I have had a great desire to be a missionary to Africa since I was in graduate school after attending a conference called gynecological fistulas in Africa where I learned of the complications young girls undergo during delivery due to poor access to obstetric care, incomplete growth of their pelvis, and complications from female genital mutilation. I feel the Lord has given me the tools and knowledge to help train other physical therapists and healthcare providers to address these problems and to help draw these girls who have been cast out of their communities back into their communities. The desire became so strong at a missions conference at our church 4 years ago that it felt more uncomfortable to stay than it did to go where we felt the Lord was calling our family. We have most been influenced by Jesus’ great commission to go into all the world and make disciples.
I will be working in a clinic known for their HIV/AIDS program which includes appointments and follow up home visits, as well as a child sponsorship program to support the children affected by AIDS/HIV. I will be working in the local clinic as a Lymphedema and Pelvic Floor Physical Therapist, though also using my general physical therapy knowledge to address the general pediatric/development, orthopedic, and neurological needs of the community. My desire is to treat the patients that arrive at the clinic and those in the surrounding villages who have impairments that can be addressed with physical therapy. There are currently two indigenous midwives on staff that are trying to acquire an ambulance in order to start delivering babies again. I have a vision to educate these two midwives on the different skills that I have acquired through my specialties especially pertaining to birthing positioning for optimal outcomes and interventions to help with pelvic floor dysfunction particularly in this part of Africa related to female genital mutilation. When we went for our research trip they seemed very receptive and excited to be able to add skills to their own skill sets. The clinic borders a Muslim neighborhood, and I will have the opportunity to minister to a lot of these ladies. We will join another couple on the field and help with the established ministries including a group called Women Together. The purpose of this group is to educate young girls about hygiene, puberty, reproductive health, STIs, HIV, forced early marriage, and female genital mutilation. There are currently over 150 girls who attend in only three different cities/villages with the hopes of spreading into more areas with two women being there to support this ministry. Most of the young women that attend are Muslim and do not know Jesus.