Back My Story: Doris Appiah
September 17th, 2013
In 2008, I moved from Ghana to the United States for the purpose of going to school to become a physician.
In Ghana, healthcare is very inaccessible—especially in rural parts. There are very few doctors, and there’s a lot of poverty and poor conditions. They don’t have enough resources for good healthcare.
As a kid, I always wanted to pursue medicine. Growing up there, I saw how a lot of people suffered and died from diseases like malaria, which is very curable.
I have family in Nashville, so it was easier for me to come here to study. I recently got my degree in biology with a minor in chemistry and just applied to go to medical school. Eventually, I’d like to go back home and help people.
My mom is a very strong believer. I was raised in the church and all my siblings are Christians. But when I moved from Ghana to Nashville, I didn’t know what church to attend, so I just made excuses and said I’d watch it online.
I rarely ever went into a church building—maybe only once a semester. And that was when I needed to pass a test and wanted to pray about it and have a peace within myself.
I wasn’t close to God.
I’d actually never read the Bible before because I always told myself it was just very hard to understand, so there was really no point in reading it. I also think going to college and not having any Christian friends really pushed me away from God.
When I graduated, I decided to go back to Ghana and start a non-profit that was based on education and healthcare.
During that time, I had a friend from high school who came to sleep over at our house. I woke up one morning and saw her reading her Bible. That was interesting to me because I didn’t think people my age read the Bible.
She had introduced me to this guy who was going to do my website for the non-profit. We met and talked about it. And I don’t know how we got there, but he wound up asking me about my faith, so I told him everything I thought about God and Christianity.
I told him I felt like Christians put on this face. Most people know what we stand against, but not what we stand for. I said I didn’t want to associate myself with Christians who try to send people away.
I told him I didn’t read my Bible and didn’t want to, and he said, “You’re a biology major. How could the Bible be that hard to understand?” Then he encouraged me to find a church in Nashville and actually attend.
When I got back to the States in April, I went online to research some churches here. I had a list with every church I wanted to visit, just to see how it was.
I chose Brentwood Baptist first because it looked like it was really big on its mission of helping people. That’s me.
I understand we have to help people in their relationship with Christ, but Brentwood Baptist talked about loving your neighbors too. You can’t just have one part of that. So that’s why I first wanted to try it.
When I came for the first service, I saw all these things about missions to Africa. I thought it was interesting.
But what really got me was during the worship time. I felt like someone was standing right next to me. I knew this is where I wanted to be, but I wanted to be sure, so I gave it another chance.
The week I started here, I met a lady named Elizabeth. She told me about Kairos and the LIFE Groups.
The next Tuesday night, Pastor Mike was talking about “Love” coming to town. I don’t even remember everything that was said or what happened, but the tears started coming. I think Elizabeth understood me because she started praying for me.
I got baptized on June 30, 2013.
In a brochure, I saw the Abiding Word LIFE Group was new and the time was perfect, so I thought I’d check that out. I went and enjoyed it. I met the teacher, Susan Hill, and since then I’ve had a lot of support and love from that class.
All along I’ve had a hard time trying to combine Christianity and science. I thought: If I’m going to be a physician, then how am I going to explain to a sick or dying patient whether or not it’s science or God?
I’ve never heard of someone being a Christian and scientist in one. In my world, you have to pick one. The Bible says you can’t serve two masters, and to me, science and God are two different masters.
I still think that way. I just place God above science now. Life isn’t determined by physicians—it’s determined by God.
In the LIFE Group, I was given a lot of resources and books to read about this. And surprisingly, a lot of the women in the class are also in healthcare, so they were really able to help me understand.
Now, I read my Bible every day and it’s not as difficult as I made it seem.
I’ve actually been able to share my faith with those around me now—my family and friends. I’ve been a church-goer my entire life, but I never had a real relationship with Him.
One of my brothers doesn’t want to associate with religion. I know I can’t change him, but I can pray for him. He’s been to Brentwood Baptist and Kairos Roots with me a few times, so he’s been thinking. It’s going to be a slow process, but I know he’ll come around.
A lot of my friends think they’re Christians, but I’m now realizing they’re just church-goers like I was. I’ve encouraged them to read their Bible and spend time with Him. I’ve had several friends who’ve come to talk to me now and ask me to pray for them.
I also used to have a lot of fear about taking the test to apply for medical school. I’ve spent my entire college career preparing for it.
One of the ladies in the LIFE Group asked me how my preparation was going. I started crying and explained to her how nervous I was. She stopped and prayed for me and it really helped that week. I felt calm and knew that if it’s God’s will then I’m fine with that.
It’s very easy to feel alone at a big church like this. But the one thing that really helped me stay was the LIFE Group because then I met people and felt more and more comfortable coming here.
I probably wouldn’t have come back if I hadn’t gotten involved. Having people just saying hi and having people to see each week has been the thing that has kept me here.
Where I’m from, preachers just talk about prosperity and richness and how people are going to get well. But they don’t necessarily preach about a relationship with Jesus Christ.
Most people go to church just to get motivation and not necessarily to know who Jesus is and how to walk with Him. I don’t even call them Christians. I call them church-goers—like I was. They go to just be motivated.
Coming here, reading the Word, getting to know Christ for myself, and sharing it with my family, has made me very grateful. Joining Brentwood Baptist has helped me grow my relationship with Him so I can also influence my friends and family.