I was a senior in high school when I first felt a clear calling to missionary work. There was one evening as I was standing on a Hillside in Mexico, under the stars and singing praises alongside other youths, when the speaker asked which of us would commit to long-term missionary work, and by then I had no problem stepping forward because I had already felt God leading me in that direction. Since I was about to graduate and the guidance counselor said she wouldn’t permit me to have “stay at home mom” as my goal, I started leaning towards healthcare because I so much enjoyed taking care of my disabled grandmother during weekends in high school. I applied to college as a nurse, but Dr. Sisel had convinced me that I probably didn’t want to take orders from doctors for my entire life, so I started charting my path towards medical missions as a doctor. I know that I was made to be a missionary because my heart responds to stories of international service in a moving, longing sort of way that I don’t experience from any other area. My closest friends have been those like Bekah Bennett and Taryn Green who shared my passion for international work, and every time I attend a conference or participate in a mission trip, I feel fulfilled, almost like the fire in my spirit has been rekindled. During medical school, I felt a sense of peace and purpose and an unmistakable, nearly audible voice reassuring me that this is a calling. Was faithful during residency to bloom where I am planted and helped develop service projects in my underserved city, but I continued to feel like I am called to serve elsewhere. At that time I knew I would feel such a sense of loss like I was not being the person I was made to be if I never made it onto the mission field for long-term missions. These past 2 years living in Malawi have confirmed my calling. Greg and I can serve the Lord together there, and help other missionaries and local pastors and people from all strata of society. I love reading books from other missionaries to keep myself reminded of why I’m there on the rough days, but I would definitely say that Mother Theresa stands out as my greatest inspiration and hero. I would never want the kind of spiritual darkness she struggled through, but her passion for the poor and giving of herself was extraordinary. I probably will never go as far as her and praise God, it looks like, for now, my calling is a different type of ministry than hers, but she greatly inspires me as the ultimate example of giving and walking with the poor.
I pray for many patients, even athiests and Muslims, petitioning healing or praising God for transformations. And back home, non-believing friends and family say that they are praying for us and ask us about the hope that we have because they are seeing what we are doing and reading our letters. But we are more strongly called to discipleship than seed-planting evangelism. We are the trainers, supporters, and encourages for those who plant and bring in the harvest. I disciple the trainees at the hospital and bring health information into the communities using the church leadership as the culturally appropriate agents of change. I also host a Bible study for missionary mothers with young women, where they can have a cup of tea and focus on God for a change. I anticipate in the future I will work with a team of Malawians to bring the gospel alongside community development to village after village.
1. Improved quality of care at Nkhoma Mission Hospital through CME, protocols, QI, resident, and student training
2. Expanded Community Health Program at Nkhoma with improved funding, programs, documentation, research, and mentoring of public health staff
3. Partnership with pastors outside the Nkhoma catchment area and bring community transformations and long-term sustainable change