Nursing grad Nicole Hess ’13 grew up hearing about Eastern Mennonite Missions—a nonprofit dedicated to globally pursuing peace and enriching the lives of others—at her home church. After graduating from Messiah, she volunteered with the organization as a nurse at a school in Rumbek, South Sudan.
Her days were spent in the clinic with patients. Her evenings were spent on the basketball courts with students.
Hess says she was inspired and challenged as she learned about community, hospitality and courage there. “I saw that life was enriched by the people around your table rather than the food on your table. There is great joy and beauty to be found in simply being with people,” she said.
On long walks with local high school girls, she heard stories of their resilience in the face of suffering and hardship. Many of them experienced trauma from the war, inter-clan violence and threats of forced marriage.
“True courage is extending forgiveness rather than engaging in endless cycles of violence,” she said.
Hess now wants to focus on trauma in her studies. She’s pursuing a master’s in social work at Widener University.
“I want to learn more about how trauma impacts a person in the psychosocial realm and as a whole,” she said, “and how to walk with and holistically support someone in moving forward.”
Once she finishes grad school, she says she is open to pursuing options wherever Jesus leads.
— Jake Miaczynski ’20