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    Author: Ellen Conserva, Nancy Barnum

    Category: The Pulse - 2017.08 Issue 8, The Pulse - 2017.09 Issue 9

    Breathing Life into the Bedouin People

    In the wilds of Queenland, Australia lived a free-spirited girl named Abigail (not her real name). It was the 30’s and 40’s, and the dreaded disease, tuberculosis (TB), was still a big threat to the health of many people around the world. Sadly, Abigail contracted this disease twice while she was in nursing school, but it didn’t defeat her or slow her down one bit.  She continued in her adventurous ways, but God had his hand on her shoulder, before she even knew it. One of her friends had been praying for her as well, and dared her to go to a tent meeting, sponsored by some local churches.  Much to her surprise, Abigail gave her life to Jesus Christ that night, and though, “I now know that my life is no longer mine. God called me to serve Him. I am not sure what He wants me to do, but I am His fully.” She knew God wanted her to pursue nursing. 

    Abigail attended Bible college, learned how to preach, study and do research. While there, she heard of a need for nurses in the Middle East, specifically someone to help deliver babies.  “I will pray that God provides a nurse for them,” she thought, and began praying earnestly to that end. As time went by and prayers went up, she deduced that SHE was the answer to her own prayers.  When she arrived in the Middle East, she thought, “Yes. THIS is where I am meant to be. THIS is where God has called me to serve.” 

    As time went on, she felt God leading her to broaden her ministry. She saw that TB was a huge problem in this region, and remembering her bouts with the dreaded lung disease, she began caring for the locals who suffered with TB and other lung diseases. Subsequently, the Bedouin people, a group of nomadic, tent dwellers who are direct descendants of Ishmael, became her sole focus.

    In 1965, she partnered in ministry with Dr. Emily and together they worked side by side, ministering to this lovely people group. She became known around the region as a loving, caring, very strong willed Christian woman. She and Dr. Emily were both greatly loved and respected, even though being a Christian in that region of the world is very dangerous.  But Abigail continued to be Jesus to these people, praying for them, singing to them, and telling them about the love of Christ.  As she ministered to their lungs, she also ministered to their souls. The authorities knew of this activity, but turned a blind eye to it, because they saw the wonderful work she and Dr. Emily were doing in this place.

    In 1973, they rented a small stone building in town to house their hospital/sanatorium. They eventually grew out of this building and moved into their current location.  In 2015, they celebrated their 50th anniversary of serving the Bedouin people.

    This young adventurous girl with the scarred lungs, heard the call of God on her life. She allowed Him to use her to breathe new life into the lungs of the Bedouin people, while the Holy Spirit breathed into their souls. Today, at 86 years young, Abigail and her ministry to the Bedouin people continues. She will be speaking to our church on March 9th at 7:00 pm.  Please come and learn more about what God is doing in the Middle East.