Articles in Category: Gertrude's Story

Childhood Commitment

So let’s get back to Canada again – I got a bit ahead of myself talking about being a missionary and about Ramadan in the “old” days!

As I told you before, my Mom was a committed Christian who prayed and taught us to pray. My dad wasn't as committed as her, he was brought up in a different church, the old Mennonite church, and he didn't go to church except for weddings and funerals.  But my mother prayed for all of us...

Endings & Beginnings

My Dad closed his store in about 1940, and after that he just ran the Western Grain elevator, the father of the other family in the village ran the Wheat Pool elevator.

I started school the same year my Dad stopped running the store.  He had the elevator for awhile, and then he started buying a bit of land.  Eventually he acquired quite a lot of land and started growing mostly wheat, along with some barley and oats.

A New World Opens up for Me

By the time I was finished Bible School, I knew I wanted to go somewhere to be a missionary, but I didn't know where.  I was going to train to become a teacher, because I felt somehow that was what I was supposed to do. But in my last year of Bible School some or my friends decided to go into nursing, and I thought yes, that's something that I would like.

I had already been exposed to nursing, having worked during the summers in an old folks home and in a small twelve-bed hospital, both of which I really liked.  So in 1957, I started my education at the Calgary General hospital to become a registered nurse. Calgary is in Alberta and it was quite far from home for me at the time.

Preparing For A New Life

Getting ready to go was a long and involved process. I learned the specialized nursing skills I would need, prepared mentally and spiritually (the core of which was learning to trust God completely), and raised funds for the trip.

There were lots of tasks to do as well; I bought things, got dresses sown, packed everything I would need for the next five years, and shipped it to the place that would become my new home away from home.

Anyone who has ever packed for traveling, even for a short trip, knows how hard it can be. Imagine packing to go to a place where hardly any outsiders have visited before, and you have never traveled, and you’re going for a year or more! Looking back now, I wonder how I managed it all.

A Roman Adventure On The Way To Abu Dhabi

Getting to Abu Dhabi the first time was a real adventure.

A lady at the mission planned the trip for me and bought the ticket, because I'd never been anywhere, except once to Chicago. That was the only time I’d ever been on a plane.

So this was my second time ever flying, and my first time overseas.  In fact, it wasn't until I started my nursing training that I had ever been to the United States.

A gal at the mission planned the trip for me, and she said to me it would be wonderful if I could stop in Rome.  Why in the world she wanted me to stop in Rome I don't know.  Maybe she herself had always dreamed of going to Rome, and she thought I might like it too!  Anyway, she said, “while you're going past you can stop in Rome, go on to Beirut, then Bahrain, and eventually Abu Dhabi.”