ArticleMissionary Life

From the ER to the Ends of the Earth

A missionary nurse recounts how God led her from childhood to serve the least-reached.
I have always wanted to be a nurse. Even when I was a little girl. I couldn’t have said why; it just felt like my path.

As I grew up, I studied nursing in college, and upon graduation began practicing medicine in the emergency room of a local hospital. The ER is a rough and tumble sort of place that requires tough skin and steely nerves. But I fell in love with the fast pace of critical care, and that’s where God softened my heart towards lost people.

My patients included addicts, alcoholics, and teens that had tried to commit suicide. As I cared for them, I began to arrive at an awareness that they all shared a common aching for the one who made them, a longing for the peace and joy that only comes from knowing the God who put eternity into our hearts.

Over time, God began to convict me about people and places that have no access to the good news of Jesus, unreached people. Closed countries.

Here in the US, if someone is searching for truth, there is access to it. There are churches on every corner. Bibles on the shelves of Walmart. But at the far reaches of the globe, there are entire people groups who have never heard the name of Jesus. Countries that are closed to the gospel. And so I started praying about what God would have me do. What did I have that he could use?

I was willing to go anywhere and do anything.

As I considered using my nursing gift, I imagined how boring and dull it would be. My idea of medical missions was sitting in a dusty tent, administering vaccines over and over to a line of local patients. Still, I distinctly remember talking to God and telling him that I was willing to go if that’s what he was calling me to do. I wanted to have a passion for the lost like Paul demonstrated in Romans chapter 3.

One day, I stumbled across some information about a hospital in a closed country that was looking for nurses with a background in critical care. Immediately I began to ask the Lord to give me a burden for the people of this nation if he was calling me to go.

Shortly after, I began reading a book about medical missions that I discovered on my mother’s bookshelf. After only a few pages, I realized that this story took place in the very same hospital, in the very same country I had been praying about! I poured over the account of the founder’s convictions, his heart for the people there, and his decision to establish the hospital. And as I was reading, a letter fell from the pages of the book. I picked it up and skimmed the first lines of the text. It was my birth story. This book, about this far-away hospital, was the very book my mother had been reading when I was born.

And here I was years later, reading the same book and praying about moving there to minister to the lost. I was astounded. I knew that the Lord was calling me to go.

Through ABWE, I began to prepare to share the gospel in a different culture. I took Bible classes and began raising support and learning the language.

Now, several years later, I’m living in that country and ministering at the hospital.

It’s not easy; in fact it’s extremely difficult at times—but immensely worth it. Author AW Tozer once said, “Outside of God’s will, there’s nothing I want, and inside of God’s will, there’s nothing I fear.” This is true of my heart. God led me here and he has given me peace. It’s my joy and privilege to serve him here in this closed country. What better way to spend my life, that after all is just a vapor, than by telling people about Jesus Christ?

You Can Help Reach the Unreached With the Gospel

By partnering with the Open Initiative, you can join us in reaching seven countries in seven years.

About the Author

Ellie (name changed for security) serves as a critical care nurse at a hospital in a creative-access country.

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