1. Dunlap, Jayne Jennings

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One of my favorite aspects about new experiences in the nursing field is the closeness to God we can find if we are willing to follow where he leads. As nurses, "we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works" (Ephesians 2:10, ESV). Nursing offers versatile ways to use our knowledge and skills across countless settings.

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I recently served as a camp nurse practitioner for the first time. The camp I volunteered at targets spiritually disinterested high school students and presents the Gospel over the course of a week. The camp is situated across a breathtaking expanse, showcasing God's grandeur. I knew this unique opportunity would provide an adventure with my husband and children where we could explore camp together and I could use my nursing skills to help people. I also hoped to experience some personal moments of stillness and quiet with God. Jesus consistently sought solitude with his father, something I need continually.


The camp is remote, with limited Internet access and no cell phone service. As a professor and practicing nurse practitioner, it was refreshing to fully abandon screens for true face time. Each day I would get radio calls to assist people who were sick or hurt. And in the midst of chaos, calm was maintained. I also had moments of quiet with God each day that I had been so hopeful for. These moments came at varied times, but always when needed and I drank them in. My strength was replenished, and my purpose remained clear.


Throughout the week, I wondered why I was not anxious. The camp had fun activities with elements of danger-and high schoolers are a risk-taking population. Somehow, I was at peace. Alert, but not afraid. Being a camp nurse practitioner involves around-the-clock work. The role was meaningful because it provided opportunities to care for and comfort campers and staff when they were vulnerable-physically, emotionally, and spiritually.


One of the most physically challenging activities was a camp-wide mountain hike. My medical team was dispersed throughout the pack of campers scaling the mountain, and I followed. One camper at the very back of the group began to cry, saying she could not go on. Her leader and I encouraged her to take a few steps with us. Then a few more. Her progress was slow and hard. She continued to struggle as we came upon my daughter who was crying as well, wanting to go back down the mountain. The struggling camper reached her hand out to my daughter and said, "I feel you; let's do this together. We can help each other." "Okay," my daughter replied through tears, taking the camper's outstretched hand. I was speechless and filled with joy, watching my daughter and the camper reach the summit hand-in-hand-both beaming. Helping someone else who was struggling had provided strength and companionship at the perfect time. We walked down the mountain with our hearts high.


An emergency occurred that week, and after my medical team and I had taken care of the injured camper, he and his parents wished for him to remain at camp. My team and I were able to provide necessary monitoring, and the camper stayed until the end of the week. Before his injury, the camper had been angry after hearing about sin and our separation from God. On the last day, we watched this injured teen lead a long line of high schoolers on the walk for new believers: another beautiful sight to behold. Watching the outcome of God's work helped me forget about myself and increased my longing to be an instrument that glorifies him.


After witnessing many young lives transformed through the Gospel, my family and I drove away tired, yet filled up. We had enjoyed close-up views of a divine orchestration. God had sustained us and kept us safe. This experience reminded me that serving others, a trait demonstrating our belonging to Jesus, has incalculable benefits to the servant because it requires us to go to the Holy Spirit for help. Acts 17:27 assures us that if we seek God in hope, we will find him, because he is not far from each of us.