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Thursday, December 19, 2013

Perfect Timing

As the Christmas season approaches, I've been reminded of the amazing miracle that Jesus' birth in the little town of Bethlehem really was. The youth director that I serve under at Sharptown church was describing the scene of our Messiah's birth and all that led up to it, and every detail that had to be in place for the Old Testament prophecy to be fulfilled. He challenged the youth leaders to take a look at their own lives at times things had to fall into place at the exact right time for God's perfect plan to take action. God sure knew what he was doing with me this past year! I'm about to embark on an amazing (and hard) adventure that, to me, seems like a miracle. Like I said in my last post, I'm going to be a nurse! I didn't know at the time how I was going to become a nurse, but I knew it was going to happen. The miraculous timing of God got me to the place I am today and I'm so excited to start another adventure in just 2 short weeks.

After my graduation from Asbury University in May 2013, I was planning on taking a year to travel the world. I had committed to the World Race, an 11 month mission trip to 11 different countries all over the world through Adventures In Missions. I would be raising $15,000 to support my year abroad, and to do so I was planning on staying in Kentucky for half the summer and then coming home to New Jersey to finish up fund raising and spending time with family before I would leave. My lovely friend Laura and her wonderful parents offered me a room at their house so I could finish up the necessary classes for nursing school and work on fund raising in the area. It just so happens that Laura's dad is no ordinary dad. He is the brother of my pastor at Sharptown Church in NJ, a fellow Delanco Camp attender and alumni of Asbury University, as well as a very influential leader in the Methodist denomination. After a week of living in their home and doing some extra research, I made the decision to back out of the World Race. I was bummed to say the least, but even more than that, I was back to square one. I had no plan other than staying in Kentucky until my classes finished up and then moving back to NJ.
Now Mr. Smith and I had been playing this game he liked to call "three questions." It's quite simple; he would ask me three questions and I would ask him three questions. We learned a lot about each other and I certainly learned a lot about theology! I remember out of the blue (I don't even think it was during one of our "three questions") he asked me if I would consider applying to Duke University. I had not considered it, and for a good reason; only smart people go to schools like Duke! He told me I should apply, and he helped me along with the process. I applied for nursing school at Duke the day of the deadline.
That was the end of that for a while. I didn't have much hope, but I was happy to have tried. When it came time to move back home to NJ, I still had no idea what I would be doing. My plan was to go back to babysitting everyday for the summer, go to Delanco, and try to find a job until I could apply to more schools for the following year.
I was taken by surprise when I received the email that I had been ACCEPTED into the School of Nursing at Duke University. I seriously thought they sent me the wrong email. I waited to tell anyone for about a day because I was sure they made a mistake.
Long story short, I made the decision to go to Duke in September and I couldn't be any more excited.

When I look back at all that happened it seems to be nothing less than a miracle. I have a hard time believing I would be where I am today if I hadn't traveled to Kenya, been rejected from PT school, committed to the World Race, moved in with the Smith family, and applied to the school that only smart people go to. It doesn't always take good grades and lots of experience to get where you're going; sometimes all it really takes is surrender to the Lord Almighty and faith that He knows you better than you know yourself.

Praise God! I'm going to be a Duke nurse!

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

According to His Good Pleasure

"I've found that the rehab staff at CURE does way more than just rehab. In the states, physical therapists don't typically do castings or build wheelchairs, but Mirriam said that here in Kenya they basically just fill in the gaps. I've also found that my favorite parts about my time in the hosptial are doing castings and spending time in the operating room. PT's don't do either of these things in the U.S. I've been thinking about maybe changing directions professionally, and I found myself looking at surgical nursing."
This is word for word what I wrote in my journal on June 8, 2012, two weeks into my internship at the CURE hospital in Kenya. Today, I am excited (and somewhat surprised) to say that I'm pursuing a career in nursing! I would love to say that after my experience in Kenya and through God's leading I started pursuing nursing a little less than a year ago, but that would be far from the truth.

I came back from Kenya with a new perspective on missions and on the medical field, but this didn't change my plan of action for pursuing PT. I majored in pre-physical therapy and had already completed all of the observation hours, so logically, the next step was to apply! And that's what I did. I filled out the applications, wrote all the essays, got all the signatures and sent the transcripts. And then, I waited.

One after one I started hearing back from schools. I didn't get in. I had failed. And let me tell you, that's not an easy place to be. My friends are getting jobs, getting into grad schools, and traveling the world! But I can honestly say that I was okay with the fact that I didn't get in because I prayed everyday, "God, if this is not your plan, please don't let me get in,"... but I really wanted to get in!

So, God started the process of leading me back onto His path. I have amazing family who sees my potential and my love for the Lord, and they have been encouraging me all the way. As I look back I can see God leading me into nursing even as early as my sophomore year when I decided to take the classes I would need to go to nursing school "just in case." It was evident in Kenya when I would sneak out of rehab to watch surgery every Monday, and wake up at 5am to go on rounds with the doctors. My heart was somewhere else. I considered re-applying for PT school until I realized that my heart just wasn't in it. I love physical therapy and I've loved the experiences I've had in pursuing it, but I'm confident that God has a different plan for me. Praise God that when I'm stubborn and think I have it all figured out, He continues to bring me back. Ephesians 1:9-10 says,
"And he made known to us the mystery of his will according to his good pleasure, which he purposed in Christ, to be put into effect when the times will have reached their fulfillment."
 I've heard so many people say that they're afraid of missing God's call or never finding what God's will really is for them. We serve a God that loves us way to much to let us fall behind or leave us guessing. God is in control of my life, He goes before me, and He will never let me go. Physical therapy is not where God is calling me right now, and I'm so glad He is showing me how to trust in his greater plan. I'm going to be a nurse! (in like 2 years...hopefully...)

