February 25, 2003
KANSAS CITY, Kan. – Spanish-speaking patients at the University of Kansas (KU) Medical Center in Kansas City, Kan., are glad to see Jason Schoff. Because when Schoff arrives, communication can begin.
Schoff, a master of divinity student at Midwestern Seminary in Kansas City, Mo., is a freelance Spanish interpreter for the hospital. He assists patients in communicating with doctors during any kind of medical visit, including basic checkups, emergencies and labor and delivery.
"There’s nothing like being able to communicate with people in their heart language," Schoff, 28, said. "About 75 percent of the Spanish-speaking patients here don’t speak English. They are always relieved to see someone who can speak their language."
To help him with medical terminology, he carries an English-Spanish dictionary with him. "Each interpreter carries one because it helps in dealing with people from different countries speaking different dialects of Spanish."
His most memorable experience since he started with KU last fall was being present during the birth of a baby. "I want to go work those calls," he said. "It’s exciting to see new life come into the world."
Sometimes Schoff is called upon to be in the emergency room to get vital patient information for the doctors. "I have to be as close to the patient’s head as possible, and still be in a position to speak with the doctor," he said. "I have to find out information such as name, allergies, when the patient last ate – things doctors need to know."
Previously, Schoff used his Spanish speaking skills for two years as a Journeyman missionary in the South American nation of Uruguay. He has a bachelor’s degree in Spanish education from Central Missouri State University, Warrensburg.
When he returned from Uruguay last year, Jason said he wanted to find a place to work where he would be around all kinds of people — including people who don’t know Christ.
"In Uruguay, I spent more time with lost people than ever before, and I didn’t want to lose touch with what it is like to be lost."
A native of Raytown, Schoff became a Christian at age 18 while attending Sterling Acres Baptist Church, Kansas City. He now attends Pleasant Valley Baptist Church in Liberty, where he is active in the singles group.
"I feel humbled by the opportunity put in front of me to be an interpreter," he said. "I pray that I will be able to communicate well, especially in high stress situations."