A Passion to Serve

Couple Uses Military Deployment as Opportunity to Give Back


Military wives often wonder what they will do while their husband is deployed. The answer for Hannah Currin Keller, a 2012 alumna of Gardner-Webb University, was to follow God’s direction. Hannah is volunteering in West Africa for nine months, while her husband, Jake, a 2013 GWU alumnus, spends the next year serving in Iraq with the 878th National Guard Engineering Company based out of Kings Mountain, N.C.

Hannah left her job as a nurse in outpatient surgery at Watauga Medical Center in Boone, N.C., to care for people in Mango, Togo. “I felt the Lord leading me to step out in faith and see what opportunities were available to serve in medical missions,” she related. “I found Hospital of Hope through Samaritan’s Purse World Medical Mission. I saw they have a desperate need for nurses. It was hard to leave my familiar home and wonderful workplace to go to an unknown environment, but I knew I was doing what God wanted me to do.”

Hospital of Hope is a 66-bed Christian hospital that needs volunteer nurses to serve until all the Togolese nurses are trained. Hannah will be working in the adult and pediatric wards and the intensive care units. Since opening in 2015, the hospital has treated and shared the gospel with 11,500 patients.

Jake, a native of Gaffney, S.C., and Hannah, originally from Rolesville, N.C., chose to attend Gardner-Webb, because the University’s Christian values aligned with their own. They were introduced by mutual friends and were drawn to each other’s desire to serve others and honor God. They were married a semester before Jake graduated in 2013.

While pursuing his master’s degree, Jake joined the National Guard. “The educational incentives assisted with payment of student loans, and I also had a strong desire to serve my country and give back,” he asserted. “I believe that was instilled in me by attending Gardner-Webb and seeing the many ways the school gives back to the community. Being in the National Guard allowed me the opportunity to serve, gain valuable experience, and continue my education.”

On the days when Jake and Hannah feel discouraged or lonely because of their 5,000-mile separation, the couple relies on their faith. Jake declared. “There may be prolonged times that my wife and I may not talk to each other, but I believe that we have peace within and can trust the Lord to direct our paths as we are temporarily separated in different parts of the world.”

Learn more about ways Gardner-Webb assists members of the military