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Medicine For the Soul

Natasha, nicely dressed, sat in the waiting room at a medical clinic in Lavantille, Trinidad. As I sat talking to her, she told me her story of divorce nine years before in which her “fake” Christian husband gained custody of their three boys. But because her work is right in front of the boys’ house, she sees them daily.

I had come on this medical missions trip hoping for just such an opportunity. There is always a need for non-medical people like myself on these trips—people who are willing to help by simply listening, and by sharing the truths of the gospel.

Natasha went on to explain that she had just come out of a relationship and that her life was still quite messy. She said she had been a Christian, but had “backslid.” I asked if she had a Bible. She did not, but said she was planning to ask her mom for one for Christmas.

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Opening my own Bible, I began to explain how important it is to read it and talk with God like a Father, suggesting that she begin each day with the Psalms, and then read a Proverb. I also suggested she read in the New Testament—especially the Gospels—so she could know Jesus and how He wants her to live.

Knowing that what we get for free we do not always value, I suggested that she could save a few dollars each week from her paycheck and in three months she would have enough money to buy her own Bible. We prayed and I encouraged her to get back into the church even without the fancy shoes and dress (her excuse). And so we parted ways.

A “Chance” Encounter
Several months later, on a return trip to Trinidad at a different clinic, I glanced over and recognized this young lady who was looking right at me. She said, “Hi Marty, I did exactly as you told me to do!” Then she reached in her purse and came out with a study Bible! “Yes, I bought it and have been reading it. Now look at the front, I have marked my readings.” I saw a carefully marked chart showing how consistently she had been reading. And of course, like a good grandmother I ooohed and aaahed.

We chatted a little longer. She said that her husband was planning to take the boys to church. I asked if she was back in church. She replied “No, not yet.” So I pray for her—with great hope.

At MTW medical clinics, we see people whose physical needs often bring them into an encounter with the gospel. We are there to address the needs of the whole person, medical and spiritual, including the need to find supportive community in a local church. And this is why I love it. With each clinic, there is the opportunity to meet another Natasha.


Marty Baas is a retired MTW missionary who now serves as a medical missions volunteer.  This story was originally published in June 2013. 

Marty Baas, Trinidad Mercy Aug 16, 2018
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