Regional Hospital Nurse Provides Hope and Healing in Africa

Regional Hospital Nurse Provides Hope and Healing in Africa

Rebekah Price is a surgical care nurse at Regional Hospital. She recently returned from Africa where she helped perform surgeries on people from the Republic of Congo where less than 50 percent of the people have access to healthcare.
A Terre Haute woman returned from Africa recently, but not from a vacation.

"It really rocked my world," said Rebekah Price.

Price has been on many mission trips before, but her most recent trip took her to the Republic of Congo in Africa for two weeks. At home she is a nurse at Regional Hospital, but to the people of Congo she is a life changer.

"It was beyond anything I could have imagined. Tumors the size of their face, wheel barrow sized hernias, clef lips, bowed legs, all kinds of things that have been debilitating. So much that their families have basically ousted them. Their communities have rid them not valuable so they've gone their whole lives feeling like they have no value because they look different," said Price.

She first heard of Mercy Ships from her pastor at Maryland Community Church. For more than 30 years volunteers with the organization have provided health care to the people of Africa. Their model is simple, to provide hope and healing. That is exactly what Price did when she met a woman who's tumor had taken over her face. It prevented her from eating and even forced her to struggle for air.

"Literally you could only see a little portion of her face," said Price of the woman as she came out of surgery. "Dr. Ness and I, he was the anesthesiologist, we're standing at her bedside and Dr. Ness literally put her hand to her face and she started feeling all over her face and it was just this quiet moment of watching her for the first time almost in disbelief that the tumor was gone and she started crying and we started crying."

Members of Maryland Community Church donated all of the $4,500 Price needed for her two week stint over seas. Every volunteer paid their own way to help people in the Congo where more than 50 percent of the population has little to no healthcare. It was an experience that altered the way she looks at every day.

"I think we're so blessed to have what we have," said Price. "But to me, it's just stuff. To me, none of that matters. What matters is caring for people and to show people that they're loved and there's something so beautiful about reaching out. I just feel like there's something within all of us. There's that desire to do something that's so much bigger than ourselves."

Price returned to her day job as a surgical care nurse at Regional Hospital and earning her nurse practitioner's license. But her trip inspired her to reach out in a new way.

"I feel like making money is great, but it's changed how I view that because in western culture everything is just so elaborate and when you've seen the simplicity of life and the joy they have and how content they are with just having such little, it makes me long for simplicity."

To learn more about Mercy Ships and their mission, click here to visit their website.
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