Taelor Deike: Living Out Faith with Purpose

It was 2015 in Hyderabad, India. Before ever stepping foot into a nursing school, eighteen-year-old Taelor Deike was picked from among her group of missionary interns to take a trip to a government hospital.

That day, Deike would fulfill a lifelong medical dream of hers – delivering a baby all on her own. 

“I was not trained,” Deike clarified, “so I was there, holding the mother’s hand, telling her she could do it. Then all of the sudden this baby comes out. From one minute to the next, I saw a life come out right in front of me. I started bawling.”

Most interns grew faint at the sight of their first birth or were so shaken up that they had to be checked on for several days by the missionaries and midwives. On the contrary, Deike was found by the birth attendants cradling the newborn in her arms and weeping tears of joy.

“It was the most beautiful thing in the world,” Deike said, “even though the mother had been screaming and there was blood everywhere. I was standing there with tears streaming down my face. Then they let me cut the cord.”

When the delivery was over, the director of the birth attendant school approached Deike with a question – would she consider moving to Hyderabad and joining their school of midwifery, start her dream of becoming a medical missionary, and skip the tedious process of getting into nursing school?

“I prayed about it,” Deike said. “And God told me no.”

At the end of her internship abroad, Deike returned home to Texas. She started from scratch in Bryan-College Station to apply to nursing school. However, leaving the rough conditions of the missionary field to enter the “normal life” of a university student was not a relief the way some would think. 

“That first year of college was the worst year of my life,” Deike recalled. “I was frustrated that I had to sit in a classroom and learn about cells in a body and study for exams when I could be out helping people.

“I had panic attacks almost every time I went to class,” she admitted. “I fought off fear every morning, and it was debilitating. I was terrified. But I knew God had something.”

Deike began to doubt there was a reason she had to return to school. Once she had gotten a taste of missionary life, the battle turned internal as she wrestled the belief that stepping back from the frontlines was a waste of her calling to serve. 

“I struggled with finding purpose,” Deike said. “I didn’t want to be somewhere where I couldn’t do missions. But God was telling me, ‘I need you here. These are my training grounds.’”

A year later, Deike was accepted into the nursing program at Blinn College, a feeder school to Texas A&M University. At the beginning of her first semester, Deike prayed that God would reveal her purpose.

“He told me, ‘I’m going to give you what you need.’ I saw that come to life, but with the exhortation that I had to work hard,” Deike said. “There was purpose in that which God had spoken.”

Trusting in a new plan, Deike drew her focus on the college ministry around Blinn College and Texas A&M. Her mission field moved from widows and orphans overseas to college students and young professionals in her own home state.

“I was in the library one day when I saw this janitor there. God told me to go pray for her, so I did,” Deike said. “A week later, I found this woman again and she came up to me saying she had had a revelation.”

Deike was invited to the woman’s home where she met her mother and gave them bibles. Later, the woman, Jennifer and her entire family decided to give their lives to Christ. 

“I got to witness revival in her family,” Deike reflected. “And I could’ve missed it if I wasn’t at Blinn.”

What felt like being on hold for the next few years turned into a wake-up call for Deike.

“One day I was sitting in my backyard and God convicted me of not praying for the girls I went to school with,” Deike said. “He told me, ‘What are you doing being selfish with your time? The people next to you will perish if you don’t love on them now.’”

Deike immediately refocused her mission to serving those around her. She discovered new purpose in reaching out to her classmates.

“I started with having a heart for other people,” Deike said. “My heart broke for the girls in my classes who were pursuing careers for worldly gratification, as if becoming a nurse would be the only thing that would ever satisfy them. ”

Deike was eventually invited by her local church to lead a house church for college students. She began serving as a discipler and meeting one on one with individuals every week, spurring them on in their spiritual life and teaching them how to apply the gospel to their lives.

“There are times when God challenges me to spend time with people,” Deike said. “Sometimes I want to go sit in a corner and just focus on myself, but instead, I see it as a time to pour into the people around me.”

While Deike walks with new vision of her purpose, she says at times she still struggles to keep going and ward off the fear that once demotivated her.

“When you battle fear, it’s because God is preparing something for you,” Deike said. “This was Him preparing me for something, and I had to be obedient in the small things for the bigger things that would come later.”

Whether overseas or in her own home state, Deike believes God has placed a calling on her, and with every new opportunity he presents, she says yes.

“You’re gonna miss God if you only want to love him in the middle of Africa,” Deike said. “He is still going to honor you if you go serve somewhere else, but you would miss a lot of your life if you waited till you were overseas to serve him.”

With just a year left to finish her nursing program, Deike remains focused on the present and learning to trust that God will help her flourish.

“I have a heart for the impoverished, the destitute, and that’s why I want to do nursing,” Deike explained, “but now God is giving me a heart for those who have it all. Then it doesn’t matter where I am or what I am doing. I get to share the gospel no matter where I am.”