Greg and Audrey Shank are medical missionaries working at the Adventist hospital in Koza, Cameroon, which is in West Africa. They live there with their daughter Sarah. Both "Dr. Greg" and "Dr. Audrey" had a deep desire to be missionaries. Eventually, after medical school at Loma Linda University, their dream was realized when God led themto West Africa. They do their best to care for their patients' physical needs, and whenver possible, they tell their patients about the God who loves them.
ne day Dr. Greg was called to see a deeply troubled patient who had tried to kill herself. She had swallowed some poison that had been used as an insecticide in the cotton fields. By the time she was taken to the hospital, she was in and out of consciousness. She was a very sick woman when she arrived.
Dr. Greg and his medical team put a tube into her stomach to remove as much of the poison as they could. They also gave her some medicine, but there wasn’t a lot more they could do for her. They watched her closely throughout the night, doing their best to take care of her. By morning she was still alive, and soon she was asking to have the tube removed so she could go home.
Dr. Greg always tries to spend time with his patients before they go home. He told the girl he would remove the tube after he finished checking on his other patients if she would come to his office.
After his rounds he found her waiting outside his office. First he wanted to know about her religious beliefs. The translator told him that she was an animist. Dr. Greg decided to tell her about his beliefs.
Carefully and quietly he began to speak to her. “I believe in a God who cares about each one of us. He calls each one of us His child. And I believe my God was very sad last night when this happened to you, and also when you drank the poison. I believe my God cried.” Dr. Greg went on to tell her that his God wants each of us to be with Him someday in heaven, and that God loved her whether she believed in Him or not.
The woman sat and thought about Dr. Greg’s God. A couple tears dripped down her face. Then she said, “If there is a God who loves me, then I want to become a Christian.”
What a wonderful moment! Dr. Greg led her in a simple prayer to accept God into her life. She quietly prayed, “God, I don’t know anything about You except that You love me. Please come into my life and help me to follow You.”
Sometimes the only Christians people meet are those they find in an Adventist clinic or hospital. It could be a conversation with the receptionist, the housekeeper, the nurse, the doctor, or any other person whom a patient comes in contact with. Any hospital can take care of a patient’s medical needs, but the staff at an Adventist hospital also do their best to care for a patient’s spiritual needs.
Here’s something to think about. The offerings you give at Sabbath school and church help to make medical mission work possible. Without even realizing it, you have helped patients accept Jesus into their lives! Thank you for doing your part in this important work.
Please pray for medical missionaries and the people they minister to every day.