Rachel Van Oostveen is going to Jos, Nigeria!
I have always had a place in my heart for Africa, for inexpressible reasons. It may be because the need is so great there, but I feel that doesn’t sufficiently sum up my longing to go there and serve. I began searching out opportunities in April and came across a volunteer position in a local hospital in Jos, Nigeria through Christian Reformed World Missions. I completed the application process and everything seemed quite hopeful that the plan would work out. However, I was informed in July that this opportunity was no longer an option and that another one had come about in South America. So with mixed feelings, I decided to trust that God would figure out the details and really, serving is serving no matter where you are. We started to make plans for this other opportunity and I was getting quite excited about it when I received an e-mail letting me know that the Nigeria opportunity was still possible! The team over in Nigeria had already begun to make plans for when I would arrive and what my role would be in the hospital ministry. Needless to say, I have completely given the control over to God as I have recognized His will in this. This has been a somewhat difficult (yet exhilarating!) task for me as I am someone who has had their life quite planned out up until this year.
So, I am going to Nigeria! Although most of the details are still being figured out, I will be working in Evangel Hospital and the Open Doors school in Jos, Nigeria. The hospital was founded by the Sudan Interior Mission and is affiliated with the Evangelical Churches of West Africa. They have 150 beds available and provide medical care in many areas including surgery, obstetrics, opthamology, HIV/AIDS clinic and physiotherapy. Officially I will be volunteering in the physiotherapy department however this is quite a broad role as the departments are quite interchangeable depending on the availability of staff and the medical attention required. The physiotherapy department is also quite connected to school called Open Doors. This school provides education for children with special needs, including physical disabilities. The physiotherapist treats a number of the children at the school and I will be working with them to provide this care. I am quite excited for this opportunity as it is a hands-on (literally) way of serving the people of Jos and in a field that I am very passionate about. I am also excited that the hospital is a Christian hospital at its roots and it is quite commonplace to see doctors and staff praying over their patients. This gives me an opportunity to interact with the people I come in contact with, not only physically but spiritually.
I hope to be leaving on this journey at the beginning of November and I will be gone for at little under six months. But of course, when taking on this type of challenge, there is always a monetary cost involved. The estimated cost for travelling to and living in Nigeria (including medical vaccinations, insurance, food, and board) for six months is approximately $8500. I realize this is a large sum of money so I am completely trusting in God’s faithfulness to provide the means. I also hope to make a connection between our church community and the community in Jos. I know that we already have a couple associations with this city already as various individuals from Hope Fellowship have served in the past or are serving there right now. Wouldn’t it be amazing to connect our church to the hospital and a church in Jos? And make it a long-term partnership that continues even after I am gone! I believe that we can learn from the people of Africa as much as they can learn from us, so this is a great place to start in building up the worldwide church.
Thank you very much for taking the time to listen to my hopes for the next phase of my life. I greatly appreciate your willingness to help!
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