Growing up as a small-town girl in Hemingway, SC, Rachel Fenters was no stranger to the familiarity of a three red light town. Fenters spent most of her childhood participating in youth group, Youth Quest, and other events at her home church, Lake City Pentecostal Holiness Church and was familiar with Emmanuel College from a young age.
“Every year of my youth, a booth from Emmanuel College was present at these events,” remembers Fenters. “My youth pastor was also a graduate of Emmanuel.”
With desires to be a successful doctor, Fenters believed she had to attend a large, expensive university to achieve her goals. Rachel planned on attending the College of Charleston after graduation, however, God had other plans for her life.
“During that same time, many others were advising my parents to keep me away from a school like Emmanuel, (if I wanted to get into medical school), however, I knew in my gut, that was exactly where God was sending me,” Fenters recalled. “I knew the one thing I needed to be successful was a relationship with Him and people (like those at Emmanuel) who could help me accomplish my goals with a like-minded spirit.”
So, following His call, Rachel attended Emmanuel in pursuit of a Biology degree, placing her on the path to medical school.
During her time at Emmanuel, she found the Lord provided her with a community like no other. Rachel was involved in everything, soaking up all that God had for her during her tenure as a student at EC.
“I helped start the Revive Dance Ministry, I was a cheerleader, I was President of W.O.O Health and Science Club, I led a small group, I volunteered in the After School Program in Franklin County School Systems, I was a part of E.L.I., I was on the drama team, and intramurals too,” she said. “Anything that I could be involved in, I was!”
The like-minded people she was surrounded by at Emmanuel helped push her towards her goals while encouraging her in her pursuit of serving God. Fenters learned how to study and apply her studies to worship through being a student at Emmanuel.
Graduating in 2013, Fenters went on to study at Edward Via College of Osteopathic Medicine to learn the medical practices necessary for her career. However, she recalls the impact the professors and staff at Emmanuel made on her life and her career.
“I am where I am today because of those same people who poured into my life while at Emmanuel,” she shared. “People ask me all the time as a doctor, ‘how did you get here?’ and I think of those same people. One of them even drove me across state lines to take the M.C.A.T to get into medical school.”
Now, Fenters has the opportunity to share the lessons she learned at Emmanuel through her job as a Hospitalist at Mcleod Reginal Medical Center. While she only practices medicine in the hospital, she continues to practice openness in her faith each and every day.
“Working with sick people every day exposes me to their mental, physical, and spiritual health. Being a good doctor means that I not only practice good medicine, but I also care for the soul of a person,” she shared. “This has increased during COVID-19. These patients are isolated from their families for weeks and, sometimes, months. I, and the other hospital staff are their only point of contact (the only human touch). I started bringing in my phone and Face Timing with some of the families so they could see their loved ones.”
Fenters regards the ability to comfort these broken-hearted and suffering patients through compassion as one of the most rewarding aspects of her current job.
When asked to offer advice to those dreaming of going into the medical field, Fenters had this to say:
“You need to be called. It will require you to give up everything. While my friends were getting married, I was studying. While other people were taking vacations, I was taking board exams. While those around me were sleeping, I was working 16-/24-hour night shifts as a Resident,” she expressed. “Every sacrifice and hardship I overcame was because God called me to be a physician.”
Fenters knew that this was the call God had placed on her life and, despite opposition from many, she knew that Emmanuel was the place to pursue her calling.
“If He does call you, then please know, it is worth it,” she exclaimed. “Stay the course and don’t give up!”