Leaders urge students to “continue the healing ministry of Jesus.”
Published on: 12-29-2021
Thirty-four medical students and scores of guests participated in the first white-coat ceremony at the Adventist School of Medicine of East-Central Africa (ASOME) in Kigali, Rwanda, on November 12. Guests included some of the students’ parents, sponsors, Seventh-day Adventist Church health and education leaders, and Rwandan government officials.
ASOME, located on the campus of Adventist University of Central Africa (AUCA), was officially inaugurated in September 2019. More than two years later, because of the pandemic, the school is celebrating the first cohort of medical students, who are expected to graduate in 2027.
“Students, you are the future, and we are so delighted to have you here,” ASOME founding dean Eustace Penniecook said as he welcomed the class and invitees to the ceremony.
TRUTH AS IT IS IN JESUS
In a special address to the class, Adventist Health Ministries (AHM) associate director Zeno Charles-Marcel reminded students that as physicians, they have at their disposal the best that science can offer. “But sometimes science can be very cold,” he acknowledged. Christians, however, “have the best that heaven can offer. And God is a God of science. He created it. We are not in opposition to true scientific discovery. When you wear your white coat, you are saying that you are in the pursuit of truth wherever it may lead you.”
Peter Landless, AHM director, said he felt privileged to be present at the ceremony “to witness history.” He reminded students, leaders, and officers that Seventh-day Adventist medical education is not a franchise simply of medical education. On the contrary, he said, “it is an education focused on training medical missionaries in the pattern of the Great Physician, to extend the healing ministry of Jesus.”
After being invested with their white coats, students read a pledge in which they promised to dedicate their lives “to the furtherance of Jesus Christ’s healing and teaching ministry.” They also promised to “go and serve the community,” sharing their knowledge with people around them.
After the pledge Patrick Ndimubanzi, director-general of human resources development of the government of Rwanda, addressed the class. Among other charges to help them excel in their mission, he called students to be patient and humble. “To be a good doctor, you have to be a good human being,” he told them.
A LONG AND DIFFICULT JOURNEY
Lisa Beardsley-Hardy, director of the Education Department for the General Conference of Seventh-day Adventists, reminded those attending the ceremony that ASOME is the seventh Adventist school of medicine around the world. It is also the second in the African continent, after the Benjamin Carson School of Medicine at Babcock University in Nigeria (established 2012).
On behalf of the East-Central Africa Division (ECD), the world church region comprising 11 African countries, including Rwanda, ECD president Blasious Ruguri thanked parents and sponsors who are allowing these students to become Adventist professionals.
He noted that the results they are now celebrating required years of hard work. “It has not been a simple journey . . . to get this school in place,” Ruguri emphasized. “It was a very long journey, and to get at where we are today, it’s a miracle itself.”
He closed by addressing the students: “Class of 2027, I wish to challenge you to be our trailblazers! Do not let us down!”