What a year it has been!
When Arpita and I sat watching a bonfire after the watch night service in Herbertpur, even then, in the first few minutes of 2008, we knew the year ahead was going to be a very important one for us as a family. We just did not have a clue as to what was exactly in store for us.
A couple of weeks earlier, we had registered to adopt a child from Bangalore. We had been told it generally took about 2 years before a child could finally be placed with adoptive parents, and we figured 2008 would be a year of preparation for us.
Up until this point, I had been working as the only surgeon in Herbertpur Christian Hospital, a 100 bedded mission hospital 40 km outside Dehradun in Uttarakhand. The previous year had started with me talking about a lifetime in mission hospitals and working among the poorest, and even contemplating giving up surgery, in order to do Public Health. By the end of 2007, I had begun asking uncomfortable questions: What, really, is missions? What is the Church? What, really, is Transformation? Who are, really, the poorest? What is God’s purpose for a mission hospital? What is God’s purpose for our own lives? What is the relationship between a mission hospital and the local church? Has the entire model of Medical Missions we see in India been a historic mistake?
There, in front of the bonfire, Arpita and I prayed that God would lead us into all that He had planned for us in 2008.
This is what happened:
Two weeks later we heard there was a possibility that a baby would become available for us to adopt. Three weeks later, after many months of discussion about joining the staff at Herbertpur, another surgeon joined the hospital. The next day, we heard we could go to Bangalore and finally meet our son, Anand. Since, there was now another surgeon, the hospital was gracious in allowing us to stay in Bangalore for almost two months, while we went through the legal process of adoption.
We welcomed Anand into our family on Feb 7th, 2008. He has been such a blessing to us. He is such a cheerful child, and has indeed been a source of so much anand in our lives.
We went through a process of writing our family mission statement. There were a number of resources that became available to us at this time, and helped us clarify our thoughts and desires, and find God’s purposes for our lives. Among these were a number of sermons and writings of John Piper, a series of Bible studies on the Parables of Jesus that we did together with the English Bible study group at Herbertpur, “7 Habits of Highly Effective People” by Stephen Covey, meetings I was able to attend in Bangalore where we discussed the ‘Theology of Missions’, and ‘Missions and Enterprise’, and meetings with a number of families who had served in Mission Hospitals across India who came together in Chennai to discuss reasons for burnout in Missions and ways staff in Mission Hospitals could be nurtured and accompanied.
The result has been that we have landed up where we least expected a year ago. We are now back at Vellore, where I have joined the Department of Paediatric Surgery. This May, I will be applying for admission to a three-year programme for further training in Paediatric Surgery. Arpita finds herself working full-time as mother and wife and is thoroughly enjoying the long hours with plenty of overtime!
We do not see ourselves staying here for long, and are waiting to see what God has in store for us. We find that God continues to provide us with resources for growth and direction. We have been blessed to find fellowship and companionship here at Vellore, and we long to find and complete His purposes for this period that we are here.
One area that I feel called to get involved in is the nurture of missionaries in various situations across India. We have been blessed by reading about the Missionary Nurture Program and Barnabbas support teams at Bethlehem Baptist Church where John Piper is pastoring, (http://www.hopeingod.org/OurNurture.aspx) and would like to see the Church in India get involved in missions (which have traditionally been the responsibility of various para-church organizations), so that those who are not sent themselves by the Lord of the harvest may be effective ‘senders’, supporting, encouraging and accompanying their representatives in difficult areas. In addition, we would like to be involved again with the medical and other students, and junior doctors in any way possible. We have also been renewing friendships with old classmates and colleagues, and are hoping to go out with a few classmates and their families in March for a quiet retreat and a Marriage Enrichment seminar.
Please do continue to pray for us. Pray that we may be sensitive to God’s leading, and hear His voice. Pray that we may be good stewards of all He has given us, and especially of this precious gift, Anand, who He has entrusted to us. Pray that we may be good examples, and may find wisdom and grace to bring him up in the ways of the Lord. Pray that we may be a blessing to all who come our way, and that all who come to our home may be refreshed. Pray that we may live transformed and not conformed to the worldly systems around us. And please continue to encourage and bless us with your fellowship and love in the year ahead.
Pradeep, Arpita and Anand
You can view some of our photos at http://picasaweb.google.com/arpitasuz?feat=email