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To the Ends of the Earth and Two Miles Beyond

By Andrew Shaughnessy, Nov 17, 2016

Dr. Doreen Mar is a self-proclaimed germophobe, one of those people who likes everything neat and clean all the time. Yet over the last 15 years she has traveled all over the globe with MTW, offering medical care and the hope of the gospel to some of the remotest parts of the world.

“The people with whom I work could not believe that I would go to a third world country, nor did I believe it,” said Doreen, an emergency medical physician from McLean, Virginia. “But God has called me into His service in extreme places that I never in my wildest dreams thought I would go.”

One of her annual destinations is a South Asian country that we’ll leave unnamed for the sake of security. It’s one of those places that’s been ruled by oppressive dictators for much of its history, and where the Christian minority is often treated poorly.

“The Christians there did not have access to good medical care,” said Dr. Wiley Smith, a family medicine physician from Dalton, Georgia, who has led short-term medical trips with Doreen for a number of years now. “It was sort of a two-class society. …  So in 2001 the founder of the Presbyterian denomination there asked if MTW would send some medical missionaries over to do clinics and help out the local Christians.”

Where medicine meets the gospel
That was when Doreen got involved, and began to take annual trips to South Asia with doctors and nurses. They would smuggle medications into the country in their suitcases, and go to small churches in rural areas to set up clinics, providing a basic level of healthcare that was otherwise unavailable. In more recent years, the Reformed Christian network has grown and planted churches, enabling medical teams to extend their reach to some of the many unreached people groups within the region.

“We’ve been able to go to church plants in predominantly Buddhist areas where we set up a clinic for two or three days, and a lot of people who come are non-Christians,” Wiley said. “That gives them an introduction to the church, and the local pastor can talk to them about Christianity, so it’s an evangelistic tool.”

Earlier this year Doreen and Wiley led a team of seven to this South Asian nation. Recent changes in the political climate allowed them to travel to previously restricted areas, so the hope is that they, together with the local church, will be able to push the gospel and medical care deeper into the country.

“Every year we try to go out a little farther,” said Doreen. “Our medical director’s phrase was: ‘God tells us to minister to the ends of the earth. We’ve gone out to the ends of the earth and then two miles beyond.’”

Andrew Shaughnessy

Andrew Shaughnessy is a long-time word slinger who spent nearly six years as MTW’s staff writer, gathering and telling impact stories from missionaries across the globe. These days, he’s off working as an analyst and editor in the publishing industry, writing fiction, and mountaineering. He holds a B.A. in history and English literature from Covenant College, and an M.S. in political science from Portland State University.

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