by Charissa Veal
CLEVELAND, Ga., (TMNews) – Graduating senior, Charity Estes, originally planned to major in pre-med so she could become a doctor, but God had a different path for her life. She is now finishing her fifth year at Truett-McConnell College with a bachelor’s degree in nursing and hopes to one day use her education on the mission field.
Plans for the future
Before applying to TMC, Estes applied to a school that had a good pre-med program. However, realizing she could not afford the cost of a private school, she prayed for direction and received a different answer than she expected. “Lord, please show me which school to choose by providing the money for schooling.” Not long after she prayed that prayer, God answered by making it financially impossible for Estes to attend her first choice school; instead, He provided her with almost a full scholarship to Truett-McConnell.
At the time, TMC didn’t have a pre-med program but planned on adding one. Once they acquired it, Estes shared how she felt a change in direction: “I ended up going into the pre-med program for two years and then decided I didn’t want to be in school for the rest of my life even though I knew I could push myself to do it. I just didn’t want to.”
Finding a calling
After being in the pre-med program for a year and a half, Estes began to feel unhappy. “For me to be completely unhappy constantly, I knew there was something not right.” She prayed for four to six months with no answer in sight, but just before the summer between her sophomore and junior year, God placed nursing in her path. “I never wanted to do nursing, so it was weird that I was even looking into that. But I had gotten into it, and I was learning about it and praying, and I had the most peace that I’ve ever had about anything.”
From that point on, Estes knew what she was supposed to do. “[T]he more I found out about it, the more I knew that it was my calling,” she shared. “That’s what I tell people. Nursing did not find me. God told me to go into nursing, and it’s my calling because it’s such a compassion-based profession. I guess the biggest thing about it is that I can serve other people, and that’s what I love.”
Passion with direction
Once she found her calling, the rest of the pieces fell into place. Estes plans to work in pediatrics because she loves kids, and she also hopes to have the opportunity to work on the foreign mission field.
“I’ve noticed in nursing,” Estes said, “the days I get to work with kids, I don’t even know that I’ve been there or have been standing for eight hours. I love it!” Having sensed the call into ministry when she was 11, Estes knows God wants her to use this occupation to share His love. “I eventually want to work with underprivileged children,” she said. “I want to do that here and then overseas.”
In fact, Estes has already fallen in love with children in two other countries. Between her freshman and sophomore years, she, along with other TMC students, went to Venezuela on a mission trip. “We just got to witness to people constantly the whole trip,” Estes remarked.
“The guy that was leading it had the same mindset as me in sharing Christ throughout the trip and not just doing construction or something like that, but making sure that when you’re doing those things that you’re sharing Christ. I think the highlight of that trip was the kids and just getting to share Christ with them,” Estes said.
Another TMC mission trip placed Estes in Kenya during the spring of 2014. “I never thought I’d go to Africa either,” Estes said. “That was another stretching moment, but I fell in love. We worked with a hospital while we were there, but the highlight of that trip was when we went into the slums. We weren’t supposed to go because it was raining and it would just be too nasty for us to go with the ground being so muddy, but we ended up going. It stopped raining, and I got to sing and teach the children motions to ‘Jesus Loves Me’ and songs like that.”
“The slum we were in was primarily Muslim,” Estes said about her experience, “but they were kids, so they went right along with it. So they were singing, like fifty kids at the tops of their lungs, about Christ in this community. And that was amazing because that was totally the Lord who allowed that to happen, and some of the kids knew songs about Christ and they wanted to sing them.”
During her time at TMC, Estes shared how she’s grown in her walk with Christ. “I think the biggest thing God’s taught me at Truett is trust—something that I’ve struggled with my whole life,” she confessed. “He’s stretched me a lot.”
Estes proved by trusting in God, He can use her even where she isn’t comfortable. “Nursing has really made me step out of my comfort zone, big time,” she said. “It’s such a huge ministry opportunity, and I’ve had the opportunity to share the whole gospel with patients…which we’re technically not allowed to do according to the hospital, but I did it anyway. That has been the coolest and the most stretching thing—sharing my faith when I’m not allowed to.”
During the summer following graduation, Estes will marry her fiancé and then move to Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary where he will begin classes. As she prepares for all the changes coming her way, she shares: “I am so excited to be walking into this new portion of life and marrying my best friend, but I will miss Truett, its community, and my friends.”
Estes doesn’t intend to let these changes intimidate her, though. She referenced a quote from Babe Ruth which keeps her going: “Never let the fear of striking out keep you from playing the game.” She reminds herself, “Everybody’s going to fail at one point, but the Lord brought about what I thought were failures, to be blessings.”
Estes wants to encourage future students also considering nursing to simply trust God. “[T]here’s no way I would ever be in nursing if it wasn’t for Him,” Estes said. “The Lord may take them on paths they don’t expect but be open to listen to what He is saying, and then, academic-wise, work as hard as you’ve ever worked before.”
“Don’t give up,” Estes added, “and make sure you find a support group of people that can encourage you. “You’ve got to work hard to get what you know you’re supposed to do.”
Charissa is a senior English major and freelance writer for TMC.
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