Saturday, July 07, 2012

Gordon Hadley: Exemplar of Christian service

I knew practically nothing about Adventists before I met my husband. As I've learned more about the faith and the Adventist culture, one of the things I've come to truly admire is the emphasis on Christian service that is embedded in their values. This is evidenced by the overwhelming majority of Adventists going into professions of service, such as doctors, teachers, and pastors. Health professions are particularly chosen, because of an Adventist emphasis on health as well as service. Any place you find any concentration of Adventists, there will be a hospital, a school, or especially a medical school. This dedication to health and service was exemplified in the life of Dr. G. Gordon Hadley, who not only was a teaching doctor and later dean of the Loma Linda University School of Medicine, but also taught medicine in Vellore, India, managed the establishment of a hospital in Hangzhou, China, and had an instrumental role at the Kabul University School of Medicine in Afghanistan. At Loma Linda, where he was dean for nearly 10 years, he was renowned for his personal interest in each student, knowing every student by face and name. In Afghanistan, he leaves a lasting legacy having made numerous mission trips there over the course of more than 40 years from 1960, until his last trip in 2002. He set up the first pathology department and laboratory at Kabul University in 1960, and his rigorous work to establish high-quality standards of medical education earned him such high respect among the Afghanis, that he was invited to return again and again, even as the rule in Afghanistan shifted from a king to regional warlords, to the Taliban, and to its current tenuous post 9/11 democracy. That a Christian doctor would be requested, even by the Taliban, is a testament to Dr. Hadley's brand of mission. His faith lead him to serve and teach others, and to simply live a Christian example by his actions, without explicitly proselytizing. In an LA Times article recounting Dr. Hadley's extraordinary service in Afghanistan, a Harvard-educated Afghan doctor had this to say about him: "Like Albert Schweitzer, he is dedicated to the human cause… With his deeds he is a missionary of ethics and proper behavior that is necessary for a medical practice." His devotion to service was life-long. He was in his 70's when he accepted the post to lead the newly established Sir Run Run Shaw Hospital in Hangzhou, China, and he was 80 when he made his last trip to Afghanistan. We'd heard that even as recently as a few weeks ago, at age 90, he was wanting to do more, concerned that "God still had work for him to do". We should all admire and hope to come close to emulating Gordon Hadley's remarkable embodiment of the concept of Christian service.

Dr. Gordon Hadley (center) with three generations of Hadley doctors.

Dr. Gordon Hadley (center) at the 2006 Loma Linda University School of Medicine graduation ceremony,
with his wife Alphie and most (but not all) of their children, grandchildren, nephews, nieces, grand-nephews,
and grand-nieces who are graduates of LLU School of Medicine, Dentistry, or Allied Health.

1 comment:

tinita said...

Wow! Congratulations Guys. Keep it up. God Bless!

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