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Peru: The Back Story

It all started with THIS.
This is my list of things that I wanted in a job. I wrote them down when I was in my last semester of nursing school (a year ago) and have been praying for a job that looked like this ever since. The picture is a little blurry but the list says, “I want a job where I can: do something meaningful, work with children/families, speak Spanish.” Whenever I had a job possibility I would always look at this list and wonder “Is this the job that has all of these three things?”

The months that followed graduation were a bit difficult for me; I struggled with feeling purposeless. I realized that so much of my focus for SO long had been fixed on becoming a nurse, and now that I actually was a nurse I wasn’t sure what to do next. So, I applied for jobs. Lots and lots of jobs.

When I first didn't get a nursing job my response was something like, “What! Really?” (directed simultaneously at God and all prospective employers, but mostly at God). I wanted to shout out things like, "I had a 3.8 grade point average in NURSING school!!!" "I was a really good student/nurse!" "I want this more than them!" I felt defensive, scared, and uncertain about the future. Whenever I came before God with these feelings, I just felt like I heard one thing, "Be still and know that I am God, I will be exalted over the nations, I will be exalted in all the earth." (Ps 46). I felt a bit resentful of this at first. I mean, it's all very well for God to tell me to be still, but I’m the one juggling societal expectations here.
Then in September, a friend of mine from nursing school called me and asked me if I would fly down to Lima, Peru and fly back with her god-father and give him nursing care during the trip. It was a paid traveling/nursing/Spanish speaking gig. Of course, I said yes.

Flying alone, so glamorous!

Then, my parents invited me to come with them to Cuzco, Peru for a medical missions trip in November. They paid, and I would go along as a nurse/translator. Of course I said yes.
Working with MMI in Cuzco, Peru.

I ended up working as the nurse/translator for the team's pediatrician. Which, you know, felt like a perfect fit for me. On the first day in our clinic, I looked in the mirror and thought "I am living my dream," which is just a really cool thought to have.

Around this time, I realized something. I realized that whatever God had for me He could open easily, just as He had with the two trips to Peru. I started job hunting with renewed purpose, even more determined to work as a nurse because I had seen how it could be used to make a huge impact in people's lives. I looked for jobs as a new graduate nurse, medical assistant, LVN, CNA, etc. I looked in places where I knew people who were high up in the organization. I wrote tons of cover letters. People that knew me tried to help by helping me make connections. I either heard nothing back from the places where I had applied, or heard that I didn't get the job.

New Years 2012 came around. Suddenly I felt the inner need to get out and DO something. I didn’t feel like I needed to “Be still” anymore. I had a random conversation with a friend’s grandmother, when she commented that maybe God wanted me to go somewhere else. Maybe the jobs here in CA were not opening up for a reason.

That week, it all clicked. I felt something rise up inside of me. It felt like a burden of joy, excitement and craziness all in one. I had two important conversations with my best friends. I said something like, "I feel like this might be God closing doors here and that maybe I am supposed to go somewhere else." They said something like, "I don't want to tell you what to do, but I think you might be supposed to go somewhere." The next day, after crying a bit, I sent out a bunch of e-mails to organizations that do medical missions all over the world. I sent e-mails to hospital ships in Africa and the south pacific, clinics and field hospitals in Haiti, and to MMI in Peru. At the same time I prayed. I asked God that if this was what He had for me for Him to open ONE door. I told Him that if He opened ONE door, I would pursue it with everything that I had. I asked Him for a place where I could 1) work as a nurse 2) stay for 3-6 months 3) live inexpensively. Then, I waited for responses.

Some places got back to me and said, "Yes we would love to have you. We do trips that are 2 weeks long." Other places got back to me and said, "We only take nurses with 1-2 years of experience." Those responses, I felt, were closed doors.

Then I heard back from MMI in Peru. They said, "Yes, we would love to have you. You could live here, work in a clinic in Arequipa and travel around with us when we go and do the 1-2 week clinics in other parts of Peru." Then, they got back to me saying, “We found some places for you to work in Arequipa. You could either work at the local hospital or work at an NGO in the city. It would be great to have you in June-November because we are really busy at that time.” This response I feel is a wide open door. So, I’m ready to pursue it with everything that I have. In Peru, I will be working with a lot of people who can’t afford proper healthcare. MMI does a lot of education (whoooo! Teaching!), and they do a lot of work with women and families (sound familiar?). I am so excited to be a part of the things that this organization makes a priority.
Arequipa, the city in Peru where I will be living. Beautiful, no?

So, now I’m back to this:
And I am wondering if this trip to Peru is what God had for me all along. It’s pretty sweet that the three things that I started praying for about a year ago are now what I will get to do in Peru. God does cool things.

For more information on how to get involved with my journey or just to read about it, you can follow along with me here on my blog. (I hate asking people to follow my blog. It makes me feel like such a poser. But, this is really the easiest way to communicate with a ton of people at once.) Also, if everything goes according to plan, I will be leaving in four months. That means if you want to hang out, we should jump on that now. Call me. ;)


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