Ida Scudder

One of the best-known family names in the annals of medical missions is that of the Scudder's.  It began in the early 1800s when John Scudder, with a thriving medical practice in New York City, felt the call to Ceylon and India, sold his practice and with family became the first of a number of generations to serve in India right up to the present.    The best known is Dr. Ida, a fourth-generation medical missionary.

Having been raised in India, she knew the heat, filth, superstition, and long demanding hours (her father was a very skilled and dedicated missionary doctor).  She determined she would break family tradition and pursue her own career here in the United States.  On graduation from college, she was called back to help care for her critically-ill mother.  The events of­ one evening altered the course of her life.  Three men-a Brahmin, another high-cast Hindu, and a Muslim-came one after another in quick succession begging Ida to come help his "child bride" who was in critical medical need.  She told them that she was not a doctor and could not help but that her father would be happy to attend to them.  But in each case his help was refused because he was a man.  The drums beat the death dirge that night, and in the morning Ida learned that all three of these young girls had died.  It broke her heart and molded her life course.

Ida returned to the U.S. and studied medicine. She returned to India and founded a women's medical school (eventually co-educational) that is today one of the outstanding medical schools/hospitals in India, the influence of which has spread far beyond the confines of the Indian subcontinent.

Could there be any young or teenage M.K. who, as Dr. Ida, revolts against returning to the ministry in which he had seen his parents minister, oftentimes with real difficulty?  Or is there an adult who oftentimes, because of the difficulties of the task and the lack of fruit, feels like giving up?  May God speak to our hearts and convict us of the sin of indifference over a lost world and may we give ourselves unreservedly to the task of making Him known even under the most difficult of circumstances.

 

JAD  1/29/01