Nursing student's passion for service leads to India orphanage

Thu, 2012-08-02 15:23 -- univcomm
August 2, 2012

Carrie Borchardt, a junior nursing major at Anderson University, spent last summer living life to the fullest. After reading Shane Claiborne’s book The Irresistible Revolution, Borchardt felt called to spend her summer working at Sarah’s Covenant Homes, an orphanage in India.

Borchardt felt encouraged after reading Claiborne’s book. Although she knew that God was calling her to act, she was not sure specifically what it was she was supposed to do while in India. Like Claiborne, Borchardt initiated her summer of ministry by simply doing a Google search for “India missions.”

Borchardt’s Google search resulted in finding an orphanage in India. Once she had established where she would be serving, Borchardt raised the funds to get there. She sent out support letters and received an endowment from her church, which covered most of the trip.

Borchardt, along with a hometown friend from Menomonee Falls, Wis., spent the summer working at Sarah’s Covenant Homes in Ongole, India. The orphanage’s main purpose is to house children who have been abandoned by their parents. The majority of the abandoned children have developmental disabilities.

Sarah’s Covenant Homes creates a sense of family for these children, but the home also depends on missionaries and volunteers like Borchardt to help take care of the children. The children residing at Sarah’s Covenant Homes are between 10 to 12 years old. These children are often abandoned by their parents at temples and cemeteries when their handicaps either become more recognizable or do not seem to be improving.

While working at Sarah’s Covenant Homes, Borchardt put her nursing skills to use. She spent much of her time providing and assisting health checks to the children, including assisting with immunizations. She also helped sort materials, such as clothing. Her favorite part of the trip was taking the children on field trips to the ocean, a water park, and a carnival.

While in southern India, Borchardt believes she learned a lesson about God’s capacity to love, as she experienced the daily challenge to love the children she was serving. “I believe you have to stretch yourself to love,” said Borchardt. “These kids were seen as unlovable in their parents’ eyes, and sometimes it was really tough to show them love.”

Borchardt’s service in India was indicative of her passion for service, and she applied for AU’s Center for Public Service (CPS). “While many students come to CPS interviews with medical mission, mission, or service experience, few arrive with an experience that they created entirely on their own,” said Joel Shrock, director of CPS. “How many 20-year-old college students plan medical mission trips to India on their own and travel with only one other companion? This immediately set Carrie apart and illustrated her commitment to public service and to her field of medicine.” Borchardt was admitted to CPS last fall.

Borchardt plans to continue her passion to love and heal those less privileged than herself. This summer she is serving in Costa Rica. After graduation, she wants to continue spending time in new cultures and using her nursing degree to provide help. “I think everyone should go somewhere uncomfortable so they have the ability to be stretched and to change their views on things,” said Borchardt.

— Kimberly Werline is a junior from Anderson, Ind., majoring in communication arts. Werline is an associate with Fifth Street Communications, writing on behalf of the Anderson University Office of University Communications.

Anderson University is a private Christian university of 2,600 undergraduate and graduate students in central Indiana. Anderson University continues to be recognized as one of America's top colleges by U.S. News and World Report, The Princeton Review, and Forbes. Established in 1917 by the Church of God, Anderson University offers more than 65 undergraduate majors and graduate programs in business, music, nursing, and theology.