We are sometimes asked as to the extent to which our physicians take advantage of the opportunities offered in their medical work to witness for their faith. This is, of course, a matter which varies from one person to another. Some are more involved with the spiritual and evangelistic aspects of their work than are others. It is my observation, generally speaking, that a medical worker—nurse, physician, dentist, or other—who is willing to give up the advantages of a comfortable home environment for service overseas is a person with considerable conviction as to the purposes for which he is going.
I am sure that Dr. Sherman Nagel will pardon our lifting a few paragraphs from his most recent letter to his parents, giving a running account of his last weekend. After mentioning that he had had a very strenuous week previous to this, he comes up to the one weekend in the month he is supposed to have free of responsibility. We quote from his letter: "My relief came late Friday night instead of noon on Friday. I still managed to get in my Friday night meeting, and I believe it was a blessing. Early Sabbath morning I made rounds with my relief doctor and about eight-thirty we got away from the hospital here. Dr. De Shay had invited me to come over to lecture to his interested people in the evening of Saturday night. However, when I arrived he had other plans for me also. I was asked to take the preaching service. In the afternoon I was asked to give the sermon for the ordinances. Then when seven-thirty came, in the town of Ahoada, I spoke to more than 1,500 people on the basic principles of health—especially emphasizing the questions of tobacco.
"Having spoken Friday night, three times on Sabbath, I felt really tired, for the week had been filled with one emergency after another. One day last week beside the routine clinic, I had five obstetrical emergencies. I had a mother with triplets, at death's door, to try to pull through. Another sad case: a woman was brought into the hospital, a baby already born was lying between her legs, but the mother was dead. She had died on the way to the hospital. The baby had lived, having been born two hours before. These dear folks just wait too long.... Then on the same day I did two sections. It was a busy day, like so many others.
Not Working for Man
"Sunday I spoke to Pastor Gustayson's people in the town hall in Port Harcourt. It was a fine-looking audience. I do pray that many of these dear people will find the truth through this channel.
"So, the days come and go. Edith is working so very hard too. Today she is in Aba, buying for the hospital. Were it not for her, I definitely could not keep going as I do. My satisfaction in this strenuous work is that I am not merely working for man.
"I must close now and go to the surgery to do routine surgery. It is six o'clock in the evening. I would like to stay home with the family. But, this is my lot for the present time anyway, and I thank the Lord for grace to carry on."
The large Adventist church membership that has grown up around our hospitals in Nigeria comes about as no mere accident. The men and women operating these medical institutions in Nigeria, as well as in other parts of the world, are hard-working men and women professionally, and many of them take advantage of every opportunity personally and publicly to witness for their faith.