Lydia Narloch | First Nursing Class Alumna Update

As a member of the very first graduating class from MBU’s Nursing program, alumna Lydia Narloch remains forever thankful for God’s timing. MBU introduced the Nursing program during her sophomore year and, having already felt God’s calling in the area of Nursing, Lydia jumped at the opportunity to be a part of it. She graduated in 2008 with her BSN and obtained work as a medical-surgical nurse, quickly gaining experience in other departments as well, such as ICU and rehabilitation. Not long after, Lydia cross-trained into the house supervisor role at her hospital, and this has proven to be her current and favorite position, even after stepping into an interim position as ICU manager for a short period. Lydia declares that she loves her job and views the hospital God has placed her in as her mission field, meeting the physical and spiritual needs of those around her, and she has even had the chance to extend that mindset across the world; she received the opportunity in 2011 and again in 2015 to travel to Cameroon and Cambodia respectively on medical missions trips.

Because of her godly influence and the evidence of God’s hand upon her life, her coworkers have nominated her for the Nursing Excellence Award three years in a row, and in 2014 she was nominated Nurse of the Year. Lydia praises God for all of these accomplishments, attributing her success to His provision and grace in her life. She also thanks MBU’s first Nursing instructors for their patience and perseverance through the many difficulties of starting a Nursing program. In Lydia’s words, “God is good!”

We had the opportunity to ask Lydia some follow-up questions about her experiences: 

You mentioned a couple of missions trips. Can you give any specific details on what you were able to do on these trips and the experiences you were able to have?

In 2011, the Lord opened the door for me to take a month off of work and travel to Cameroon, West Africa to visit the ministry of the Needham family. Prior to the more recent violence crisis in the English-speaking part of the country, their family had a special opportunity to minister to the physical and spiritual needs of people in very remote villages. Pastor Tom Needham has a small airplane that he would use to fly into villages and preach the Gospel, as well as transport the sick to the Mbingo Baptist Hospital whenever there was a need. I was able to go on many of these trips with Pastor Tom and his daughters, either on foot or by plane, and assist with simple medical needs as they proclaimed the Gospel to these precious souls. My eyes were opened to the vast white harvest of those who have NEVER heard the good news of Jesus Christ. The Needham family are humble servants of God who are faithfully fulfilling their commission to the people of Cameroon; they have seen hundreds of souls saved, churches planted, and many more ministry opportunities to advance the Gospel. 

Operation Renewed Hope (ORH) is a Christ-centered and local-church-minded agency that organizes medical missions & disaster relief trips to aid in times of need. In 2015, I visited Cambodia for the second time, except this trip was solely dedicated to medical missions for ten days. We were able to hold clinics in two different villages and see hundreds of patients with a large variety of health conditions. Every patient was sent to hear the Gospel preached by a Cambodian pastor before going to the makeshift pharmacy to pick up their medication and vitamin packets. The amazing aspect about medical missions with ORH is that the local missionaries and pastors are able to follow up with all the people who make spiritual decisions. The primary desire is for eternal fruit from our labors; what a great opportunity to follow the example of Christ in showing love and compassion towards the physical needs of people in order to show them that they have a greater spiritual need!

What do you do in your current role as a house supervisor?

In 2008, I graduated from Maranatha with a bachelor’s degree in Nursing. That same summer I was hired as a medical-surgical nurse at a hospital close to my house and quickly gained experience in the medical-surgical unit as well as in ICU and rehabilitation. Within a few years, I was cross-trained to the house supervisor role which has been my current position for over six years. I love the house supervisor role because it gives me an opportunity to maintain my nursing skills while being in a leadership position. In 2013, I finished a six-month interim as the ICU manager but knew my heart was not in an administrative “desk job,” per se.

The house supervisor is a registered nurse who is in charge of the whole hospital during their shift hours. House supervisor responsibilities include rounding on all the units, making sure each unit is properly staffed, finding beds in the appropriate unit for patients who need to be admitted to the hospital, assisting nurses with various nursing skills such as difficult IV insertions, responding to all emergencies, being an educational resource for staff, dealing with any type of conflict resolution involving patients, family, and staff, and much more! 

You mentioned how much God has worked through you at your job. Can you give any specific examples of encounters with others in which you were able to share the gospel or be a blessing spiritually?

I love nursing because so often people are sensitive toward spiritual conversations during times of sickness. As a bedside nurse, you have a lot of opportunities to develop a relationship with your patients and pray for God to open the door toward a spiritual conversation. I am thankful for those numerous opportunities and wish I would have recorded them all. Over the years, God also gave me opportunities to do Bible study with coworkers and lead two of them to Christ. One coworker was recently saved in 2020 after a one-on-one Bible study in my home. I have always considered the hospital as one of my mission fields and looked for opportunities to plant seeds. Early on in my career, I regularly brought homemade food to work which was well-loved by my coworkers. They would ask me for recipes, so I decided to make a recipe book with my salvation testimony in it to give to each of them as a gift. Prior to getting married in 2018, I worked full-time and volunteered to work every Christmas day so that my family could come and sing Christmas hymns to any patient who accepted the offer. We would leave them a plate of goodies and a Bible tract. Many of my coworkers came to my bridal shower and wedding in 2018; each of them received a Bible tract with their thank-you note. Even though I may never see all the results now, my prayer is for eternal fruit! 

Are there any specific memories you have regarding being the first Nursing graduating class of Maranatha? What was it like experiencing such a new program?

Starting a nursing program at a Bible college is a huge endeavor, but Mrs. Peggy Sutherland had the prior experience and vision to accomplish this feat. I remember her good balance between having a sense of humor and being a “drill sergeant,” in a good way because she was determined to make us successful in our nursing careers. I truly believe that nursing is a calling from God! It is not an easy job nor is it just a good-paying job. Nurses have people’s lives in their hands and must take that responsibility very seriously. The first Nursing class started out with twenty-five students, but only seven of us graduated in 2008. Mrs. Sutherland understood the necessity to make sure we were 100% committed to the discipline and diligence required to become a registered nurse. 

How did your time at Maranatha prepare you for ministry?

God’s plan for every believer is to proclaim the gospel and to be an active member in the body of Christ, the local church. I am thankful for Maranatha’s emphasis on local church ministry when I attended college. While in college, I took opportunities to be involved in the all-night prayer meetings, weekly children’s Bible clubs, Friday night soul-winning on State Street in Madison, and the bus ministry at Calvary on Saturdays and Sundays. My life verse is I Samuel 12:24: “Only fear the Lord, and serve Him in truth with all your heart: for consider how great things He hath done for you.” God has done so much for me; the least I can do is serve Him wholeheartedly where He has placed me! 

To learn more about the School of Nursing, click here.

Are you an MBU alumnus? Let us know how God has been leading you since graduation!