked a vision of doing a pre-med/pre-professional program at MEU.
The Middle East Fellowship, which includes MEU alumni and friends, provided significant donations that made it possible to fund the Biology program. Donations aided in renovating the bakery into a science building which will include classrooms, laboratory, student lounge and instructor offices. The renovations have been progressing nicely and Dr. George and Christine look forward to moving in to their offices soon.
Within the denominational work, there is a tremendous need for qualified medical professionals who can work in hospitals or clinics in the Middle East. As Dr. George says, “The need is orders of magnitude greater than any other parts of the world.” Two streams have been developed that will allow students to teach or pursue healthcare professions. Not only will they have a strong academic focus, they will also learn how to use their training in underserved communities. This will give them a strong application for medical school.
Though they were sad to leave their two adult children behind, Dr. George and Christine know God has called them to MEU. Both Talisa and Adam are pursuing healthcare professions, with Talisa a 3rd year medical student at Loma Linda University and Adam just graduating from Andrews University and heading to Loma Linda in the fall. In looking back over the past year of preparations, Christine affirmed that “when God opens a door and He puts it on your heart, He doesn’t let go until every single detail is taken care of!”