Following the Call of a Faithful God
20 Mar 2019
My life didn’t turn out the way I thought when I was in medical college. I always thought I would work somewhere in a little remote village in north India. That was my idea of the path of my life. But God had other plans which were far greater. Through my life’s adventures, I have learnt that God’s plans are far better than ours.
I was born in Tamil Nadu, India into a loving Christian family. When I was seven years old, I went with my parents to Papua New Guinea (PNG) where they were to be missionaries. They taught at the High School and I was sent off to the International School in Tari, where I stayed at the Hostel. I was about eleven years old when I invited Jesus to be the Lord of my life. Realising all that Jesus had done for me filled me with a desire to serve him the rest of my life and I felt the only logical way to show my love for him was to be a missionary. At some point over the next two years, I remember hearing a prayer point – Dr Kath Donovan, the doctor of at the Balimo hospital in PNG had fallen ill and needed to go back to Australia to recover. The management of the hospital was left to the nurses there. I think that was probably when the first seed of serving God through healthcare was planted in my mind.
Our family returned to India when I was about to start high school. By the time I was in tenth grade, I was clear in my mind that I wanted to become a missionary doctor. My parents encouraged and prayed for me even though I am sure they wondered how they would pay for me to go to medical college, but God was in it all. Amazingly, I got into the highly esteemed Christian Medical College, Vellore, India to study medicine.
I graduated in 1993 and was posted to an Indian Hospital in Kolar. There, I learned many things from the senior doctors with whom I worked. Towards the end of my second year there, I applied to do a specialisation in Obstetrics and Gynaecology, but I didn’t get selected. So, I prayed and sought God for the next step. I returned to Kolar for another year where I was able to get much more surgical experience. I also started taking Bible Studies for some of the female students at one of the medical colleges nearby. God was stretching my wings both medically and spiritually, but I continued to seek His direction for my life.
One weekend when my parents came to visit me, they mentioned, “How about going back to PNG?” I had thought it was a closed chapter of my life, but I remembered my promise to God to consider it. My Dad sent a copy of my medical certificate to the APCM (Asia Pacific Christian Mission), now Pioneers Australia, and they forwarded it to PNG. Very quickly, a fax came back with an offer for me to come and serve.
But I still had questions, as I saw the tremendous needs in India. One Sunday, I listened to a taped message. The preacher spoke of Paul and his call to Macedonia. At the end of the message, I knelt on my living room floor and prayed, “Lord, it was all very well for Paul – he had a vision of a man from Macedonia. But You are the same God and You can make it as clear to me today as you did to Paul, what you want me to do.” After that expression of trust, I had peace – still no clarity, but His peace.
Not long after, I was reading a missionary newsletter that had arrived. It was from Keith and Norma Briggs who were working in Balimo in PNG. Their letter talked of how the hospital there was functioning without a doctor and asked for prayer for the nurses. At the bottom, there was a hand-written note that changed the course of my life – “PS. Is Addy still interested in PNG? We really need her here!” The moment I read it, I knew what I had to do.
I resigned my job in Kolar and applied to Indian Evangelical Mission who seconded me to Pioneers of Australia. Within six months, I arrived in Port Moresby on the 30th May 1997 to begin the adventure of my life. As the wheels of the aircraft touched down at Jackson’s International Airport, the words of Psalm 138:8 came to my mind, “The Lord will fulfil His purpose for me” and I knew I was there according to His purposes and it was the Lord who would complete what he had in mind for bringing me back to PNG.
I did not dream I would be serving in PNG for the next seventeen years.
If you too are willing to follow God and His best plan for your life, if you are looking for God’s directions, He will not let you miss His signposts.
– Adeline, a Pioneers worker.
Are you considering becoming involved in cross-cultural ministry? We’d love to have a conversation with you. Get in touch.