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From No Way to Yes, God!

  • Nancy Huffine
  • September 29, 2023

Doraine Ross Moody Bible Institute


“I said, ‘God, I’m NOT going to be a missionary. I’m NOT going to be a nurse. And I’m NOT going to Africa!’”

At age 14, Doraine Ross ’63 knew that God was calling her to the mission field. Stubbornly against the possibility, Doraine began to sabotage her own education. “I took the wrong subjects at high school so I could legitimately say to God, ‘I can’t go,’” she recalls.

Leaving school without her diploma, Doraine worked an office job before returning to high school at age 23 to finish her senior year in 1957. Next she decided to go to nursing school but told God she didn’t have the brains to do nursing in Africa.

But as Doraine says, “God was proving Himself over and over in my life.” Desiring a biblical education, she enrolled at Moody Bible Institute in 1960. This decision so dramatically altered the trajectory for the rest of her life that she faithfully supports Moody even today at age 89.

‘I was ready!’

The classes gave her a deeper understanding of the Bible and taught her how to share the truth of Scripture with others. Her Practical Christian Ministry assignments in Chicago gave her important, one-to-one ministry experience. “What a blessing that was!” she says. “Moody prepares you for ministry.”

Then something miraculous happened. Touched by Moody’s Missions Conference her sophomore year, Doraine says, “I went back to my dorm room—on the sixth floor, I think—and I stood in the middle of that floor and said, ‘God, today I'm telling You, I WILL be a missionary. I WILL go to Africa. And I WILL be at a hospital!’ That burden I had carried all those years rolled off my back in that room. I was ready!”

At the end of her second year at Moody, Doraine met Dr. Bob Foster, who had founded Mukinge Hospital and a nursing school in Kasempa, Zambia (then Northern Rhodesia) in Africa.

“He just said, ‘Doraine, you come (to Africa),’” she says, chuckling. “I said, ‘I’ve only just graduated.’ He said, ‘Doraine, we’ll teach you everything you need to know. Come!’”

Working with Africa Evangelical Fellowship (now SIM), Dr. Foster’s desire to train national nurses to care for the Zambian people came out of personal experience. Doraine explains, “There was no doctor. His mom and dad were Bible translators out there. When anyone got sick, they had to travel hundreds of miles to a medical facility.”

Hippo bites in Africa

When Doraine arrived at Mukinge Hospital in Africa from Cambridge, Ontario, in 1962, the differences were stark. “The facilities were, of course, not what I had been trained in in Canada,” she remembers. “The food was different. The patients had almost nothing. Their clothing—a lot of it was tatters. There were all kinds of bites—hippopotamus bites, elephant bites, snake bites. There were no buses to bring patients to the hospital. If they were sick, they still had to walk unless a vehicle went by their village.”

At that time, the number one killer in Zambia was malaria, and patients often needed a transfusion. Blood “was very difficult to get, and the only way we got it was from a relative who might have come in with the patient,” Doraine recalls. “We would take their blood and make sure it was the right type and give them a blood transfusion.”

Doraine’s work focused on matron (nurse management) responsibilities in the 200-bed hospital. “We had 40 student nurses there all the time, every year I was there, which was 34 years with SIM,” Doraine says. “They were called Zambian Enrolled Nurses, which is one place down from a graduate nurse.”

Bible studies for nurses

Her Bible training from Moody also came into play. “One of the things I introduced was Bible studies,” she says. “Every nurse group was divided into four classes, and every class had their own Bible teacher. We saw many of these students come to know the Lord. That's where Moody came in because I had been taught the Bible. I came from a Christian family, but I studied the Bible at Moody. So when I taught the Bible, I felt I had a good, helpful background in teaching.”

As she nears her 90th birthday, Doraine is still actively involved in recruiting new missionaries to serve with SIM. She is also a founding board member for Faith’s Orphans Fund, which raises funding to secure foster families and provide education for 4,200 orphaned children in Zambia.

Doraine continues to support Moody as she has for years. She loves to tell potential donors that “Moody is serious about preparing people for ministry. Whatever class you might be in, it’s just excellent preparation.”

About the Author

  • Nancy Huffine

Nancy Huffine is a long-time freelance writer for Moody Bible Institute and Moody Alumni & Friends magazine.