A student reflects on his Zambian experiences

On Tuesday evening, as we wrapped up our clinical experience in Zambia, we were reminded of God’s purpose for us nurses through a devotion by WLC student Ryan Schroeder, based on Scripture from 1 Corinthians 13:

“If I speak in tongues of men and angels, but have not love, I am only a resounding gong…I am nothing…Love is patient, love is kind… When I was a child, I talked like a child…. When I became a man I put childish ways behind me…”

One thing I noticed while reading this was that if I were to substitute “my name” for the word “love” in this passage, the whole thing would read a lie. “Ryan is patient. He does not boast…” If I were to continue, the passage would be a list of falsehoods. While I don’t intend to be presumptuous, I think it is safe to say that this is true of all of us.

Despite our best intentions to provide care out here, we ourselves have formed the greatest barrier. Poverty is terrible. Language barriers are hard to overcome. But the personal struggle to truly love might be the most insurmountable goal of all.

We came to Zambia full of excitement and the will to serve, but often we have taken more than we could ever hope to repay. Each of us had personal moments that have left us awestruck by how much Zambians can give (and how rich they truly are). Dan with Abel. John with KK. And all of us with Mrs. Nyrenda.

But for all our ineptitude to repay the love we’ve been shown, Christ is able. If we go back to the text and insert the name “Jesus” for “love,” nothing could read truer.

“If I have faith that can move mountains, but have not Jesus, I am nothing… Jesus always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Jesus never fails.”

If we nurse through our own nature, we can never give love. But if we deny ourselves for Christ, our ineptitude makes way for his glory. Through baptism Christ has changed the very nature off humanity, giving us the means to love.

“If my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wickedness, then I will forgive their sins and heal their land.” 2 Chronicles 7:14.

The Zambians realize this and know that healing is only through Christ. We, too, can be that loving, but only through Christ.

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About Rebekah Carey

I came to WLC in July 2007 to develop the new BSN program. My years of nursing have been filled with great experiences in labor and delivery, women's health, and serving at the Lutheran medical mission in Zambia. I have taught at Viterbo University and Trinity Christian College. Education: BSN from UW-Oshkosh, MSN from University of San Diego, Nurse Practitioner certificate from University of Illinois-Chicago. A PhD from Marquette University should be completed by 2011. My son Jess is a mechanical engineer for a racing team in Indianpolis, soon to marry Colleen in October 2008. My daughter Rachel is an exercise specialist, married to Jason, expecting her first child in October 2008. I have a delightful, energetic border collie, Chuka (which means "sugar" in Tonga.) Gardening keeps me well-grounded during the summer. Knitting keeps me cozy all winter!

2 thoughts on “A student reflects on his Zambian experiences

  1. God’s Blessings on your work and assistance in Zambia. Judy and I pray for your safe return and time to reflect on your healing ministry as nurses and children of a gracious God as your light shines brightly to the far ends of the earth. There is no greAZter love than Jesus!

  2. We look forward to hearing first-hand of your experiences in Zambia face-to-face later on today, God willing. Safe travels!

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