Natalie Samford* hadn’t shied away from going to remote or challenging places on missions trips in East Asia, South Asia, Central Asia and South America. But since the 30-something had obtained a doctor’s degree in pharmacy, she wondered how that specialty could be used on the mission field long term.
When she looked into it, there weren’t full-time jobs with IMB calling for that specialty. But through talking with IMB medical professionals, she learned she could utilize her skills to form medical projects that fit the needs of the communities and people groups she would serve.
But there was another hurdle. Ten years ago, she had battled anorexia. In the years after that, she realized she needed to establish a track record of staying healthy, not only for herself but to be able to lead others to their own health of body, mind and spirit.
After 10 years of achieving this track record, she’s embarked on full-time overseas service to lead unreached people to this health of body, mind and especially spirit. She’s aware that her past struggles have given her a keen sense of how to talk with people who are battling an addiction.
“I know that anyone who has an addiction is searching for something else, and they are trying to fill that hole,” Samford recalls. “I’m a living testimony that Jesus can set you free. Every little thing in life that may seem terrible can be used for good.”
Serving in Central Asia, Samford wants to counsel families in the personal setting of their homes about how to live a healthy life, one that honors God. The people group she serves among is located in an area riddled with drug trafficking and substance abuse.
She first worked with the Central Asian people group as part of a ministry to refugees in the United States.
Having graduate degrees but no seminary training, Samford decided to apply for IMB’s Macedonia Project, which enables taking online seminary classes while serving overseas.
“I like how IMB combines missions and medicine to get the gospel to unreached people,” she says.
To find out more about the Macedonia Project, visit going.imb.org.
To learn about medical missions opportunities, go to imb.org/healthcare.