A Heart for the World
Kerrie Kimbrow, professor of nursing at Southwestern Adventist University, loves to travel. She’s been to 49 countries. Kimbrow hopes to pass on her love for nursing, as well as love for travel to her students.
Kimbrow got her first travel bug as a child when her family took a trip across North America, Europe, Asia, and Australia. They had been on a study leave to the U.S. Rather than fly home to Australia, they traveled across four continents, 31 countries, and two oceans.
“I just love cultures, and I love new places,” says Kimbrow. “Wherever my family and I are is my favorite place.”
Kimbrow graduated with a master’s degree in nursing administration from Loma Linda University in 1993. Ready for excitement, she decided to take a job in China. Loma Linda was participating in the establishment of a western-style teaching hospital in China. They asked Kimbrow to be vice president for nursing.
“I thought I would only be gone for six months to help get them started, but six months turned to five years,” she says.
When Kimbrow first arrived in China, the nursing department leaders held an important meeting. It was to give Kimbrow a Chinese name.
“They talked and talked and talked,” says Kimbrow. “I couldn’t understand what they were saying, but they were in serious discussion of what my Chinese name should be.”
Eventually they decided Kimbrow’s name would be Kaili. A new name was only the start of her new life in China. She got to know and love the culture. Also, Kimbrow had several major life events take place while there. She met her husband, Ron, who was also on staff from Loma Linda, and they had their first child.
The people gave an abundance of advice to Kimbrow. Friends from the church and hospital all wanted a part in raising the new baby. The Kimbrow named their new baby Kaili, after her own Chinese name.
“They were just a joy to be with,” says Kimbrow. “The people I worked with felt like it was their baby too. We tried to learn from them, and learn from being in that culture. We were just absorbed in it all.”
Five years went by quickly and it was time to turn the hospital over to Chinese management.
“We got to know the Chinese people really well,” says Kimbrow, “especially those we worked with and those from church. They became like family to us. When we left, it was like leaving home.”
Kimbrow and her husband both had family in Texas, so that’s where they went when they left China. “We thought it would be a great place to settle,” says Kimbrow. “We could be with family and raise kids.”
Kimbrow worked per diem at Huguley Hospital so she could home school Kaili, now 15, and her 13-year-old son Jared. She also worked some as an adjunct professor at Southwestern. Last year, Kimbrow came on as a full-time assistant professor.
She was hesitant to teach full time, so didn’t give a definite answer at first. She took it to the Lord in prayer. Soon it became obvious to Kimbrow that God wanted her to work at Southwestern full time. Things quickly fell into place and she received encouragement from unexpected places. For example, people that had no idea she thought about teaching full time, encouraged her to do so.
“God worked things out to point me in this direction,” said Kimbrow. “I knew when I came here that God had a job for me to do. The nursing faculty members here have opened their arms to me to make me feel welcome. I’m very, very blessed.”
Kimbrow loves working with students, and getting to know them, and enjoys watching them grow into nurses.
“Nursing is a profession that I love,” says Kimbrow. “I’m excited to be a nurse and I’ve loved every job I’ve had in nursing. I really want to pass that on to students who come through my classes, so they can love what they’ve been called to do as well.”
Whether she’s on a mission trip, family vacation or working, travel is a big part of who Kimbrow is. She would encourage anyone to travel if they have the chance. She says it’s a chance to make lasting memories and lasting friendships. Even more importantly, it’s a way to share God with other people.
“As Christians we have the great commission to take the ‘Good News’ to the whole world,” says Kimbrow. “Whenever we have an opportunity to be a part of that, we always come back more blessed than we can imagine. If God opens a door for you to work for Him in another country, go! You won’t regret it.”
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