Having just returned from Bangladesh, Barbara Boyd, MD, Internal Medicine and Pediatric Health at Lakeland Health in Michigan, shares her experience of how God called her from a place of comfort to helping serve those who are suffering in different parts of the world for one month per year.
Last fall, if you had asked me, I would have said I did not feel that I needed to go on any more short term missions—I was content doing my thing as a doctor of internal medicine and pediatrics at Lakeland Health in Benton Harbor, Michigan.
But I was invited one night by a co-worker to meet Nathan and Dorothy Piovesan who work at Memorial Christian Hospital (MCH) in Bangladesh. Nate is one of the three surgeons at MCH, and when I heard him talk about the needs at the hospital, I realized God was nudging me to go there.
So I obeyed God’s prompting and served on a short-term missions trip in early 2018 to MCH in Bangladesh. It is an approximately 60-bed, acute care hospital in an area with very limited resources. To add to its troubles, this area is now absorbing Rohingya refugees.
What was I able to give to the people there? Only God knows the eternal significance. But from what I can see, I was able to use my pediatric knowledge to counsel several families of children with cerebral palsy; treat parasites, dehydration, measles, Erb’s palsy, and other diseases.
We saw a genuine miracle where a young lady with complex congenital heart disease and HELLP syndrome delivered, by Caesarean section (C-section), a two pound, 34-week-old infant. Both survived and were able to go home! Many times I wept for babies who were not granted miraculous healings. One of which struck me particularly hard. A mother had been in obstructed labor for at least 15 hours at home before coming to the hospital delivered by C-section. She survived, but the baby never took a breath, despite resuscitation.
After that death, I went back to my room, wanting to pray and cry to the Lord. Instead He led me to Psalm 33. “Sing joyfully to the Lord, you righteous; it is fitting for the upright to praise him” (Psalm 33: 1, NIV).
How could I sing for joy in this? I read the rest of the psalm.
God knows these people’s pain more than I do. But Psalm 33 shows that God is still in control.
“We wait in hope for the Lord; he is our help and our shield. In him our hearts rejoice, for we trust in his holy name” (Psalm 33:20-21, NIV).
I need to cry for the lost and suffering in Bangladesh and in Michigan, but I need to remember that Jesus’ love is greater than all of that. Despite all of the suffering we saw, we were blessed to witness the miracle of rebirth for some of these people living in a country where following Jesus could be life-threatening.
Although, I will never know this side of eternity what benefit I brought to the people at MCH, I come away with a much better understanding of how fortunate we are in the U.S., and even more so, a renewed focus on how precious life is, both now and for eternity.
Southwestern Medical Clinic Foundation is providing limited scholarships to those in the medical industry who feel called to serve on short-term medical missions across the globe. If you or someone you know is interested in short-term mission work, visit www.swmcf.org to learn more about the scholarship program, read other impactful stories, and mission trip applications.