During her undergraduate time at Harding, physician assistant student Hannah Jackson was exposed to many international missions. As a youth intern in Little Rock, Ark., Jackson organized small-scale trips within the states. In the summer of her junior year, she took her passion for missions even further by participating in the China Now program. During her mission trip to China, Jackson became interested in pursuing her PA degree for the mission field.
“I have always had a dream to be a missionary, whether that was inner city or foreign,” Jackson said. “One summer I was in China for a month teaching English through the Bible, and I got really sick. For two weeks I did not leave my bed, and it was there that I learned I needed a medical degree.”
These mission trips and internships reaffirmed Jackson’s desire to be a medical missionary, but none of them made her feel more sure than her time spent at Misión Para Cristo in Jinotega, Nicaragua. Knowing no one in Nicaragua, Jackson traveled to Misión Para Cristo to work as an intern from February to July 2013. While she was there, she served the Jinotega community by giving out glasses to those who could not see; building homes and beds; giving pedicures to expecting mothers; giving water filters to homes; teaching children at VBS and working in the church.
Brenda Louis met Jackson on the same summer mission trip to China, and the two remained close friends.
“Ever since I’ve known Hannah, she has expressed a passion and a desire to work in missions,” Louis said.”One of the things that has always struck me about Hannah is her amazingability to connect with people in such a genuine, loving way. Everywhere we traveledin China, it was like she never met a stranger. People are drawn to her bright, bubbly personality, and I believe that before long, everyone realizes that her awesome energy comes from the joy and peace shefinds in the Lord.”
After her experiences in China and Nicaragua, Jackson enrolled in the physician assistant program at Harding University.
“I would hope that my medical knowledge would be a tool to show Christ,” Jackson said. “That when I helped someone feel better, it would be because the Ultimate Healer took care of them.”
Director of the Mitchell Center for Leadership and Ministry Andrew Baker, one of Jackson’s undergraduate Bible professors, said that there are two very important qualities that someone pursuing missions needed to have.
“Hannah has the two most important characteristics a person on the mission field needs: a love for God and a love for neighbor,” Baker said. “As long as those two remain true, she will always be a person well-suited for the mission field.”