The five-month stint worked. Nate recalls his service with Mercy Ships in Sierra Leone: “I was exposed to poverty and the way other people in the world live. It gave me career direction – a programmatic way to help people.” Armed with this newfound vision, Nate entered nursing school back home.
It wasn’t long before he re- joined Mercy Ships: Nate spent the summer of 2007 working as an instrument sterilizer in the ship’s hospital. Those months in Liberia confirmed his choice: “I knew then that this was the kind of work I want to be involved with for the rest of my life.” But he did not immediately sign up for full-time service. After passing his nursing exams, Nate worked five years in California.
He continued to volunteer with Mercy Ships during his vacation time, serving in Togo, Guinea, The Democratic Republic of the Congo, and Madagascar. Over the years, his role with Mercy Ships began to grow. Originally a ward nurse on board, Nate felt drawn to work with the screening team, joining full-time in Madagascar. Their unique role is to find and select the patients whose lives we seek to change.
Nate’s dedication and love for what he does enables him to face the sometimes heartbreaking “no” that he has to say to say to people we are unable to treat. Fortunately, we get to say “yes” many times and support patients on their journey to healing. More recently, he has stepped into the role of Screening Supervisor.
He brings gusto and imagination to his post: “I want to stay up late at night dreaming of creative ways we can improve the efficiency and safety in how we reach out to find and select patients,” he says, “I want to strive to improve our procedures and processes in order that they reflect the patient’s best interest.” Nate’s love for people and compassion for those in need shines through when he says, “I still view this job – this work we do as an organization – as the greatest privilege I have ever had … walking with others through this harrowing process of life and experiencing the vast spectrum of the human experience. The pain, joy, sorrow, laughter, anxiety, freedom, and adventure….[they] remind me that we are all connected. That deep connection… ultimately makes me want to work harder.”
Thanks for sharing with us Nate, the work of Mercy Ships wouldn’t be possible without volunteers like you!