A Flotation Device

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I was born in New York. I’m the oldest of four children.

My parents are really cool in that they love children and the Lord.

From an early age I remember the church being my home away from home.

My mother said, “A little body doesn’t mean a little holy spirit.”

There was this sense that we were all full believers and members of the body at an early age.

We did a family visit to Uganda (instead of Disney) to visit my missionary grandparents when I was a kid. We got to tour a few different countries. In one place, we met my father’s college RA. We visited with him for 24 hours, and in that short window of time God started the process to get us overseas.

We went home and started the training process with YWAM.

At the age of 13 we moved over to Tanzania. We were direct sends.

I was a little more introverted than my siblings so it took me time to figure out language and how to fit in with all the missionaries over there—and the national culture.

I did fall in love with Tanzania, and have real family over there now.

My dad ran a medical clinic so I learned to give shots and do other medical assistance.

I realized I didn’t have to know a new language to hold people’s hands.

I started looking into nursing training but a family friend asked if I’d be interested in doing a gap year missions trip with my brother. My brother and I headed to the bush.

And I was so glad that my brother wanted to be a missionary.

As for me, I was… ready to get back to nursing training.

Toward the end of this trip I started feeling sick. I wound up passing out on the kitchen floor when I got home from the trip. I was unconscious for a week.

My family was preparing to bury me, or take me on an emergency flight home.

I had a strange experience then. I was lying in bed but suddenly I was floating above me looking down on myself. I was about 18 then. I felt a big fuzzy hug, and thought: this is it, I’m dying.

That’s when God said, “What do you think?” And I said, “I think I’m ready.”

And He said, “I sense some hesitation.” I replied, “What would my family do if I died?”

He told me, and showed me, that if I died my family would be fine. It was like a movie trailer.

He said, “You want to be a nurse, right?”

I said, “Yes.”

He said, “That’s great, but that’s not what I want. I want you to be a Physician’s helper. A soul nurse. It’s going to be a fight, so get ready.”

I turned over and saw my father in the room and told him, “I just had a crazy experience but I am going to sleep now.” Then I rolled over and slept.

And I started to recover and heal.

There’s a long story after that of witch doctors and crazy stuff, but in the end I got back to the United States, got a college degree, and here I am.

I’ve been interning at a Christian counseling center/missionary training place since June.

I’m walking with God and figuring out what it means to be a lifelong learner and a soul nurse.

About a year ago now my family relocated from Tanzania. Some missionaries’ paperwork had gone askew many, many years ago and they were part of the mission with which my parents were partnering… It’s a long story, but because the paperwork was wrong, the government told the local church these missionaries needed to leave. They had two weeks to get out… Merry Christmas! (It was December 27.)

Half the missions team had proper paperwork and could stay. The other half could not. The agency didn’t want half to stay, so they decided to pull everyone. Since my parents had the right paperwork and were direct sends, they could stay, but didn’t want to be all alone. They decided to leave with the others.

The medical clinic at that point was self-sustaining. We didn’t feel the need to keep going. My grandparents on both sides needed help in America; all of us kids were in college.

So over the two weeks we worked with the church, the government, and the village to come to an agreement. We packed up our house into 18 suitcases within a week.

We had to say goodbye to the local church and do visits without the local village getting so angry they would burn down the pastor’s house. Local politics are complicated.

We know God has called us here but it is a big transition. All of us kids are half-independent, boomeranging, and my dad is starting to work again in the American medical system. We’ve never lived here so we’re adjusting to a new State, new culture, etc.

My brother is here, got here yesterday, to raise support in order to go back to Tanzania as a missionary. It’s all new and different.

– Sister Goldendoodle

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