The COVID-19 pandemic has certainly taken over 2020 and will be a focus at this year’s Global Mission Health Conference (GMHC). Nurses Christian Fellowship has partnered with the conference for 20 of its 25 years. This year is a new experience—a virtual conference with the chance for many more nurses and other healthcare professionals to participate.
COVID-19 will be part of this year’s agenda, but emerging diseases are not new to healthcare missions. My spiritual mentor, Louise Troup, was a missionary nurse who founded both Pioneer Girls and a nursing school in South Africa. Her sister, Jeanette, was a physician in Nigeria who died of lassa fever before that disease was understood. In 2014, GMHC featured the Ebola epidemic and Dr. Kent Brently, the missionary physician who contracted Ebola in Liberia. I just listened again to his talk in 2014 with his nurse wife, Amber. It reminded me that healthcare missionaries are just ordinary people doing what God has given them to do. That rang true for me: I was involved in the early days of the HIV/AIDS pandemic in Uganda. At this year’s conference, I’ll be presenting a workshop comparing HIV/AIDS with COVID-19 and the lessons God has taught me as a missionary nurse.
Whereas previously the Internet was a tool for information gathering, online shopping, and social media, our lives are now intimately connected to the Internet. I believe God has given us the Internet to advance the gospel as the new “Romans Road.” Just as the Romans built roads that enabled the early Church to expand and carry the Good News of Jesus, I’ve believed that God can use the Internet for his kingdom purposes.
This year’s virtual conference is one way that’s coming true. This year, you can experience speakers, workshops, and worship from your home! You’ll be able to access all the workshops online, visit with exhibitors and explore mission agencies, be strengthened in your spiritual journey, and get the latest information about opportunities in healthcare missions.
If you’re a student and interested in healthcare missions or a nurse or faculty member wanting to expand your vision of and place in healthcare missions, register now and join us November 13 and 14 online. The NCF team will be there to greet you and meet with you. For more information, go to the GMHC home page.
Grace Tazelaar, MSN, RN, is a former missionary nurse who now volunteers with NCF as Missions Director. Her delight is encouraging nurses and students to demonstrate God's love for the poor and underserved through nursing in the United States and abroad.
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