For many years the medical work went slowly in old Mexico. It was not that no need existed, but it seemed that in the many calls for evangelistic work, in a field that was rapidly developing, the medical work was not given its proper place. The sanitarium which was begun in the city of Guadalajara in the early part of 1896 had to be closed and sold out. This was a heavy blow, for the medical work had begun to make a way for itself and was winning many friends.
With no doctors and no medical unit in this field, our work was carried on by only a few workers who had some medical training, and who appreciated this line of work as an entering wedge for the gospel truths. Finally, when Dr. L. S. Ritchie moved to Mexico, and received a license to practice in the country, our hearts were made glad with the thought that the time had come for this "right hand" of the message to move to the front and take its appointed place.
However, even before this event, we had built the Tacubaya Clinic and had done considerable medical missionary work for the sick and needy of that district. Mrs. Moon directed this endeavor for several years, and was followed by Brother and Sister Baez, who are still carrying on.
While Doctor Ritchie was in Mexico an extensive training work was carried on. At that time all the native workers were brought into Mexico City and given a six weeks' course in medical missionary work. These studies greatly increased the interest in the medical work, and the many trips into the wildest regions of Mexico which were made by the doctor, assisted by other workers, greatly added to this interest. Trips were made among the Totonacs, the Chicamecas, and the cliff dwellers of the great Sierra Madre Mountains (Tarahumare tribe). On these trips hundreds of people were treated, and many necessary operations were performed under the most primitive surroundings.
Within the last two years Dr. Raymundo Graza, a professor in the National School of Medicine at Monterrey, has joined our ranks. He has done a very remarkable work in the Monterrey Clinic, where he has faithfully carried on medical missionary work with the help of a group of some twenty nurses whom he has in training. The doctor has about eighty patients each clinic day. and has had to turn patients away at times, because there were so many.
Since the counsels of the Spirit of prophecy call for a still more extensive medical work, we are working to establish clinics in each local church, and to conduct home nursing classes wherever possible. We now have clinics built or under construction at Monterrey, Saltillo, Torreon, Durango, Rio Grande, Cuantla, Puebla, Vera Cruz, and many other places, with some thirty to fifty classes in home nursing started in various places in the republic.
A very interesting school for the home care of the sick is carried on in connection with our clinic and school in Tacubaya under the leadership of Brother A. G. Parfitt, with Alfonso Baez, a graduate nurse, as medical instructor. It is planned this year to hold a medical missionary institute in Monterrey, calling in some of the most prominent laymen from all parts of the field. This will consist of a special three months' course, which will give the workers the advantage of practice in the clinic, in addition to the regular studies and practical instruction in giving simple water treatments. Several doctors and dentists will be called in to give special instruction. This institute will no doubt mark another epoch in the history of medical missionary work in old Mexico.
There is no doubt that the Lord is leading out in this work, as the time of trouble approaches. The Spirit of prophecy, in outlining our work, has said, "Every believer in this cause should have a part in this work." And again, "Every church should carry on this work in an active manner."
Surely the work will not be hindered at this time. We pray that there may be built up in old Mexico a place where young men and young women can receive a training in a medical institution of our own, under God-fearing doctors and nurses. Everything seems to be ripe for just such a work. We believe that the Lord will somehow open the way, and send us the means whereby we can build up this work and take our place in the great ranks of medical workers in this last movement to enlighten the world, and prepare men —body, soul, and spirit—to meet God.