Samantha Hodge is one of our newest international volunteers serving as a nurse at the Mutomo Mission Hospital in KenyaIn her volunteer story below, Samantha reflects on her dream of becoming an international volunteer and what motivated her to take a leap of faith and commit herself to a long-term service opportunity. Learn what she means when she says “The heart of the issue, is an issue of the heart.”

The Heart of the Issue, is an Issue of the Heart

Becoming a global health volunteer was a growing but distant dream. A goal that I frequently looked to in the far horizon but was never sure if or when I would ever approach it. My love for global health was first inspired when I studied abroad in Quito, Ecuador and worked in a public health clinic for five months. The experience was striking and awe-inspiring.

Afterwards, I flirted with the idea of global nursing by attending multiple two-week-long international health trips to various countries on each side of the hemisphere. From the many worldly exposures and introductions, to the profuse challenges of tropical medicine, I knew one thing: when I was abroad, I felt out of my comfort zone but simultaneously content. It sounds cheesy, but I eased in naturally and was moved by the powerful cross-cultural friendships and my broadened perspective.

Samantha letting a little boy in El Salvador listen to her heartbeat

Photos from Samantha’s 2018 service trip to El Salvador

But the leap to leave the states for a longer mission was multifaceted. As I became more and more enticed by the glitter and glamour of the comfortable Bostonian life I was living, I felt myself drifting in my faith and from my relationship with God. The more vibrant and hectic my external media got, the more I began to put God on the back burner internally.

I was not doing a great job of balancing the things I valued most. One day, I woke up, and I decided to try to actively pursue Christ again — no longer place him in the back of my mind and only call on him when convenient.

Samantha in Rwanda with a group of students she met

A photo of Samantha on a short-term service trip to Rwanda.

I asked myself, where do I feel God the most? The answer — in serving. I feel him the most fervently when I am serving others, particularly in underdeveloped countries. I began to identify with Albert Schweitzer’s words, “The only really happy people are those who have learned how to serve.” I saw God everywhere during mission trips.

Samantha with children she served in Nicaragua. they sit together on the ground

Samantha on another service trip to Nicaragua!

I saw him in the eyes of my pediatric patients, in the bright smiles of strangers passing in the street, in the hugs from curious children, and in the steadfast resilience shown by unwavering people in an unyielding world.

Coupled with my dream for global health and appetite for a growing faith, I decided to apply to CMMB as an Aurora Fellow. It encompassed all the aspects I was looking for in a mission statement, encouraging selfless love and respect in delivering medical care to women and children in hard-to-reach communities.

With CMMB’s dedication to compassionate care and improving healthcare access and delivery, I am excited to explore a life of spiritual growth, challenge, learning, and love.

And I’m off!

Photo of the Mutomo Mission Hospital sign taken by volunteer, Samantha Hodge

An image of the Mutomo Mission Hospital sign – where Samantha volunteers today!


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