For someone who’s already in the medical field back at home and who’s been on several medical missions before, one wouldn’t expect me to be very emotional, or showcase a different level of excitement about embarking on a missions outreach to Africa. I’m no rookie, yet this turned out to be the best experience I’ve had so far.
With every opportunity, comes a different expectation, because no experience is the same, even if you’ve visit a place over and over again. And since my husband had visited, I kind of knew what to expect, and it was safe to say I was familiar with the dos and don’ts. Still, my IMO trip to Nigeria surpassed every expectation. Even the food was great.
As a pain medication nurse back in the US, with a medical background, finding where to fit in wasn’t much of an issue on the first day of our assignment in the beautiful city of Jos. I worked in the recovery unit, attending to patients before and after surgery. Every morning when we walked through those doors, God’s grace came upon us in diverse ways we never would have imagined.
As a non-medical volunteer with IMO, I was not sure what to expect while on a medical mission trip. I knew that the need for medical care was going to be immense, but it wasn’t until I saw the hundreds of faces, young and old, lined up outside the gates of the clinic every morning that I realized the extent of the need. Very quickly, I found ways to help both the Nigerian people and the medical team in triage, pharmacy, and post op. I loved every second of this mission. It was absolutely amazing to see how God moved through the IMO team, every day, to meet the physical and spiritual needs of over 1,600 people. Now that I’ve seen the need, and the mission, I would get on a plane tomorrow to go back. This is a movement I have to be a part of.
Augsburg Habila is a 6th year medical student who has a strong passion for helping others. Regardless of the demanding schedule of a med student, he has joined us on our medical missions trips and has sacrificed his time and resources to volunteer.
“Overall, I had a great experience. Initially, I imagined how tasking it would be to attend to patients from morning to evening, but as the mission went on I saw the smiles we put on people's faces and it melted my heart. It was something I was kept looking forward to. Seeing how a lot of people are in desperate need for things we take for granted changed me and made me grateful. Also the morning fellowship gave me strength for the day's tasks! I really hope to volunteer every year and help in any possible way that I can.”
Coming to Africa for the second time excited me. I could barely contain it. Just hopping on a plane with people you barely knew was thrilling. I knew I had to be a part of this team, considering the fact that I have quite a sizable number of Nigerian friends in school. It was time to explore and experience all they’d told me about their home country. So there I was, about to visit Nigeria for the first time.
Volunteering for this mission trip wasn’t about ticking off the name of another country off my checklist since I’ve been to quite a number of countries. Rather, it was an opportunity for me to pour out all I’d gathered over the last 19 years into the lives of people who needed me.
Working with a team of people who had vision and focus really challenged me to finish school as soon as possible and throw my hands on the plough.
After all, everything about service entails a willing and yielding heart to serve.
During my 14 day stay in Nigeria, I met people who love you regardless of your skin color, orientation or background. All they wanted was an extension of a relationship; asking every morning how your night fared, if you’re okay, or if you need anything. This kindness I'll carry with me everywhere I go from now on.
Before volunteering with IMO, I’d struggled with making decisions on what career path to take; whether I wanted to become a Doctor or not, I ended up enrolling at nursing school, even though thoughts about being a medical doctor constantly plagued me. This state of indecision made me restless. All the same, I still worked hard and stayed in school while working at a pediatrician's office.
On the 9th of October, 2017, our medical outreach to the city of Jos held at the free surgical center for International Mission Opportunities took off and I was assigned to the Operating Room, considering my medical background. My designation entailed assisting my team members with surgeries alongside the Nigerian team. Watching firsthand how the human body functions, intrigued me, so there and then, I thought it would be an awesome idea if I focused my efforts towards being a surgeon. Then, one day, while prepping for a surgery, I met a young lady in her mid-twenties about to undergo a surgical procedure. One could visibly tell how tense and scared she was. An orphan with two siblings to cater for, the signs of responsibility showed through her eyes.
Immediately my body moved into action, so I inched closer, extending my hands towards hers. Cupping them, I initiated a conversation to take her mind off the surgery. Shortly after the procedure begun, the local anaesthesia administered began to wear off and I could tell she was in pain, so the best I could do was offer comforting and reassuring words and in the midst of this experience, I got my conviction;
“This is where I want to be for the rest of my life, to be a nurse, comforting people in their moments of hurt! It was something I didn’t have to question, it came naturally to me.”
Last year was Andrew Strayer's first trip with IMO to Jos, Nigeria.
“Going to Nigeria was definitely a life changing experience. For my first time out of the U.S. it sure was exciting! Being able to see a different part of the world, how different and awesome other cultures are was really moving. The biggest part of the trip that was the most fun was just being able to help those In need of medical attention. Being able to treat people for things we take for granted really put a different view on the way I used to see things.”
Andrew plans on continuing joining us on our missions trips to areas where healthcare is in great need!