Learning from those who went before

I am pleased to announce publication of A Time to Heal: Missionary Nurses in Churches of Christ, Southeastern Nigeria (1953-1967). (Los Angeles: Sulis Academic, 2020).

It is original history that holds lessons for nurses today. What is it that we learn from the women, whose stories are within this book?

I think it’s mainly this: “Do not let your personal limitations stop you from doing the good that you see to do in the world.”

This book contains the previously untold story of how a remarkable set of lay and professional nurses shaped Church of Christ (COC) missions in southeastern Nigeria. No archive of their work existed, and I enjoyed the privilege of compiling the story from the memories, bags, basements, and boxes of the women who lived this story and those who knew them. The book was 10 years in the making.

Missionary student technical nurse learning to give injection (ca 1966). Private collection with permission.

These women’s decisions and actions occurred within a broader shift of COC perspectives away from missionary healthcare as incidental volunteer women’s work, and toward healthcare missions as a Christian duty. For each being a missionary nurse meant delivering healthcare as part of Christian evangelism. To that end they executed multiple roles: healer, educator, revolutionary, advocate, good-will ambassador, protector, administrator, evangelist, role model, fund-raiser, friend, and colleague. We did “everything that needed to be done that there was nobody to do,” reflected missionary Nancy Petty RN.

Enjoy the read, and pursue the good that you can do in this world.

[Featured image: August 23, 1965. The Nigerian Christian Hospital Outpatient Clinic opens. Photographer JR Morgan. Used with permission from JRM private collection]

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