Tricia (Hammink) Hall '92
Tricia Hall has seen her interests, passions and calling combine in medicine, international health, and ministry. After practicing medicine here in the US for 10 years, she is now active in serving the people of Guatemala who don’t have access to health care. “We go to the really rural, remote villages of central Guatemala--a lot are mountainous and not reached by government or other organizations—and find ways to encourage and help bring improvement where they need it.” She travels there about every four months to work on community health initiatives, and in the summer, she leads a trip to Guatemala with participants from around the US.
When Tricia was at MA, she took Advanced Biology with Ron Monson, and one of their projects was dissecting cats. That was her first ‘a-ha’ moment; she really liked learning about the body and the way it functions. That class and youth group service trips were the two formative experiences that led her to study medicine.
Tricia also enjoyed being in MA’s music program and sang in Singers and Madrigals under Gordon Olson. When she was a senior, Gordon’s 19-year-old son Tim was tragically killed by bandits in the Central African Republic (CAR) while he was volunteering to build a church. “I remember really taking Tim’s decision to heart—he went to the Central African Republic after he had gotten into a prestigious college. He deferred that for a year to go overseas and volunteer. At his funeral we sang ‘Take my life and let it be.’ Every time I sing that hymn, I think of him. I think about that decision that he made.” Gordon stayed at MA and taught for several years after Tim died, but then went back to the CAR to finish the church. He founded an organization called Lutheran Partners in Global Ministry (LPGM) to minister to the people there and around the world.
Many years later, Tricia ran into Gordon at a church she was visiting. As they reconnected, it was clear the Lord had brought them together as they shared a passion for international service and ministry. “I have always had a real interest and desire to do international work, particularly international health. When I heard about all the amazing things Gordon was doing with LPGM, I really wanted to get involved. I served on the board for a few terms, and then was able to bring my interests and passion for Guatemala to LPGM. LPGM is now the local partnering organization for the trips that I lead to Guatemala. It has been a privilege to work alongside them.”
Tricia leads a summer intergenerational experiential learning trip to Guatemala that partners with both LPGM and also a Guatemalan organization called Community Cloud Forest Conservation (CCFC). “My goal is for the groups to experience a different culture, to partner alongside the work that is already being done in education and agroecology, and to share our love and the love of God with people around us.” Tricia also started working on community health initiatives in Guatemala, serving alongside CCFC. She saw it as a real advantage to be able to serve with an organization that is in the country permanently, has local staff, and has a lot of trust already built in the organization. “I ask ‘What can I bring that can add to the health aspects of what they are already doing?’”
Cultural Field Experience, a curricular intercultural experience for Minnehaha’s Upper School students, is hoping to do a trip with Tricia and LPGM soon. “We are privileged to have a nice structure for these trips and try to make it as meaningful as possible. LPGM uses the words, ‘transformational travel.’ It is not just a trip. We encourage people to think about what the trip means beforehand, during the trip, and afterwards in their head, heart and soul. We think through how we can view people in another culture and how we can partner with them. We encourage everyone to think about what they are experiencing and how that might impact their understanding of God, faith, and their place in the world.”
Given the COVID-19 pandemic, group travel is not currently available, but Tricia is excited to return with groups as soon as possible. If you have ever been interested in doing a similar trip, she would love to have you consider going with their ministry. Check out lutheranpartners.org for information and details.