Celinne Mencias moved with her United Methodist family from the Philippines to the Chicago area when she was 11 years old. She lived in the United States and went to college to study nursing. She learned about Global Ministries’ Mission Volunteers program through participation in the National Association of Filipino American United Methodists (NAFAUM), which met in Chicago two years ago. A Generation Transformation representative talked about ways young people can serve in mission.
“I’m a nurse practitioner,” Celinne said. “I graduated in January 2017. While I was still in nursing school, I thought, ‘When I graduate, I really want to do some type of mission work.’ After graduation was the perfect opportunity for me to go somewhere and serve.”
Maua Methodist Hospital
Celinne received her mission volunteer training soon after she graduated and boarded a plane for Maua, Kenya, to work with Maua Methodist Hospital. Maua is a town on the equator in the mountains. Celinne mused about it’s beautiful weather, lush vegetation, and many people. “It’s a booming town,” she explained. “They need a lot of services because the population is growing. It used to be a rural, sleepy town where there were no grocery stores. Now it’s gained three grocery stores within the last five years.”
The population is also changing. There is still poverty, but more businesses are cropping up in Maua, so some people are well off.
Celinne Mencias (right) and a coworker offer blood pressure and other kinds of health screenings out in the community of Maua.
Celinne’s official title in her volunteer capacity at the hospital was Community Health Nurse. She helped the hospital nursing department in the facility but she also went out into the community with the nursing department to do some outreach, such as: vaccinations for kids, prenatal care, and palliative care—a program for HIV/AIDs patients.
In God’s timing, Celinne arrived in Kenya just when she was most needed. “In the three months I was there,” she explained, “Kenya underwent a government doctors’ strike. The county hospitals closed because the doctors weren’t working. But Maua Methodist Hospital is a mission hospital, and its doctors are not connected to the government. We received a lot of sick patients from the county hospital during that time.”
Celinne poses with some of her colleagues at Maua Methodist Hospital in Kenya. PHOTOS: COURTESY CELINNE MENCIAS
Maua Hospital added extra beds. Celinne provided an extra set of hands to help with whatever nursing care they needed. Maua also has a nursing school attached to the hospital campus, and Celinne worked the students—they acted as translators with the patients.
Celinne observed: “I was trying to inspire the students to follow their calling through nursing, to serve others. Some of the students told me they admired me for volunteering as a nurse. They thought of nursing as just a job. But it truly is a calling.”
After returning home from Kenya, Celinne accepted a new job working as a nurse-practitioner in Oak Park, Illinois, at a family medical clinic. But, she says she sees more volunteer work in her future. “The Lord calls us to love our neighbors as ourselves,” she said. “I think volunteer work is a great opportunity for anyone—and, yea—there is a lot of need in the world.”
*Christie R. House is the editor of New World Outlook magazine.
Copyright New World Outlook magazine, Fall 2017 issue. Used by permission. Email the New World Outlook editor for more information.
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