Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.
(Matthew 5:16, KJV)
Paris Souval, son of a U.S. diplomatic corps officer, had begun to study medicine in France. However, his draft board ordered him to return to the U.S. to serve in the military. Enlisting for four years in the U.S. Air Force, he was classified as a lab technician and assigned to a hospital lab at Burderop Park in southwest England.
On May 26, 1953, a young Seventh-day Adventist pathologist (and LLUSM graduate), drafted our of his residency, arrived from the U.S. to take charge of the lab. The lab personnel recognized that this officer was different; he did not smoke, drink, or use foul language. He maintained his composure when things went wrong. Those personal attributes, along with practical leadership, astonished the personnel, especially Paris.
The pathologist sent Paris to a U.S. Air Force lab in London for three months of training. There, the pathologist in charge was another Seventh-day Adventist, James Schooley, LLUSM class of 1949. The pathologists were friends. Paris admired Dr. Schooley and determined to find out more about Seventh-day Adventism.
Back on base, Paris began asking questions and always received a biblical answer. These answers amazed Paris, who thought only priests could have such biblical knowledge.
Six months later, the pathologist and Paris went to a London meeting featuring noted speaker George Vandeman. He preached a powerful message that moved Paris to think deeply about his own life. That was a week before the Burderop pathologist returned to the U.S., in August 1954. He told Paris, “We’ll see you in California, and I’ll take you to Loma Linda to see about becoming a medical student.” Paris only laughed.
When Paris attended his second Vandeman service in London, an appeal was made for a commitment to Christ. Paris mentally struggled, but finally decided to walk down the aisle. After the meeting, Paris met Vandeman, who prayed with him personally. That prayer removed all doubts left in Paris’ mind about the truths he had just heard.
Shortly after, in December 1954, Paris arrived in California. The next day, he and the pathologist went to Loma Linda to see about medical school. Paris returned to England.
An acceptance to Loma Linda to see about medical school. Paris in March 1955. But what could he do with two years still to serve? Paris remembered a regulation, providing for a discharge to anyone who had completed two years and had been accepted to an approved medical school. So off went a letter to Loma Linda. When it arrived, the secretary quickly sent back an acceptance. It reached Paris the day of the deadline! The Lord “came through”; and on August 25, 1955, he arrived in Loma Linda to start school.
This remarkable series of events convinced Paris that the Lord wanted him at Loma Linda; and after studying with the campus chaplain, he was baptized into the Seventh-day Adventist Church on November 5, 1955. Subsequently, his sister and mother also became Seventh-day Adventists. His father, though never baptized, recognized the truth that Paris lived out before him.
Paris Souval, LLUSM class of 1960, set up a successful practice in Georgia, where his influence was prominent in his daily contact with patients and in his church where he ministered in many capacities. Surely, Paris would agree: “I’d rather SEE a sermon that hear one, any day.”
– Herbert I. Harder, LLUSM class of 1951