The profession of nursing reaches across the globe to provide nursing care, educate students, and collaborate with professionals. Christians can convey God's heart and grace to our global neighbors (Matthew 28:19). Even though many nurses cannot go on a short-term mission, participate in service learning projects, nor collaborate with global colleagues, there are creative opportunities for nurses to express their international hearts and spirits, without leaving their neighborhoods.
Through social media apps, we have become global citizens. These simple, immediate notifications provide a great opportunity to extend our international heart. When we receive pop-ups and updates about devastating typhoons, crippling tragedies, and outbreaks of violence, we can pray for our international colleagues. On the frontlines of every tragedy, national disaster, and horrific violence are nurses, first responders, and healthcare providers. Take a moment to pray for our colleagues who readily care for God's children during various catastrophes. Our global colleagues need our prayer support as they offer Christ-centered nursing care to patients and families.
We can also connect with organizations like Operation World (see Additional Resources). They provide a prayer schedule with daily emails highlighting different countries. In addition to praying for the influence of the gospel, we can pray for our Christian colleagues who care for the sick, dying, or disenfranchised. Many face persecutions as they live out their faith in Christ (Ephesians 6:18).
Other avenues where we can express our international hearts through prayer are via websites. A click on the websites of the International Council of Nurses, the World Health Organization, and the United Nations International Children's Emergency Fund (UNICEF) conveys the needs of global colleagues. Human rights, clean water, and safe homes are a few of the issues facing the world and prioritized by our profession. These prayer lists also can be implemented with student fellowship groups and nurse Bible study groups. Whether student nurses, practicing nurses, or retired, all can join with colleagues in bringing the needs of humanity to God.
As the chair of the Prayer and Care Committee for Nurses Christian Fellowship International (NCFI), I would be remiss if I didn't mention our international Christian nursing organization. Nurses Christian Fellowship (NCF) USA is a part of NCFI, along with other national fellowships. NCFI offers a quarterly prayer guide (http://ncfi.org/resources/prayer-guides/). The guide includes the prayer needs of the NCFI organization and the national fellowships, as well as growing fellowships worldwide. Additional organizations who advance global health also need the prayers and presence of Christian nurses. We can represent Christ to our colleagues (John 17:23).
In addition to praying, nurses can serve within our cities, reaching our global neighbors. Local communities are extensions of the world, with refugees, immigrants, and other people groups. Isolated older adults, non-English-speaking children, and frightened and abused women go to school, shop for groceries, and attend local churches. Our global neighbors need the love of God, as shown through excellent nursing care. Whether as a volunteer or employee, numerous agencies need compassionate nursing services. I encourage you to step outside Christian organizations and share your international heart with those who do not know the light of Jesus. Through our excellent nursing skills and the grace of God, we are the hearts and hands of a loving God to our neighbors (Acts 13:47).
We also can encourage our international colleagues through a mentor/disciple relationship. Whether it is an international nurse who has come to the U.S. or an international student attending nursing school, we can share our experience and Christian guidance to these emerging professionals (2 Timothy 2:2). As an alumnus, you can connect with your college or university and share your wealth of nursing knowledge with a future professional.
The world needs Christ-centered nursing. Although many nurses cannot travel the globe and encourage colleagues in person, through simple, powerful prayer we can ask the Holy Spirit to encourage, guide, and advocate for nursing around the world.
- Operation World—http://www.operationworld.org/
- International Council of Nurses—http://www.icn.ch/
- World Health Organization—http://www.who.int/en/
- Nurses Christian Fellowship International—http://ncfi.org