A unique part of my call to ministry is a call to heal and comfort the poorest of the poor. God called me first to this aspect of ministry while Ross and I were in Africa as mission interns in the summer of 2007.
During this time in Africa, the health problems and the poverty that I saw distracted me constantly. Before that summer, I did not know that poverty existed like I saw in Africa, and I decided that my life had to be changed as a result of experiencing it, or every day of my American life would be a mockery of the suffering of the poor.
I read Where there is No Doctor in a week and then dove into Where Women Have No Doctor. I began to carry tinctures of Griseofulvin for Tinea capitis (ring worm of the scalp) to give to little girls that I would meet with the large bald spots on their heads. This was a silly, small act, but one that helped me to cope with the tragedy that was all around. Before I left Africa, I promised myself (on behalf of the people I would minister to in the future) that I would not return without medical training.
When I got home, God opened the door for me to get into a nursing program at the University of Arkansas. I will finish this program in December and work for a few months as a RN before we leave for Africa. Through God’s grace, I have found the program to be manageable and exciting. I love working in the hospitals. God is helping me explore development methods that are sustainable, culturally appropriate, and empowering to those who are served.
One of the books that I want to model my health ministry after is Two Ears of Corn by Ronald Bunch. Additionally, I like to read books about and books by Mother Theresa. She is my favorite theologian. Her love for the poor and her simple, spiritual wisdom has ministered to me deeply. I hope to have a ministry like hers in that it is marked by love and focused on the poorest of the poor. After her example, when I provide care for someone as a nurse, I try to care for the person as if I am caring for Christ himself and to see Christ in each face. I feel that this is my calling.