Before COVID-19, I was chosen to spend the summer of 2019 as an intern in the north-central part of the Dominican Republic with Mission of Hope. Mission of Hope works in Haiti, the Dominican Republic, and Key West, Florida, and focuses on nutrition, education, medical care, and church advancement. I would be working in remote villages to facilitate mobile clinics for those without healthcare access. Although excited about this first time outside the United States by myself, I was terrified to have committed to spend an entire summer in a place where I had never been. I felt nervous about leaving friends and family. Financial stress loomed large. How would I pay for next fall's tuition because the intern position was unpaid?
This internship required me to raise funds to cover living expenses while in the Dominican Republic. Asking family members and friends for money was most uncomfortable. I thought of it rather like having an unmedicated knee replacement. However, it was clear—God put me in a position where I had to ask and trust that what was needed would be provided.
As the date to leave for the Dominican Republic came closer, I was short $225. I felt that I had exhausted my list of contacts and was ready to cut my losses and pay it out of pocket. Two weeks before leaving, a classmate who had recently returned from a mission trip to Belize saw my donation letter. She said she had funds left from her fund raising and that she felt called by the Holy Spirit to give me the remaining amount for my mission trip. The amount she donated? Exactly $225. God's provision and timing felt overwhelming. I was flooded with chills, knowing this could only be God at work on my behalf. When I told her this, she began to tear up. How could I not trust God when these signs of his plan and provision were evident? Throughout the remaining pretrip preparation, I continued trusting God and his plan. I recognized God's faithfulness and direction were meant to develop my trust and that this experience was all part of his plan.
GROWTH IN THE DOMINICAN REPUBLIC
Being in the Dominican Republic was both wonderful and difficult. As the summer advanced, the days got long and challenging. Some days I was tired, lazy, unfaithful, and not in tune with what God had in store for me. My trust wavered. One hot July day in a remote village, a Dominican pastor stated, “Following Jesus is not over during baptism or a public cry of following. It is waking up and committing to the plans that he has for you today.”
This statement checked my spirit. I needed to be reminded of God's greater work in my life. God was asking me to realign my path with his. Throughout Scripture, God affirms that trusting in him will make our paths straight (Proverbs 3:6). Isaiah 26:3 explains, “You will keep in perfect peace those whose minds are steadfast, because they trust in you” (NIV). Although my time in the Dominican Republic is only part of my story, the lessons on trusting in God's plans are etched deep within my spirit and soul.
Are you currently in nursing school or considering unpaid ministry? Ready to move into your first nursing job? May I challenge you to trust God in whatever place he's leading? Nowhere does the Bible state that placing our trust in God will shield us from lives without hurt or conflict. Instead, we can experience God as our guide who navigates us through rocky times. “I will go before you and level the exalted places, I will break in pieces the doors of bronze and cut through the bars of iron” (Isaiah 45:2, ESV).
Whatever the nursing task set before you today, believe and live with the truth that God is with you, providing, challenging, and making a way before you. He calls us to pick up our crosses daily and follow him (Luke 9:23). He knows our hearts and asks us to trust him so that we can be the hands and feet of Christ.
Mission of Hope. https://missionofhope.com/