He poured water into a basin and began to wash the disciples’ feet and to wipe them with the towel that was tied around him~John 13:5


I admit, I was overdoing the foot washing on this woman, but it was because a thought had suddenly hit me. No, this was not a Thirteenth Sabbath ordinance of humility foot washing ceremony. In the beginning I would have been much happier if that had been the case.

When I first looked out the clinic’s window that morning I saw a lone African woman stirring on the grounds in obvious distress. I had the feeling that she was going to ruin my day.

Our family lived among villages with thatched roofed huts in the mountains of Lesotho. We provided a clinic for the locals, and, on Tuesdays, my husband, Rick (Richard) Lukens, LLUSM class of 1973-A, traveled down a dirt road to run remote clinics for Maluti Adventist Hospital. We also had a strong public health focus and considerable energy went into protecting the nearby springs so the people around us would have clean water.

A cursory exam showed that this woman was in active labor and there was no time to take her over that makeshift road to the hospital. Needless to say, we were not set up to do baby deliveries and now here she was on our doorstep. I was so frustrated because, it was almost Christmas, and I had plans. Now this interruption was going to mess things up.

It had been raining making all the paths muddy. And this pregnant woman had no shoes on. I figured she could have at least borrowed some shoes if she did not own any. Somehow, it just did not seem right for her to come here with such dirty feet to have a baby.

We placed her on the examining table. While Rick hurriedly looked around for gloves and suture, I began working on her feet. It was then the thought hit me. Mary probably had dirty feet when she delivered Jesus in the stable. The baby was coming and Rick wondered why I was spending so much time on her feet. I had finally realized whose feet I was washing-and I wanted to do a really good job.

-Lorna J. Turner, LLUSM class of 1972, resides in Weimar, California, with her husband, Richard Lukens, LLUSM class of 1973-A. In 1989, upon returning from mission service in Africa, she took a residency in psychiatry and has just recently retired from practice. They return to Africa each year.