29 Oct Don’t Be Afraid to Walk in Obedience
As I walk through the doors of work with a canteen of coffee in my hand, I mentally prepare myself for the day ahead. The humidity and the heat of the air are increased as I walk from the open air breezeways into the four walls of Hospital of Hope.
I am a nurse at a mission hospital, and I have work to do. All around me I see need. I see the old man who has suffered for years and traveled all over the region in search for answers, the children whose little immune systems cannot fight off the ever-present malaria, the woman who only days ago discovered that she is dying from AIDS. Along with the sad, seemingly hopeless cases, I see the cases of victories. I see the little one month old baby with meningitis who only yesterday with failing lungs was seconds from death. Today, this same baby, although still very sick, is breathing easily with minimal oxygen assistance. He is opening his eyes and rooting for nourishment. Just down the hall, a woman is smiling and kissing her new baby, a baby that she labored with through the night to bring into the world. The nurses, doctors, aids and chaplains are standing at patients’ bedsides praying, rejoicing, and sharing the hope of the Gospel. These are moments in which my heart rejoices and praises the God who hears.
I am always amazed at the sovereignty of God and at the quiet and unique ways He brings about His work in our lives. Sometimes it is so obvious that He is leading us, preparing us to do certain things, and other times we find ourselves doing life in a place we never imagined. Yet when we look back, we see how God was leading and preparing in obvious ways. For me, I find myself on a motorcycle, driving over the dirt roads of Togo, West Africa. I head to work at the hospital and think to myself, “How did I get here?!”
I am always amazed at the sovereignty of God and at the quiet and unique ways
He brings about His work in our lives.
Since I was a middle school kid reading Jim Elliot’s biography, I have always loved ministry and outreach. I love seeing people come to Christ and then to see them grow in their walks with God. God is so faithful and, as a 29 year old woman, I see so clearly how God led and nurtured me every step of the way. From the female youth intern who discipled me through high school to the aged, wise missionary who spoke in college chapel services, there have been so many people along the way who have shown me that serving God whole-heartedly can be costly and difficult, but the satisfaction of following God in the adventure the Christian life is totally worth it all!
As a high school student approaching college, I knew I wanted to obtain a degree that would open doors for ministry. I thought to myself, “Nursing? It can’t be too hard, right?” There were many sleepless nights of paperwork, long clinical days and maybe one or two tearful phone calls, but at the end of four years, I had a bachelor’s degree and was ready to take the nursing world by storm. Always in the back of my mind, it was my hope to take my nursing ministry beyond the walls of my American hospital to a place where medical practice could open doors to the Gospel.
In college as a nursing student, I took a three week trip to Togo, West Africa, where I was able to volunteer and shadow in a mission hospital. What an amazing and life changing time that was! It was my first introduction to medical missions, and I was spell-bound! To see quality medical care, coupled with Gospel outreach and discipleship was transformative. I came back from that trip on fire and ready to save the whole world. But like so many before me, the fires cooled and life happened.
I came back from that trip on fire and ready to save the whole world.
But like so many before me, the fires cooled and life happened.
Fast forward six years to 2013. I find myself a four year, veteran nurse on a medical mission trip with Grace Church in Kenya. Once again, God used medical missions and the continent of Africa to move my heart towards action. After four years of working in the emergency room, I was burned out, tired and slightly cynical towards the field of nursing. For many months, God had been working in my heart. Questions like, “How am I stewarding my singleness?”, “Am I serving God to the best of my ability”, and “Am I just chasing after the American Dream?” plagued me.
Occasionally, I would take time to consider them, but mostly I simply pushed them to the back of my mind to be dealt with another day. After a long day of clinic, I climbed the stairs to my room and leisurely sat down with my phone to check my emails. There it was. I found myself staring at a name I had not seen or heard since six years prior while on my trip to Togo. It was the name of a missionary surgeon who was currently serving in Mango, Togo, West Africa. This surgeon was busily working to prepare for the opening of a new mission hospital in northern Togo. He very patiently and meticulously laid out the ministry and needs of this new hospital. They needed nurses. Desperately. He asked me if I would be willing to come for two years to help staff this new hospital.
I remember closing that email thinking, “Neat idea, but I’ll never go live in Togo for two years. No way!” However, God had other plans. I decided I would take a reasonable amount of time to pray about and to consider the opportunity. If I was going to say no, I was going to do it a spiritually responsible way! As I prayed and sought the wisdom of those around me, God started to change my heart. One day the light switched on, and I knew I had to say “yes.” It dawned on me that my stage of life, my training and my desire were pointing in the same direction. It was time for action. With timidity, I stepped out to walk in obedience and to trust God. What a freeing, scary and exciting moment that was. Two years later, I find myself cozily settled into life in West Africa. There are many moments that are difficult, and most days are anything but glamorous. However, seeing God change those around me, as well as myself, from the inside is rewarding beyond compare.
It dawned on me that my stage of life, my training and my desire
were pointing in the same direction. It was time for action.
Singleness in my late twenties is not something that I would necessarily have chosen for myself. God in all His beautiful sovereignty had a plan for me, and singleness was a crucial part of it. Is everyone supposed to up root their lives and move across the ocean? Of course not! Obedience, faithfulness and stewardship look different for everyone. For me it was taking the training I had as a nurse to minister the Gospel to Muslim West, Africa. Everyone’s walk of faith looks different.
So what am I trying to say and communicate in sharing a bit of my story? Simply this, love God and His plan more than your own, steward well your phase of life, and don’t be afraid to walk in obedience. Our God gave Himself for us. He is worth serving. End of story.
Hospital of Hope is a 50 bed hospital with pediatric, obstetric, surgical, medical, emergent, inpatient and outpatient services. They also have fully staffed and operational radiology and laboratory departments.The chief goal and hope of ABWE and Hospital of Hope is to share the Gospel and to start local fellowships of believers among this 80-90% Muslim population. Through God’s power, they are seeing these hopes and prayers realized. They have seen many people from all over West Africa come to know Christ. Those who are coming to Christ locally are being discipled by and connected with their local house churches.
Pray for these new believers. Especially in the Togolese, communal culture, it is no small thing to go against the flow of traditional Islam and your family. The persecution and shunning is often great and difficult.
Many days 400 plus people show up at the gate of the hospital, hoping to be seen. However, the facility and staff can handle no more than 100 patients a day. The CEO stands at the gate, triaging every morning in effort to make the best decisions as to who will be seen each day.
So how can you help? A hospital is a big operation and requires MANY different kinds of abilities and skills sets from physicians and nurses to management, maintenance and hospitality personnel. Hospital of Hope needs you! The opportunity is unique and quite special. No skill or amount of time you offer is too small. Please take the time to consider and pray about coming out to help and serve. Please feel free to email Amanda with questions, concerns and thoughts at [email protected]