Kayla was not a particularly beautiful girl; she was average looking. She had long light brown hair and hazel eyes which were much too large for her heart-shaped face. Her frame was small and slight, and overall, she was the kind of girl who tended to blend in with everyone else. But she had a loving heart, and she reached out to me during this difficult time of losing my brother. Kayla was a very strong Christian, and she shared with me the hope of the gospel. Oddly enough I found comfort there, and I began attending church more regularly. Up to that point in my life, I was someone who only went to church on Christmas and Easter. Needless to say, my understanding of God was minimal. But as my friendship with Kayla grew stronger, I gained an understanding of God, both His mercy and His justice. When I lost my brother, through my grief, I gained truth, faith, and understanding. I still wanted the same things. I wanted to play soccer, I wanted to be a doctor, but now I wanted them for different reasons. My desire was to use my talents for the glory of God.
That same year I graduated high school. I got accepted at the University of North Carolina. I was going to study pre-med. I also got a scholarship to play soccer there. So after a tumultuous year, I packed up my bags and headed to college, ready to start my life. I enjoyed my time at college. I studied hard, played lots of soccer, and was still able to make a lot of friends. Additionally, I was able to get involved with some on-campus ministries, and I kept in touch with Kayla back home. College was enjoyable. I even liked my field of study, but I missed my family, and when the year was over, I was ready to spend my summer at home. However, things didn’t quite go as planned.
That summer I went home and spent a few weeks with my family. Kayla told me she was going on a mission’s trip to India with a group from church. She told me all about it and invited me to go along. I had a little money saved up, and after a time of thought and prayer, I decided this trip might be a good experience. So after spending about two weeks with my family, I left home to spend two weeks in India.
My trip to India was a formative experience in my life. We spent time, a lot of time, with the poorer people of India, bringing food, fresh water, and, of course, the gospel. Not being able to speak their language, we found it hard to communicate, but we managed, and there was one man in the group that spoke Hindi. We also spent a few days at the Bhogpur Children’s Home. Kayla had a real gift for mission work. She was able to really communicate with people and touch them, despite the language barrier. I found out that missions were her passion, and she was learning to speak Hindi so that one day she could come back to India and work more permanently at the children’s home. Spending time there, with the lower class people of India, I saw that there was a great need for doctors and medical resources in India. I began to think of the difference just one doctor could make, and suddenly, my studies took on a whole new meaning.
I went back to school, year after year, working with a new zeal. I was no longer learning medicine for myself. I was learning it for the poor children in India. Kayla and I learned Hindi together, working with the man from church, who spoke it fluently. My life was taking shape; I knew what I wanted. There was direction and I was happy. God had taken much, given much, and I knew he expected much. He had taken my brother from me. He had given me a friendship with Kayla, a relationship with Him, and the opportunity for a great education. I knew He intended for me to be a good doctor and to use my skills to help those in need. I had just finished my first year of medical school at New York University. I was part of a select group of students, taking a three-year medical course. Things were going well, the curriculum was rigorous, but finishing a year early was going to make it worthwhile.
When I had the chance to visit home, I spent most of my time with Kayla. I loved my family and tried to be with them, but it was hard. I was so involved in church, medicine, and going to India. My family loved me and supported me, but they didn’t understand what I believed. Though I talked and talked to my family about God and my faith, none of them accepted that faith as their own. This made our relationship difficult. Yet, I hoped and prayed that one day they could know God the way I had come to know Him.
Everything in my life after graduation seemed to fall into place fell into place. Kayla and I set off for India. We were completely happy and ready to start our lives. As I sat next to Kayla on the plane, half-asleep, I thanked God for everything He’d given me. Suddenly the plane jerked.
I felt excruciating pain. Like I was being sucked out of a small space. Then I hit something hard with a thump. There were needles pricking me and tubes coming from my arms. I was alive, but barely. Then I felt as if my limbs were being torn from my body. Everything went dark.
Conrad took his last breath. The amazing life that he could have lived was taken from him as he was sucked from his mother’s womb.