Wednesday, March 13, 2013


I had planned on holding off starting my fundraising for the Philippines until after I return from Nigeria so as not to confuse the two trips. However, I found out that I need to be ready to buy my ticket to the Philippines very soon if I want to get the group rate. So with no further ado....

I am wishing to secure as much as possible of my tuition and expenses before I leave in August and would like to invite all of YOU to be a part of this journey with me. Newlife International School of Midwifery is unique in that while I am going to school in a sense, I am also working as a volunteer missionary in their free maternity clinic and other outreaches they do in the surrounding community. All tuition that I pay, goes towards funding Mercy Maternity Clinic, the largest charity-based birthing center in the Philippines. They serve almost 20,000 patients annually (prenatal exams) and over 19,000 babies have been delivered in the last 16 years.

I have added up all my expenses and the total is very daunting!


One good note is that this is only about half the total tuition of the other stateside midwifery schools I had looked at. And that is ONLY tuition at those schools....not to mention living costs.

This total includes ALL my expenses that I can think of over the next two years. The school offers free room and board, free meals, and free preceptor/clinical fees.

Here it is broken down:

Tuition - $22,380
National College of Midwifery Admin Fee - $3100
Airfare - $800-1200
Visa/Immigration - $800-1000
Books - $600
Midwifery Supplies - $500
Overseas Health Insurance - $3500
Extra Living Expenses - $150/month = $3600
NARM Exam for Midwife Certification - $1000

If you would like to help sponsor me, I've created a donate link through paypal. It is on the "Donate" page at the top of the blog. Some have asked about supporting me monthly while I'm gone. If you would like to do that, please email me at and I would be happy to set that up as well.

Thank you so much!

Saturday, March 9, 2013

Counting Down the Days...

Two weeks from today, I'll be arriving in Nigeria! How fantastic it will be to step out of the plane and breathe in the deep, dry African air again.

It will be a short trip, just 10 days, but very busy I'm sure, teaching neonatal resuscitation at the Ile-Ife Adventist Hospital. While I was in Tchad, at the Bere Adventist Hospital, I heard little bits and pieces about the other African Adventist hospitals around the region. So it will be neat to go there in person, the 3rd hospital I've been to, after also spending some time at the Koza Adventist Hospital in Cameroon.

I've been asking my co-workers to start saving baby Ambu bags that they would normally throw away in our hospital.

I am also so excited to work with Lisa again, who is organizing the trip. Our years together in high school, go down in least our personal history :) It seems so long ago already. What is neat, is that I can remember tromping through the back woods together in the mountains, talking for hours about both our desires to work overseas. We would talk about starting a clinic or an orphanage, dreaming big dreams, never quite sure if they would come true. So when Lisa called me up last Fall, describing her plans and asking if I would want to be involved, I got so excited to realize that even after years of not seeing each other, we've both ended up with some of the same passions and finally making one of those dreams come true of working internationally together. 

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Are you sure?

Yesterday I received the exciting news that I will be heading to the Philippines for the next 2 years! I've been accepted to Newlife International school of Midwifery in Davao City on the southern island of Mindanao. I let out a little yelp when I read the email at work. As the news spread among my coworkers, many were curiously confused as to why I would choose to go to the Philippines for education. I've tried to explain my passion for working in underdeveloped countries, but it doesn't make much sense to them. Their favorite interest in traveling out of the country is to go on Disney cruises in the Bahamas. And why would I choose training that isn't at the most professional and highest level I could in the great United States? They were all very congratulatory, but also intrigued.

The biggest surprise to me was when I broke the news to my boss. She was excited for me, but then said, "Sarah, before you make any decisions, Kim and I want to talk to you."

Later in the afternoon I was called to her office and was a bit intimidated to see our nurse manager, our assistant nurse manager, and two other administrators waiting to talk to me. They sat me down and one quickly blurted out, "We think you should be a nurse practitioner!"

I was a little taken aback, and just answered with a surprised, "Oh!"

They went on very kindly to tell me how smart they think I am and how much potential I have, and want to be sure I know all the options available to me.

I told them I was very flattered that they would care so much to say something and that they think so highly of me, but want on to describe my passion for maternal and infant health and becoming a midwife. I explained the difference in working in an international setting and how physician assistants and nurse practitioners aren't always a recognized profession in other countries.

They still interjected more comments, "But you would be a fantastic nurse practitioner!" "It would give you so many more variable skills if you trained as a nurse." "You would always have job options."

So I explained more about why I want to train as a direct-entry midwife and become a CPM (Certified Professional Midwife) instead of going through nursing and becoming a nurse-midwife. I talked about working in rural areas in other countries, what I've seen and the needs that are there. I explained my desire to teach women in these areas to have basic midwife skills and how this school in the Philippines is so greatly aligned with all of my goals.

In the end, I don't know if they truly understood me. It was so very sweet of them to care so much and they were very encouraging, but I think I disappointed them a bit. They did tell me they were impressed that I would choose a life of such service, but they make it sound like I'm sacrificing so much, whereas I see it as what I enjoy more than anything else. I just wish it wasn't all about being successful and professional. To them, it sounds like a dinky little midwife school in the Philippines. To me, I see a fantastic opportunity to learn and serve at the same time at a school that highly values many of the things I value. It is a fully accredited program through the US that offers me a degree and prepares me to register as a CPM.

I am trying to not be disheartened by the fact that people think I'm choosing the wrong path. I truly have extensively thought through my options over the last few years as people have asked me why I'm not going to medical school, or PA school, or becoming a nurse. I have seen God leading me this direction and I'm jumping in with both feet!