Usually, when people talk about travel, they are typically referring to either a need (work) or a desire (play). But for Kentucky native and traveling mom Vickie Cox, it’s neither. And both. It’s a calling.

For the past six years, Cox has traveled to volunteer (See To Rwanda with Love) in countries ravaged by poverty where she works as a medical missionary. 

“The bulk of my service has occurred in Haiti,” says Cox. “I’ve traveled to various other nations all over the world, but Haiti is where I feel I need to be.”

In fact, Cox moved to Haiti permanently in June 2008. It was, she says, a call from God.

“For years, I worked as a pediatric nurse,” says Cox.  “I was intrigued by mission work, but always thought I’d be limited to brief trips – a couple weeks here, a couple weeks there. I had a husband and a son and a regular career, after all.”

Then, about seven years ago, her life began to change.

“I got divorced,” says Cox, “and my son was grown and in college. But that wasn’t the main motivation for changing my life. I believe that God changed my path for me.”

Soon after her divorce, Cox made the decision to seek early retirement so that she could begin a second career as a medical missionary.  This led her to Haiti, a country she had visited on previous mission trips and one where she felt very much at home.

“It all happened very fast,” says Cox. “Much faster then I would’ve imagined possible. It was as though God was opening doors for me and all I had to do was follow his lead.”

Her Son’s Support

Cox uses her nursing skills to help those for whom medical care is an extreme luxury. Her son Cody, 21, graduated college in May 2009. He lives in Lexington, Kentucky, but is very supportive of his mother’s ministry.

“It’s hard being apart from Cody, but he knows how important this work is to both me and the people I help,” says Cox.

Despite the bland food, spotty electricity, and complete lack of hot water, as well as the emotional toll that accompanies poverty, Cox insists that she is where she wants to be.

“I’m doing God’s work while living my dream,” says Cox. “How many people can ever really say that?”

TravelingMom.com caught up with Vickie last winter during her two month furlough in Florida. She described her work, the journey that brought her to Haiti, and the challenges of being a single mom who spends much of her time away from her only son.

TMOM: What sort of work do you do as a medical missionary in Haiti?

VICKIE COX: I work on a very busy medical compound.  There’s a clinic, a dental office, and a birthing center where we deliver an average of 100 babies per month. I also minister to two local orphanages, one of which is for children ranging in age from infancy to 3 years old.