1. Names and locations have been changed for security reasons.
2. Lucas is in his last year of medical school. He has chosen to spend eight months doing health education with local families and is also volunteering in a small hospital in the Middle East. This is a story about one of the families he is mingling with, told in his own words:
Abdul and his family are non-Christians from a neighboring country. They fled from their home after war broke out, hoping to escape from all the terror and suffering. The first thing I heard about Abdul was that he was in a very bad situation due to a serious lung disease. He had also suffered a stroke earlier in the year and I was told that any moment could be his last.
What could I possibly do to help a man in that situation? Was I prepared to give any advice for a problem this difficult?
In my mind I began to form a picture of a very old and sick man lying on his bed, unable to move or speak. My immediate thoughts were What could I possibly do to help a man in that situation? Was I prepared to give any advice for a problem this difficult? Are the resources that I have enough to help him? I decided not to worry and to leave the situation in God’s hands.
When I arrived at Abdul’s house, the scene was nearly identical to what I had envisioned. I saw a man lying on a bed, who, due to his stroke could barely move or speak. But what surprised me was that rather than being the elderly man I had pictured, he was a young man in his forties.
For a moment I froze, but with God’s help I was able to begin a health interview and get acquainted with his situation. As I expected, there was not much I could do for him during a home visit. I gave him some instructions of how to deal with his pain and showed him a few exercises to help him recover quicker from the stroke. I left Abdul’s house with the feeling that my visitation was worthless, and I desperately asked God for his healing and for wisdom on how to help him more.
The following week I visited Abdul again and was shocked by an unexpected surprise. He greeted me at the door with a great big smile as if nothing in the world had ever been wrong. I could not believe that his condition had improved so rapidly even though I had prayed for just that.
Abdul’s family has always been very open about sharing the gospel with their relatives. Here they had another opportunity to tell them that this was not the first or only miracle that they had experienced since meeting Seventh-day Adventists in this country. Abdul’s father-in-law is not a Christian but he has been witnessing the miracles that have been happening over the past year and his heart is slowly becoming soft towards the gospel message. His sisters and their families have also witnessed the improvement in his health and everyone is amazed at how happy they are despite all their problems.
The extended family has seen the loving care and help that the Adventists have provided for Abdul’s family. Since Abdul’s health problems began, he has been unable to keep steady employment. There came a time when, due to severe financial problems, Abdul’s children were forced to drop out of school. However, they met an Adventist who offered them a place to continue their education. In addition, Abdul’s wife learned from the Adventists how to make natural peanut butter, tofu, and soymilk, which she now sells to earn a living.
Personally, I wanted to teach the family more about our health message as well as get Abdul the necessary medical treatment with the hospital that I am associated with. Due to lack of finances, Abdul had not had any medical follow-up in over a year and I decided to use whatever personal means I had to take care of him.
They were forced to flee their home country to live in poverty
The family believes that God has allowed all their suffering for a reason. They were forced to flee their home country to live in poverty in another and had they not experienced so much hardship, how would they have come to know Jesus? I believe that God has opened up the doors, allowing me to be here with this family for a reason.
When the disciples asked Jesus when He was coming back, Jesus replied when the gospel had been preached to every nation, tribe, and tongue. We ask ourselves how that could ever be possible, but now I see how this terrible war and suffering has allowed people to hear the gospel who will then take it back to their own countries. I believe that God sent me here to share His love and mercy.