It’s been almost two years now, but it seems like last week: the 2019 Global Missions Health Conference, my fifth in six years. Southeast Christian Church, Louisville, Kentucky. About 200 mission organizations, thousands of people, all talking about health care and Christian ministry — two of my deepest passions.
But I hadn’t come to just talk about medicine and ministry. I’d been coming to GMHC since 2014, looking for a way to work full-time as a nurse practitioner in the international marketplace.
My desire to work internationally had been germinating for years.
In 2013, my husband, Steve, and I took our kids to Kenya for six months when he received a grant. I subsequently had the chance to take nursing students from the university where he worked back to Kenya to do their global experience.
After 18 years in Ohio, where I was a nurse and Steve was a music professor, I found myself working for the United States Border Patrol as a travel nurse, responding to a lot of COVID cases in 2020 and into this year.
So, there I was, experienced and well-traveled and willing, wanting to be the international nurse practitioner I felt God was leading me to be. Trouble was, nobody was looking for nurse practitioners.
Because nurse practitioners tend to function more like physicians than the registered nurses they are — diagnosing patents, creating treatment plans, prescribing medication — it’s outside the accepted norm for most health communities around the world.
The more I asked medical ministries, “Could you use a nurse practitioner?” the more everyone said no. They wanted doctors, physicians’ assistants, dentists, physical therapists, just about every specialty except mine.
That year, at GMHC, I looked at the conference program and saw the summary for Scatter Global’s presentation (just before lunch) on marketplace workers. A friend and I walked into the room and could barely find a seat, it was that packed. And while she was interested, I was absorbed. The more I heard, the more excited I got.
As I listened, I couldn’t believe how closely Scatter Global’s vision of sending workers into the international marketplace as ambassadors for Jesus resonated with my own. Steve and I have long shared a belief in the very thing that I was having affirmed in the strongest possible way: that we should minister in the name of Jesus while doing our jobs (in our case, nursing and teaching) and getting paid to do those jobs.
So, too excited to just sit and eat after Scatter Global’s talk, I hurried over to their booth in the exhibition space and asked the same question I’d been asking for years. But instead of the same answer, I heard, “Oh, yeah — we really would like to use nurse practitioners.”
That lit a fire in me and immediately sparked my relationship with Scatter Global. That put us on a career path that’s culminated in my new job at a hospital in the Middle East, where we have lived for two months.
What has God shown us along the way? Find out more in Part 2.