An Unexpected Mission Field
by Patti Ellison, BSN, RN, graduated from California State University, Bakersfield, in December 2011.
When I began my nursing program I thought I was there to earn my BSN. It turned out the degree was secondary to another opportunity.
Beginning my third career at age 40, I felt physically ill on orientation day. I was 20 years older than most of the other students and felt completely inadequate. After the second quarter, I realized we were all overwhelmed and struggling with the same issues. I found a small circle of Christians with whom I mutually encouraged and prayed.
During my psychiatric rotation, our instructor gave us the assignment of sharing something of personal value that reflected who we are. Some shared pictures of family, personal stories, and cultural foods. A few shared their Bibles or journals. I'd had a strong connection with a song I'd heard earlier in the week by Sanctus Real called Forgiven, so I shared the video with the class. I explained that thoughts of indiscretions earlier in life creep up when I least expect it and weigh heavily upon me. But I've learned to choose to remember that Jesus Christ is the Forgiver of my sins and failings. Though it left me vulnerable to share so openly with the class, I felt compelled to share what God had placed on my heart.
Since then, I've been amazed how God has provided opportunities for my classmates to speak to me about Christ and ask for prayer. One young woman, who was caring for her disabled mother, expressed overwhelming anxiety over managing her responsibilities at home while trying to keep up with school. We prayed throughout the program as she successfully made up missed hours due to her mom's health issues. Three others told me they started attending church, and asked me questions about God's will for their lives. As we searched for answers, I prayed they would be drawn to seek God's forgiveness. Others were less interested, but I know God planted seeds. To think that God would use my youthful disobedience to speak Christ's love to others amazes me!
A core group of students along with two faculty members revived Nurses Christian Fellowship (NCF) at our campus. I was elated when we welcomed eight new students to carry on after we graduated. These students joined us in welcoming new nursing students at orientation, in worship and prayer at regular meetings, and in sharing God's love with our classmates. We were excited to promote NCF by sharing about how to start a Bible study/prayer group at a seminar on spirituality in healthcare that included healthcare professionals from all over the state.
God taught me that my mission field is wherever I am, whether across the ocean or across the street. I look forward to whatever mission he has in store for me in my future nursing career.
I tell you, open your eyes and look at the fields! They are ripe for harvest. John 4:35
A consistent theme of Scripture is forgiveness for those who turn to God (for example, Exodus 34:6–7; Psalm 130; Isaiah 43:25; Micah 7:18–19; John 3:16–17; Revelation 1:5–6).
Jesus came to forgive sins (Matthew 1:21, 26:28; Ephesians 1:7, NIV).
The song Forgiven (Rohman, Hammit, Graalman, Gartley, & Provost, 2009) that Patti Ellison shared with her classmates refers to not having to carry the weight of things we've done wrong, being made new in Christ:
If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us... 1 John 1:9
If anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come! 2 Corinthians 5:17
View a video of the song Forgiven at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3F9z54g30Eo
Are You Organized?
Are you part of a Nurses Christian Fellowship Student Organization?
If your campus does not have an NCF Student Chapter, suggestions and resources for starting and developing a chapter can be found at http://ncf-jcn.org/student/main.php. If you have an NCF Student Chapter on your campus, join with others to pray for your campus and seek God's vision for your school.
Renee Lick, Student Ministries Director for NCF, has an encouraging message for you at:
Nursing Students: Called for a Purpose at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=b-gLnTp-Tuc
Rohman, C., Hammitt, M., Graalman, M., Gartley, D., & Provost, P. (2009). Forgiven [Recorded by Sanctus Real]. On Pieces of a real heart
[CD]. Brentwood, TN: Sparrow.