God used the Covid pandemic to prepare me to do something I never imagined.
At the beginning of the pandemic, I was an orthopedic surgery nurse practitioner. The world was on lock-down, so surgery follow-up appointments were virtual and all elective surgeries were on hold.
I sat in our empty clinic doing telemedicine visits primarily for knee and shoulder pain. Meanwhile, I heard reports from the hospital of countless Covid patients dying each week. The work I was doing was important, but the hospital desperately needed help, so I offered to go to the ICU.
In those early days of Covid, we didn’t see many people walk out of the hospital. No visitors were allowed in, so I video-called countless families to give them daily updates or tell them when their loved one passed away. It was devastating.
I felt honored to be used by God to care for patients in such a terrible crisis. I also learned a tremendous amount and subsequently completed a critical care fellowship. Little did I know, God was teeing me up for something even bigger.
Earlier this year, I went on a month-long mission trip to a hospital in Ethiopia. Ethiopian nurses are some of the most intelligent and caring nurses I’ve ever met, but their training is generalized and includes very little critical care training. An African medical research organization even deemed the quality of nursing care in this region as “substandard” and the hospital facilities as “unsatisfactory.”
When I was leaving Ethiopia, the missionaries asked me to consider returning long-term. And that is what God has led me to do.
I’m currently in the States preparing to move to Ethiopia full-time to help educate and train their ICU nurses.
God’s love for every ill person around the world is deep, and each one deserves the best medical care available. There are many differences between Ethiopian and American hospitals that will need to be considered when training nurses. Yet God’s love is global, and quality medical care should be, too. I am eager to return and begin this good work.
You may not plan to be a full-time missionary, but you can plan to go out of your way and show up the next time you hear someone is in crisis. In doing so, we can all share Jesus’ love with the world.
To learn more about Joy’s mission work in Ethiopia, click here.