MENU

(Not) Just a Nurse

By Erin Pettengill, May 10, 2016

I tell people I’m "just a nurse” to point out my limitations. And yet being “just” a nurse means I can be so much more! Let me explain.

When my family first set foot in Honduras, I looked at the medical deficiencies around us and wondered how I could possibly make a difference. But I knew God had equipped and called me, so I took a step. I decided to hold a pregnancy clinic in a nearby village.

One of the first women who came was definitely in need. I took her vital signs and measured her belly, and then asked the question that needed asking. “Are you sure you don't have twins?”

She looked at me like I was stupid. "Of course not! This is my 12th child--I would know if I was having twins."

“Well,” I told her, “you need to go have your baby now!” She said she was going to have her baby at home just like she had her other 11 children. I implored her to please go to the hospital. “You might not survive this delivery and be able to even care for your other children!”  She left completely disgusted.

I was so discouraged! What was I thinking? How could "just a nurse” make a difference here? I couldn't even convince a pre-eclamptic, gestational diabetic mom to go to the hospital. My heart sank. I don't belong here! I can't make a difference. What do I know?

Two days later I was making house calls when a young girl came running. "Just come!" she said. I followed her to a wooden lean-to house with a dirt covered floor, and there was the mom who’d been at my clinic, with a grin from ear to ear—holding a baby in her arms.

A 14-pound baby
“I went home mad,” the woman told me. “But then I thought about what you said. I need to be here for my other children. So I went to the hospital. They checked my vital signs and scheduled an immediate C-section. Thirty minutes later they placed a 14-pound baby upon my chest! You saved me and my baby."

Tears came to my eyes. Tears came to her eyes. And she placed this precious child in my arms. Wow, so I had made a difference. I’m not “just a nurse” after all.


Are you “just an accountant,” or “just a teacher”? There are so many ways to serve Him in missions! “He who calls you is faithful; He will surely do it” (1 Thess. 5:24) ESV. Check out our opportunities at mtw.org/serve.

Erin Pettengill served as a missionary in Honduras for eight years. She now serves in Equatorial Guinea. 

Please login to continue
Having Trouble Logging In?
Reset your password
Don't have an account?
Create an Account
Sign Up for Free
Name
Email
Choose Password
Confirm Password

GET INVOLVED

Career + Missions Internship in the Middle East
Year-round Internships
International Church Plant: Launch Pastor
Theological Education Developer
Longer

9 Ways to Raise Money for Short-Term Mission Trips

The fear of raising finances is a major reason why many Christians do not participate in missions. But we are called to reject fear.

SEE MORE

Changing the Atmosphere in Honduras: A Video

Missionaries to Honduras are changing the atmosphere and doing God's work to bring the dark country back into the light.

SEE MORE

One Day on a Mission Trip to Honduras: A Video

Follow Janelle Honeycutt during one day of her mission trip to Honduras.

SEE MORE

Pray for first-year missionaries who can feel incompetent and overwhelmed as they begin ministry on the field.

Pray that God would call pastors to serve at a Bible institute in Honduras, and elsewhere around the world. 

Pray for our ministries in Honduras, impacted by severe lockdowns followed by two hurricanes.

Pray for HIV/AIDS education in the Church throughout Africa, particularly in regions where there is still so much mis-information. Pray that the Church will become educated and lead a culture change!

Pray for MTW medical missionaries who serve longer-term in one location. Pray for those they serve and for a strong partnership with the local church.

Pray for our ministries in Africa, where many have come to expect broken systems and corruption. Pray that God would intervene and change hearts that would change communities.

Please pray for those in Honduras whose livelihoods have been devastated by the COVID-19 lockdown and for missionaries stepping up to meet their community's needs.

Pray for the team in Tegucigalpa, Honduras as they seek to plant gospel-driven, Reformed, self-sustainable churches that will multiply. 

Pray today for Puerta de Esperanza (Door of Hope), which ministers to the needs of impoverished and vulnerable single mothers in La Ceiba, Honduras.

Pray for missionaries who feel insufficient to the task, that they would rest in the truth that God will do the work in the midst of their sins and insufficiency. 

SUBSCRIBE TO MTW ONLINE

Stories from the field straight to your inbox.