by Regina Wang, Marketing Coordinator
When Meghan Ward ‘08 bid farewell to her close-knit Italian family to move to Illinois for college, it was difficult. In retrospect, Ward, now a medical school student, said it was the one of the best decisions she’d made in life, next to marrying her high school best friend, Kristoffer Y’Deen ‘08.
It was at Wheaton College — considered the Harvard of Christian universities — God spoke to her about her future of becoming a doctor.
“I’m supposed to be a Gospel-bringing doctor and an advocate for people who can’t speak for themselves,” said Ward, who is a second-year medical school student at University of Southern California.
Her spiritual journey began at Ontario Christian Schools, where she had attended since kindergarten.
“When it came to Bible literacy, I was above my peers in college,” Ward said. “I want to tell kids to pay attention to Bible Class, because it matters.”
Ward also thanks OC for her close group of friends. It made a difference in her relationship with God to be surrounded by peers who loved Jesus and tried to follow God. It was also at OC where she took a biology class with Mr. Luke Blacquiere that sparked her interest in medicine.
A valedictorian of her class, Ward traveled 2,000 miles northeast to Wheaton, Illinois. Looking back, she sees that God prepared her for a calling in medicine step by step.
For example, during her four years at Wheaton, she worked as a resident assistant and later an assistant resident director — an experience that taught her how to love and care for people. As she counseled young women who struggled with eating disorders, she learned that being a doctor meant being a caretaker who was first of all relational.
“It pushed me to my limits and challenged me to love them,” she said. “I felt so grateful for these girls who let me take care of them — I miss them.”
Once, during her junior year in college, she took time off studying for the MCAT (Medical College Admission Test) to pray to God. Knowing the demanding nature of the medical profession, she told God she could either be a wife or a doctor. She was surprised by God’s response.
“I sensed God told me that doing both meant taking more faith in Him… He’ll provide everything for me,” she said. “He gave me two huge challenges: being a wife and being a doctor.”
It was also during a prayer time that God gave her confidence about a calling in medicine. Taking a step of faith and knowing that she wanted to be back in Los Angeles, she applied for only five medical schools, and she was accepted to USC, the school of her choice.
But Ward had no idea the bigger surprise that would follow next. After she moved to Pasadena, she discovered that her next door neighbor was a boy she grew up with at OC, Kristoffer Y’Deen, who graduated from Life Pacific Bible College and works as a construction manager for The Irvine Company. The two reconnected. Two years later, they were engaged. Their wedding was in June.
“We both love the city of Los Angeles. It’s our heart,” she said. “We want to take care of people there. He wants to help a city run in a way to take care of people. I want to take care of people one at a time.”
Ward wants to encourage students at her alma mater to seek first God’s kingdom and righteousness as they are to make important decisions.
“Whatever you decide to do, do not step forward without God,” she said. “Don’t get distracted from what’s most important in life. Chasing your dream is meaningless without God.”