In Canada, modern—and often expensive—equipment helps doctors discern what kind of stroke a person is having, then treat it appropriately. But at Hospital Baptiste Biblique in Togo, Hans and Christine Lin had no way to figure out if a patient was even having a stroke, much less understand what kind.
Thankfully, Christine, a 37-year-old hospitalist in the greater Vancouver region, had experience in this area and determined it was an ischemic stroke.
The drug normally used for treatment wasn’t available, so Hans, Christine’s husband and a hospital pharmacist in greater Vancouver, found another, similar drug that could also be effective.
“I was able to find new studies that tested and supported the medication in this kind of stroke patient, so we decided to use it,” Hans explained.
This was one case where the husband-and-wife team was able to help patients together during their three-week World Medical Mission deployment early in 2022.
“We watched the patient get better,” said Hans. “Her speech gradually improved and she was eventually able to transfer to a wheelchair. To me, professionally, that was very interesting and fulfilling because I was able to use my training to think outside the box.”
This was the second World Medical Mission deployment at Hospital Baptiste Biblique for the Lins, who learned about the ministry by simply searching ‘Christian medical missions’ online. Their first trip was in 2018, shortly after Christine finished her university studies.
“The first time, everything was new, so the learning curve was steep,” Christine recalled. “This time it was easier to jump in and start working right away.”
Helping the patient with a suspected stroke was a case where Christine had to learn hard on her faith in Christ. The woman was well-known to hospital staff because she had been treated there before and worked in a print shop beside the hospital.
“The pressure is particularly heavy when you’re treating someone who was friends with everyone on staff,” Christine noted. “Complications can happen, but I did see a steady improvement every day. I pray when trying to decide what to do, and I prayed every day with her. Through that and seeing her recovery, I really feel that God is treating her.”
For Hans, the hardest part about their deployment was leaving.
“I felt I could have done a lot more,” he said. “I wish I could have worked a bit longer with the hospital’s pharmacy manager. It was hard to see needs that I knew I could do something about.”
What he really liked was seeing the reactions of a travel-wary friend—an eye specialist—they brought on the trip.
“He did so many eye-checks; he was probably busier than I was. He told me it was not that intimidating to go to Africa. His worries didn’t come true.”
With that in mind, Hans has this advice for any Christian unsure about participating in World Medical Mission: “Taste and see that the Lord is good and He has prepared good works for us to do. The Scripture is clear that we should take a step of faith and help others. We experience God and gain Christ when we step out. It’s a huge blessing in my regular life.”
A medical ministry of Samaritan's Purse, World Medical Mission places volunteer medical personnel in short-term service in mission hospitals and clinics in the developing world, providing critically-needed resources as a witness of God's love. Your gift will help us fulfill this mission.