Erica aims for Doro
By Geoff McGowan | New Zealand in Oceania
Representative stock image.
New Zealand nurse Erica Aarsen is trusting God through the COVID-19 pandemic as she waits to start a long-term placement at Doro Clinic in South Sudan.
SIM evacuated many of its overseas workers from the clinic when the pandemic began and even though the borders of Kenya and South Sudan have re-opened, Erica must keep waiting.
She was due to take a tropical medicine course in the UK during April before heading to Doro. The next possible opportunity to take the course is in November, and since all her funding is in place, Erica could yet be in Doro by the end of the year.
When asked about her delay, she said: “Having my plans put on hold to go to South Sudan is fine. It is a good reminder that although we make plans, God is the one who determines our steps, and it is not always for us to know why things happen the way they do! I will be glad when the time comes and I am able to go, but happy to be here in the meanwhile.”
Erica has kept in touch with the Doro team via email and WhatsApp. She said: “It is currently just heading into the rainy season in South Sudan, which means thick, humid heat and frequent rainstorms. This season can be especially challenging because of the increase in malaria cases, due to there being more mosquitos.
“Also, land access to the clinic becomes more difficult because of an abundance of mud! Locusts remain a threat to many people across East Africa; a lot of these people rely on the food that they grow to feed themselves as they are not able to travel to towns and cities to buy other things if their crops fail.”
Over the last few months Erica has been busy in the Dunedin Emergency Department in New Zealand, where she has received training in the care of patients with COVID-19.
Erica understands that some people might have concerns for her safety if she ends up treating COVID-19 patients in South Sudan but doesn’t believe that these concerns should prevent her going. She said: “Yes we should be wise in taking this seriously, but also remember the example set by Jesus and the commands he left us to care for the sick, the leper, the poor.”
Erica’s family is sending her off with full support. She said: “I come from a family of believers in Jesus and what He has done for us. I think it is always hard to see a relative go and live in a far-away place but knowing that family members are held in the palm of God’s hand is a great reassurance.”
Erica’s comments echo those of David Shearer, the Head of the United Nations Mission in South Sudan. In a recent interview, he expressed concern that COVID-19 might interfere with treatment of TB, malaria and diarrhoea in children, which could potentially kill many more. He also indicated that the UN was having great difficulty sourcing PPE, which is alarming since COVID-19 has been detected in two large refugee camps, one of which the Doro Clinic serves.
Pray with us
• Praise God for his wonderful provision of financial support for Erica’s ministry in Doro.
• Please pray for Erica, the Doro team (those in Kenya and those remaining in Doro) and the people of South Sudan.
This story first appeared on SIM NZ's website. Read more of their stories.