Beyond What Is Reasonable

Reed Hoppe

Reed Hoppe

By Reed Haigler Hoppe –

In a time during which the news out of India consists of gang rapes, building collapses, abandoned babies, and increased religious persecution, a Mission Society missionary reports on the ways God is at work — transforming lives, rescuing orphans, and teaching her just how big He is.

Although The Mission Society has had a presence in India since 1995, the organization very intentionally started building a team to minister in the least-reached areas of northern India in 2011.

One of the first missionaries who felt called to serve in northern India was Judy.* She had served in Central Asia for 14 years. She was forced to return to the United States when she was diagnosed with stage IV ovarian cancer and given very little hope of survival. But God did a miracle; Judy was completely healed of cancer. When she was cleared to return to the field, she sensed God was now calling her to India.

“I thought all of my years in Central Asia had been good preparation for what I would experience, but they were nothing compared to what I have come up against in this part of India. The spiritual climate here is so, so dark,” she said. And yet, she will tell you, something is going on in her community that is more powerful than the darkness.

A registered nurse, Judy works in a hospital that provides medical care for 11 million people. The doctors and nurses work six days a week, are almost always on call, and are 60 nurses short in a 220-bed hospital. The OB ward there delivers between 6,000 and 7,000 babies each year — without a trained obstetrician.

Sharon is a community-health doctor who is a strong Christian woman. Because the hospital did not have an obstetrician, she was assigned to that department. She was terrified because she knew that women and babies were going to die under her care.

“The obstetric ward averages one ruptured uterus a week. We have mothers in full-blown preeclampsia coming in to the hospital. These are very complex cases, and Sharon knew that she was not up to the task,” explained Judy. “Sharon was completely overwhelmed. She told me she stood there in the middle of that chaotic place and said, ‘Okay, God. You know I am not capable of doing this. You are the Great Physician. So You are in charge here. I’ll be Your assistant. Just tell me what to do.’

“The first day she worked in the OB ward, two babies and two mothers, who anyone would have written off as unsalvageable, lived. In the middle of such darkness and chaos, we see God at work day after day. The hospital staff prays with patients, cares for them, and God is equipping us to heal his people.”

Baby Ruby: Sharon and her husband have been unable to have a child. While serving at this hospital, an abandoned infant girl was found in the courtyard. She was slowly starving to death and very ill.

Mothers sometimes abandon their infants or throw them away immediately after birth. Often, women (wealthy and poor alike) are encouraged to abandon their female newborns. Many mothers are actually punished for having given birth to a girl and not given any food themselves for days.

The nurses named the baby Ruby, and she lived in the hospital with the other abandoned children. Sharon and her husband decided to adopt Ruby. “This is why I had to come to this hospital,” Sharon said. “Ruby was waiting for me!”  For Sharon and her husband, Ruby became — in the midst of such darkness — a bright sign of God’s goodness.

The Light: “I could just tell you story after story of the amazing way that the Holy Spirit is moving here,” Judy says. “I think, as Christians, we rarely get to that point where we realize: God wants us to see beyond what we think is reasonable, what we think is possible, and He wants us to get to that point where we say, ‘My Lord, You are truly an amazing God. You can do anything You want.’”

Reed Haigler Hoppe is The Mission Society’s associate director for communications and is an ordained deacon in the Alabama-West Florida Conference of the UM Church.

*Pseudonym used for security purposes.

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