Glenwood doctor answers call to missions in IndiaIn a giant leap of faith, Dr. Babitha Kallimel will soon be leaving behind her medical practice at Glacial Ridge Health Systems to go to a remote tribal area in northern India, where her medical expertise is truly needed.
Editor’s note: The following story about Dr. Babitha Kallimel appeared in the Pope County Tribune and is being reprinted with permission. Tribune News Editor Steffanie Dahlseng wrote it.
In a giant leap of faith, Dr. Babitha Kallimel will soon be leaving behind her medical practice at Glacial Ridge Health Systems to go to a remote tribal area in northern India, where her medical expertise is truly needed.
Kallimel explained her reason for leaving, “As a follower of Jesus Christ, I strive to consciously understand and follow His will. That is the purpose of my life. In recent times, I have come to understand that it is God’s will for me to return to South Asia and serve Him by taking His love through the world of medicine to the underprivileged and oppressed there. His will is my call.”
Although Kallimel was born, grew up and went to medical school in the southernmost state of India, named Kerala, northern India is vastly different and will be foreign to her. Kallimel is not familiar with the language, customs or geography of this tribal region.
Kallimel’s mission work in northern India will be in conjunction with the nonprofit, Compelled, whose purpose is to lead physical and spiritual transformation of underprivileged and oppressed people groups. In addition, last year, Kallimel’s husband, Aby, along with some friends were able to rescue some children who were in slavery or who were on their way to slavery.
Since then, the Kallimels and their friends have started a children’s home to take care of the formerly enslaved children. The Kallimels also plan to help start a second home, specifically for girls, in the next year or two.
Dr. Kallimel said, “A central part of our lives will be to take the love and light of Jesus Christ wherever we go. I go not to do big things necessarily. I go to be faithful in small things, in touching one life at a time. May God do the rest!”
Dr. Kallimel added, “My specific role in this will be to lead an initiative that will be focused to take the love of Christ through the world of medicine to thousands of remote tribes and villages, people who have no access to health care ... Some specific plans will include establishing a base hospital, once the financial resources are in place. Trucks equipped with surgical equipment will then operate from this base, going into remote tribes and villages with medicine, particularly surgical care. A critical part of this initiative will also be to train select indigenous people with some basic medical skills, like conducting safe delivery, treating basic tropical illnesses, etc.”
For Kallimel, the call to missions evokes both great hope and nagging fears. Kallimel said, “I am very scared of my limitedness and inabilities. If it were not for the grace of God and the support of friends, I would be hiding in somebody’s barn! I go not because I am able, but because my job is to obey the call with all my imperfections and fears. I hope that I will stay faithful. At times I am also afraid of persecution and possible lack. Life can at times become difficult and dangerous for Christians serving in missions. I pray for the well-being of my children, safety of my family and fellow friends. But, on the whole I also go in great faith knowing that the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob is also my God. My fears do subside in the comfort of His promise and presence.”
This is not the first time that Kallimel has used her medical talents in mission work. Two years ago she went with a group of friends to a very remote village in the lower Himalayan mountains in India. In order to perform surgery, they cleaned up a room and chased away rats and insects. Using lanterns and generator powered electricity, they performed surgeries on hundreds of people in just four days. Many of the people who needed surgery had walked for several hours. Some of them had been sick for years.
Dr. Kallimel and her husband Aby have three children: Shawn (6), Michelle (5) and Neil (5 months old). The children will stay with Dr. Kallimel in India. Aby will be 30 hours away by train. He will also be engaged in mission work. The Kallimel family will be together only one week of each month.
The Kallimel family moved to Minnesota four years ago. Dr. Kallimel began working at Glacial Ridge Health Systems in Glenwood in January 2008. Kallimel said, “I came here with an anxious heart, wondering how will I be accepted as a foreigner. I cannot ever express the great love I found in this community. I have formed great friendships, gained the trust of many and had the joy of serving in this community along with a wonderful team at the hospital. It will be hard to leave all of this. I cannot fully express my deep sense of appreciation and gratefulness to this community, particularly to those who have let me journey with them a little bit in this life and allowed me to be their friend. I am sincerely grateful!”