Pakistan #2 - Memorial Christian Hospital

by Richard Paddon

Today, Saturday in Lahore, is our fourth full day here; this morning we were driven from there to Sialkot, now a thriving city and a long-time center for the production of surgical instruments. A web search will give you the backstory of that from 1905. We were there to see Memorial Christian Hospital, established 1886 by Maria White, M.D., a young American sent by the United Presbyterian Church of North America. She was the first of scores of medical missionaries called by the Lord to provide prenatal, maternal and pediatric health care. Evangelistic and medical mission by U.S.A. Presbyterians was later established in several more cities. A small dispensary for women and children, constructed in Sialkot on land deeded by a Muslim gentleman, soon grew to a 55-bed hospital.

Today MCH is a 350-bed general hospital with extensive services in seven areas, including Ophthalmology and Physiotherapy; last year 8,000 babies were born there! Hospital administrator Dr. Zeno Naeem and three colleagues met us and while being served tea in his office before an extensive tour, I shared with him my mothers’ Pakistan connection. While she was volunteer Executive Director of the Woman’s Union Missionary Society, headquarters in New York City and in 1860 the first Society to send single women to Asia as missionaries, WUMS took over the operation of a Christian hospital in Multan that had opened in the early 1890s. Dr. Naeem replied with excitement that while serving on the medical staff there more than 40 years ago, he and his wife were married in the hospital chapel. I shared a 1956 photo of the hospital and a 1960 photo of eight nurses and a doctor there, and he had known four of them! This connection to earlier Christian mission in Pakistan by women whom I had known as a boy, who had stayed while on furlough in our home 20 miles from New York and for whom my brother, sister and I had prayed . . . overwhelming. The history of mission in the name of Christ Jesus to the people of Pakistan is being extended by our faithful and dedicated sisters and brothers at MHC, several more Christian hospitals there and through the ministries of more than 300 congregations of the Presbyterian Church and other churches. Soli Deo Gloria.

Richard Paddon
Former prep school Chaplain and teacher and retired Presbyterian pastor