He that winneth souls is wise. (Proverbs 11:30,KJV)
On the resurrection morning, when you make morning rounds, how many of your patients will you see?
How does one turn a medical office into a real missionary outreach? Let me share how one College of Medical Evangelists graduate did it. February 10, 2009, would have been the 100th birthday of Marion C. Barnard, LLUSM class of 1944-A. He was my father, and he had a special gift for medical evangelism. During his long career, he brought hundreds of his patients to the Lord.
How? First, my dad made his faith the most important thing in his life. Many nights he would sit in his favorite chair, with his Bible and a Spirit of Prophecy book before him, as he prepared Bible studies for his patients. I never heard him utter an unkind or impatient word. He knelt by his bed each night, no matter the hour, to talk with his Lord.
Ministry of Healing was a book my dad especially enjoyed studying. He removed all literature from the clinic’s waiting room that did not have a spiritual message. There was nothing wrong with travel and business magazines; but, he said: “I never heard of anyone finding their way to the Lord through them.” As a result, a number of his patients read their way into the truth.
My dad hired employees who shared the College of Medical Evangelists vision. They watched for interests in the church and noted in red on patient charts any literature a patient asked to take home. Doctors in the group, all CME graduates, could easily see these red notations. Meanwhile, the nurses kept their list of interested patients; and when the time came for a new series of Bible studies, these former patients would be invited to our home.
Before surgery and on the day of discharge, my dad always prayed with his patients; and he always thanked the Lord for His help. One lady drove all the way from Alaska, passing many teaching hospitals on the way, to have her surgery done by a “praying doctor.” She later donated a beautiful piece of property to the church for a summer camp. When a colleague complained that prayer gave Dr. Barnard an unfair advantage, the medical society decided that this colleague could pray, too if he wanted to.
My dad opened his office on Sundays, and one colleague remarked that this must be good for business. With his famous smile, Dr Barnard replied, I think it is the day you close that makes the difference.” He looked forward to the day when he could post a sign on his office door: “Closed, in compliance with the Sunday Law. Come join us for Bible studies.”
My dad’s greatest legacy to me come when I sit in church and see there the members who trace their roots to his office. At the Annual Postgraduate Convention 2008, I was thrilled to see the emphasis on missions. At the dedication service, one mission appointee was a young man whose father had joined the church as a result of Dr. Barnard’s witness. Now this son, too, is carrying the torch of missions－something my dad loved and often supported, both financially and personally. He took his vacations doing mission relief, but first and foremost, he was a missionary at home.
– Jo Ellen Barnard, LLUSM class of 1996