"Send me wherever there's a need and where others don't want to go."
Jim Adams feels blessed.
A family physician for more than 30 years, the Sherwood Park, AB resident has been able to leave his practice and go on World Medical Mission trips 15 times since the mid-1990s.
“My office staff is awesome,” Jim said via email from Papua New Guinea, where he served for two months at Kudjip Nazarene Hospital.
“My IT person makes it happen,” he explained. “I run my office from where I am serving. I daily check the lab results and reports and consults that come to my office. I can renew prescriptions or order tests or make referrals from where I am serving. I now also have video visits with my patients from my office, which my nurse assists me with.”
In 1991, Jim was looking for a place to use his skills and do mission work. That’s when he learned about World Medical Mission, the medical arm of Samaritan’s Purse. It places volunteer Christian physicians, dentists, and other medical professionals in mission hospitals around the world that are often desperate for staff.
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Four years after learning about the ministry, Jim did his first trip, serving at Kijabe Hospital in Kenya.
Since then, he’s been back to Kenya and added onto that deployments in Zambia, Ghana, Ethiopia, Niger and Gabon—and Papua New Guinea! His work at Kudjip Nazarene Hospital this year represents the sixth time he’s helped at that facility.
First volunteer in a year
“I came to the hospital (in 2021) as the first volunteer that they had in a year,” Jim reported. “Three doctors had left and the three remaining doctors and one surgeon were exhausted. They were joyful and encouraged just to have me arrive.”
Kudjip has a special place in his heart: “because I have been there so often over the past nine years, I have seen the doctors grow in confidence and knowledge, which has been great to see.”
Generally, Jim does whatever is needed at each deployment. Most of his deployments last two months and involve either temporarily replacing a doctor or helping an often overworked staff. He’s been a gynecologist, obstetrician, pediatrician, internist, and family doctor.
During one deployment, Jim even did anesthesia. “You do whatever is needed,” he emphasized.
“Offer a shoulder and love them”
In 2003, he was at Maua Methodist Hospital in Kenya when two brothers brought their extremely ill father in for treatment.
“I told them that he was very sick and would probably die,” Jim recalled. “The brothers said to do what I can (to help him). One brother left to do something. While he was gone, the dad died as I was standing next to the other brother. He turned to me, and we hugged, and he cried on my shoulder for a while.
“Sometimes, all you can do is offer a shoulder and love them.”
“I am put into situations that I have no clue what to do, but God has always supplied either knowledge or healing miraculously, or has someone else who does know (what to do) come by at just that moment.”
His advice to other medical professionals pondering the merits of serving with World Medical Mission?
“Go! Don’t worry about a thing. God will supply you with everything that you need and the Samaritan’s Purse staff will take care of all the details, including travel, visas, medical license, and accommodations. You will never have enough training and there will never be a ‘right’ time to go. Just go and be blessed beyond what you can imagine or dream of.”