Time in Ghana brings growth

August 13, 2018 at 6:00 AM

interns-recap.jpgThree students from Northwestern College in Orange City, Iowa, interned at the St. Luke Hospital in Kasei, Ghana.    (Photo submitted)

Time in Ghana brings growth

(Editor's note: Three students from Northwestern College are spending the summer interning at the St. Luke Hospital in Kasei, Ghana, and blogging about their experience. The interns include: Kate Staab, a sophomore nursing major from Lincoln, NE; Maddie Godfredson, a junior nursing major, from Rock Valley, Iowa; and Rachel Mercer, a sophomore biology-health professions major, from Kingsley, Iowa.) 

By Kate Staab

Ghana was a life-changing experience for me, and I say that with all of my heart.

I had immense growth in about every facet of life. I loved my time there, and although there were many challenges, I am praising God for his constant goodness and all he taught me during my time there.

Ghana was no doubt very, very different than I expected. I was extremely bored (honestly a little stir-crazy at first) and full of uncertainties. Yet, although this was not what I wanted or expected, it was exactly what I needed. A dear friend reminded me that although I was not doing what I anticipated, God was giving me exactly what he knew was best for me. That concept alone is mind boggling. I have never had so much time to read, think, nap, journal, and talk to God (or perhaps I have just never made time for all these things).

I could go on and on about what he has taught me, and would love to. If you’re curious, just ask me sometime. However, I will limit myself to two of my big takeaways that I am stoked to work on carrying into my life.

The first is the beauty and discipline of a personal relationship with our amazing Heavenly Father. I had lots of spurts of downtime during my trip and early on decided to use those moments to talk to God. I would lift up prayers, process things I was already thinking about, or vent. It is so freeing to talk to him periodically and brings a surreal peace and awe to each moment. It helped me find him in the seemingly mundane moments, because there is indescribable power and grace by finding him in those moments.

Also, being uncomfortable is so good. We choose comfort and do so many things to make our lives have the maximum amount of comfort. In Ghana, I had a lot of uncomfortable moments: dripping sweat and really needing to go to the bathroom, but having no idea when we would have access one; lots of bumpy, hot and car-sick car rides; spiders, geckos and ants joining my shower; no toilet seat; being asked to lead a song for a church congregation in the middle of the service; and many, many more.

As much as I would likely not choose these moments if given the option, I give thanks for them. I give thanks for the perspective they granted me and the reminder that this home is temporary. I give thanks for the positivity they brought forth in my mindset. I give thanks for the trust they have founded that he will provide, bountifully and beautifully, and I am not in control. I give thanks for how being uncomfortable has worked to chisel away some of my greatest life fears and replace them with a peace that can only be attributed to the Holy Spirit.

I am amazed by the transcendent beauty of the human smile and its power to defy all cultural barriers. I am forever thankful for Ghana, the hearts of the people there and the growth I experienced while in their presence. I am continually amazed by the goodness of our Father.

Thank you for all of the prayers, messages, support and love that you poured out. I was blessed with two beautiful cohorts who loved and supported me well and have been overwhelmed by the welcome I have experienced in my first two weeks home. Prayers for continued adjustment and application of what God has shown me would be oh so appreciated.  God’s grace and love to you all, and I send mine as well.

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August GAP newsletter