Elizabeth Schwarz, a sophomore nursing major from Dallas, and Andrea Sewell, a sophomore nursing major from Columbus, Indiana, will spend a portion of their summer break furthering their nursing and intercultural skills through the Abilene Christian University’s School of Nursing trip to Ntarama, Rwanda, this summer.
Schwarz and Sewell will serve at Rwanda Children, a non-profit organization led by ACU alumnus Serge Gasore (’09), as instructors in the school and assistants in the medical clinic. Rwanda Children strives to provide daily shelter, food, medical care, education and hope to at-risk Rwandan children in the name of Jesus. Last summer was the first time ACU partnered with the organization through the Wildcat Academics on Mission program, and five nursing students worked with the nurses at Rwanda Children and taught in the classrooms.
This summer, the partnership continues as Schwarz and Sewell will work alongside other ACU nursing students and other Rwanda Children nurses. Sewell said she is interested in learning the Rwandan culture and how to serve others well in different cultures.
“I wanted to go on this mission to serve the people,” Sewell said. “I also am fascinated by other cultures so getting to serve a group of people from another culture, especially one that is so different from my own, is something that I’m really interested in.”
Sewell said she looks forward to working with the clinics, the children and the hospital staff. She is still new in her nursing career but is looking forward to what the trip allows her to do in the future.
“One of the main things this trip means is that I will have a better understanding of how to communicate with individuals who speak a different language,” Sewell said. “I will also have a better understanding of how healthcare in other countries works.”
Schwarz has served with the School of Nursing in Denver at Dry Bones, a ministry among homeless youth and young adults in the Denver metro area, but this trip allows her to move away from her comfort zone in a new culture. She will be teaching the students at Rwanda Children about different organ systems and healthcare as well as supporting the staff in their on-campus clinic. Schwarz said she strives to be a nurse who is humble, culturally knowledgeable and loves well.
“A lot of people question ‘Why short-term missions? Do they even help? Aren’t you leaving them high & dry?’,” Schwarz said. “Our goal in Rwanda isn’t to swoop in and solve all their problems and leave. We know God has blessed the Rwanda Children team to grow and help their community. We aim to build meaningful relationships and support them in whatever way they ask. We will not be there to be saviors. We will be there to praise and follow the same savior: Jesus.”
Learn more about last year’s School of Nursing trip to Rwanda Children.
— Connor Mullins
May 11, 2023