When I was asked to write a blog post, I had no idea what to write to about. I realized that I just want to share my story. I want to be real with all of you and share a small part of how the Lord has brought me to this point in my life. The point where God called me to move to Ethiopia and I chose to say yes out of obedience. Just a week ago, I graduated from Seattle Pacific University with a degree in nursing. And by God’s grace, on July 18, I will be moving to Ethiopia to serve as the medical support intern for Project 61. Praise the Lord!!
If you had asked me 9 months ago if this is what I would be doing now, I probably would have laughed and said absolutely not. In fact, I went to India several years ago and vowed to never live overseas again. God has a sense of humor, doesn’t he? Ever since I was young, I knew I wanted to be a nurse. God answered my prayers when I got accepted to nursing school in 2009. I began nursing school and did not know what the Lord wanted me to do after college. The options were endless. My mom visited Ethiopia in April 2010, and when she came back she could not stop talking about this beautiful place called Korah. She told me over and over that I had to go. I decided to go to Ethiopia in September, completely unaware that my world was about to be rocked to the core.
Instantly upon arriving in Addis, it felt like home. The sights that I saw and faces that I met latched on to my heart and would not let go. The presence of Jesus was physically felt in Korah. I left Ethiopia feeling completely broken and wrecked. I distinctly remember the Lord telling me on the airplane home to surrender my own plans for my life and receive His. And so I did. This moment was so defining that I now have a tattoo of the word ‘surrender’ in Amharic.
When I was in Ethiopia, I walked the streets of Korah dreaming about living there – sharing with them how deeply Jesus loves and cares for them, educating them about diseases, assessing their medical needs, taking them to the hospital, and following up in their homes. Little did I know that this would soon be my future job. Many of you know that disease is rampant in Korah and it spreads like wildfire. People are dying of preventable diseases such as diarrhea and pneumonia. Diseases such as hepatitis and tuberculosis are a part of daily life. I have been blessed to attend a Christian university that I believe has equipped me with the resources to begin addressing community health education within Korah. Over the next year, I will be implementing basic health and hygiene classes, as well as sex education and HIV awareness seminars. We hope to begin monthly health classes at the shelter for both adults and the children supported by Project 61.
Another goal is to establish medical files for the 250 children. For any of you that have ever been on a “clinic run”, you know the complete chaos that entails. Some days you might start off with one sick child, and it turns into a vanload of children by the time you are ready to head to the hospital. The clinic runs can take all day and sometimes you have to return the next day for results. Some days you might walk out of the hospital with 25 prescriptions to be filled, 4 x-rays, several referrals to a specialist, and so on. It is certainly a big task but it is my hope that we can create charts for all of children, and that I can do some nursing assessments before taking them to the hospital, to cut down on time and costs. I will be learning Amharic because I know that is one of the ways I can best help to meet the needs of the community. I have a lot to learn but I am trusting that the Lord has a plan and I know that His hand is upon this.
Sometimes, I think about how I am so inadequate to do something like move to Africa. What if I let God down? What if He asks me to do something that is too hard? What if I am too weak to live among so much pain? That is when God ever so gently reminds me that when I am weak, HE is strong. I am not doing this alone. There will be difficult days, but HE is there. HE is in control. And HE remains the same forever. These past six months have stretched me and caused me to fall at the feet of Jesus. My heart longs to be in Korah every single day. There are days when I feel like I’ll never make it through but I fully trust in the Lord’s timing and that He loved Korah way before I ever did. And soon I will be home.
This has been a wild ride and I know that it is only going get wilder. I am incredibly grateful for the community of supporters surrounding me. I want you to know that I am committed to serving and loving the people of Korah with everything that I have. I would love to get ideas and feedback about how best meet the medical needs in Korah (email me at email@example.com).
Please pray for me as I study and take my nursing boards in a few weeks, and as I pack my bags for Ethiopia.
“Only through the soil of brokenness will the greatest fruit for Jesus Christ be produced.” –Robbie Symons