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Get involved... and get a free t-shirt!

If you're looking for an opportunity to serve in a similar way as I did this summer in Kenya, check this out!

This is more for those of you who are already in the medical field as opposed to those of you, who like me, are still in school. But it's still worth a look!

AND... if you share this link either on facebook, twitter, or blog, you can be entered to win a free t-shirt! So, share with your friends! The right person for the job may be in your network!

Sunday, August 19, 2012

A Continuation

It's been quit a while since I last posted, but I've been debating with myself about whether or not I should continue the blog now that my trip has come to an end. I've posted some of my stories of my adventures and the people I met; the good, the bad and the ugly. Now that I'm not only back in the States, but back at school, I tend to think that nothing could ever compare to what I saw and experienced during my time in Kenya. But that is so far from the truth!
So, I want to continue sharing stories of people I meet and experiences I have that have burden my heart.
Here are some leftover pictures from Kenya for you're enjoyment :)

Tuesday, July 10, 2012


I wanted to update you on my earlier post about James and Jeremiah. 

Unfortunately, I have some very sad news. Remember James?

James was sent to Kijabe Hospital for treatment because CURE didn't have the resources to treat his bed sores. His family was unable to afford the treatment, and last Wednesday (4th of July), James passed away due to infection. Thank you to all of you who prayed for James. I know that God is using his story to change the lives of many people. I know he has touched my heart and the hearts of those who saw him at CURE. Join me in praying for people in Kenya who can't afford medical treatment! 

Remember Jeremiah?

This is the little boy that had his wrist casted and lost circulation to his hand. His surgery went well...

... And he started physical therapy! He has good range of motion, but he has no feeling in any of his fingers. Mirriam would move his hand and fingers in every direction, and he couldn't feel any pressure on the skin that I thought looked like it should be tender. 

But praise God that he has had a good recovery so far and he is able to move his hand! Jeremiah and his dad loved playing soccer around the hospital and he is a really happy kid. 

Friday, July 6, 2012

Won't Turn Back

Since I last posted I had to say goodbye to some pretty awesome people and traveled a little less than half way around the world!

Me, Lauren, and Haley

Peter and Sam


Mirriam, David, and Elvis

I've been home for a few days now and I have to say that the past 7 weeks just feel like a big blur. I was looking through my pictures and just thinking, "Wow, I did that!" When I was there it felt normal to walk into surgery if there was nothing else to do, be sent out to see a patient needing a wheelchair if there was no one else available, and see a baboon along the way. As I'm here sitting in my house, looking out at the cornfield in my backyard, and drinking my cup of coffee it all seems like a dream.
I don't want to go back to my everyday life in America. I don't want forget what I saw and did in Kenya. I want my life to be transformed! There are still families that can't afford medical care, and the little boy James with the bed sores still hasn't been treated. I hope that all of you reading my blog have been able to see some of what I had the privilege to see and want to do something as well. There are tons of ways to support CURE and the work they're doing.

1. Support a CURE kid
2. Take the 1 Child Challenge
3. Make a donation toward a child's surgery

I named my blog "Won't Turn Back" after the song by NEEDTOBREATH. It was scary to answer my call to Kenya with no idea what was in store. It's still scary now that I'm home to take on the responsibility of sharing my experiences and telling everyone about the need I saw. But God gives me the same strength He gave Christ. So, I won't turn back.

Lonely like a sailorWho's left his girl at homeNo storm could overtake the love he knows
So tell me why I should run for coverAt the sound of the coming thunderAll I hear is the cry of my loverSo take your shotI won't turn back
I won't turn back
Faithful like a soldierWho's answered to the callEven when his back's against the wall
So tell me why I should run for coverAt the sound of the coming thunderAll I hear is the cry of my loverYeah take your shotI won't turn back
No I won't turn backNo I won't turnNo I won't turn
So tell me why I should run for coverAt the sound of the coming thunderAll I hear is the cry of my loverYeah take your shotI won't turn back
I won't turn backI won't turn backI won't turn back
No I won't turn backNo I won't turn backNo I won't turn back
Yeah, I won't turn backI won't turnI won't turn

Monday, July 2, 2012

This Is It

Where have the last 2 months gone? Tonight I leave Kenya for the long journey back home after an incredible adventure abroad. It's definitely a bitter sweet feeling and I will be so happy when the goodbyes are over and my flights arrive safe and sound. Saying goodbye to the wonderful people here is the hardest part about leaving Kenya, but I do it with the hope that God will provide a way for me to return in the future. Thinking about all the joys of summer time in Jersey and the comforts of home excite me, but the thoughts of leaving some wonderful people and a country that I love behind breaks my heart. I'm sure going to miss this place.

But what a better way to end our trip than hiking Mt. Longonot with some of the hospital staff!

The volcano, Mt. Longonot, from a distance

Climbing the rim of the hole in the volcano

First peak!

The inside of the volcano and the mountain on the rim

It took us about 4.5 hours to finish the whole thing, and afterward Haley and I taught the Kenyans how to play ninja. Lets just say they loved it! 

Then they took us for some nyoma choma (aka grilled goat). I've had grilled goat before, but this did not taste good. It was good company as always though. 

God has blessed my time here so much! It's been great, Kenya! Until next time :)