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I have been involved in missions for as long as I can remember. Some of my earliest memories are going to the grocery store, picking out things to send in the little care packages to the missionaries. The most important decisions to be made were what flavors of Kool-Aid, gum, and lifesavers because those were treats I rarely ever had. My dad started going on and leading mission trips when I was 5 years old. The highlight of my year was to take Dad to the airport to see him off. We had to go to bed before going to the airport. Like Christmas Eve, my sister, Kristy, and I were so excited we could never sleep. Then around 11 pm we were finally allowed to get up. In the chill of the night, we hurried out to the car to go to the airport for one of Dad’s famous red-eye flights. How exciting to watch each team member arrive with their suitcases, wishing as I watched them that I would also have some suitcases and could be going with them on their adventure. And then two weeks later we went to wait for Dad’s plane and then hear the stories of his trip. Finally, at the age of 9, I went on my first mission trip!

My first mission trip wasn’t quite as exciting because we didn’t fly anywhere, just drove to Mexico to build a covered meeting area. I “helped” by mixing cement, carrying drinks out to the working men, and playing with the neighbor kids. I slept out under the stars at night. During the day we swam in the irrigation ditches near the church. I was hooked on missions and wanted to be a missionary!

Growing up my sister, Kristy and I were homeschooled which made it possible when I was in 4th grade to go stay with my grandma when she fell and broke her hip. I was her “nurse.” I did those important nursing jobs like putting her socks on, playing board games, and most importantly, helping my grandpa with the grocery shopping because cottage cheese with no salt added is disgusting to a 4th grader! From that point on, I knew I wanted to be a nurse. But I was torn on deciding which career I wanted. Finally, I realized I could be both!

Having gone on five mission trips before I finished high school and still being homeschooled made it hard for me to make close friends with the kids in the church youth group where designer clothes and make-up were so important for teenage girls. I had seen kids who had nothing and watched others die from malnutrition. After those experiences how could I want the designer jeans when the cheaper ones worked just as well?

Working as a nurse I have learned how important teamwork is. Although I am the RN, I help my nurse’s aides when they are busy. Some RNs feel if it isn’t their “job” then they won’t help out. That isn’t true because we are a team working to provide the best quality care for our patients, working as a team. For me the paycheck is nice, but the best part is to see someone smile and just say a simple thank you. It might just be for getting rid of a lump in the bed, but that can make such a difference.

I pray that the skills I have learned as a team member will help me as I work to improve the quality of nursing care at Kibogora Hospital. If I work alongside the staff, hopefully, they will be more willing to make the changes needed to provide better care for the patients.


Crocheting, sewing, walking, reading, playing games and watching movies with friends