Author's Spotlight

Meet Ayden Toleman!

Ayden Toleman is a registered nurse from Texas who served as a World Medical Mission volunteer in 2021 at Memorial Christian Hospital in Bangladesh. “As I look back over the past year, my time here has been full of growth, new experiences, building lifelong relationships, and seeing God’s power on display over and over again,” said Toleman. He returned to the United States in March and is employed at a hospital in Florida.

Ayden Toleman and Staff

Discovering the Heart of Bangladesh

World Medical Mission - A Ministry of Samaritan's Purse

Spring 2022

Bangladesh may be famous for its rivers and forests, but a Texas nurse discovers the nation’s best resource is its people.

Medical missions have always intrigued me, and I knew that’s what I wanted to do once I became a nurse.

A couple of years ago I was watching travel documentaries about Asia. I was fascinated by the small country of Bangladesh and its seemingly larger than life personality. When I contacted World Medical Mission in 2020 and learned that Memorial Christian Hospital in Bangladesh needed nurses, I was instantly sold on the location. I did more research on the hospital itself and realized this is where I wanted to come for a short-term medical mission trip.

That was 11 months ago! As I look back over the past year, my time here has been full of growth, new experiences, building lifelong relationships, and seeing God’s power on display over and over again.

A nation of more than 160 million people, Bangladesh endures grinding poverty and disastrous flooding. Memorial Christian Hospital brings spiritual hope and medical assistance to its patients.

One of the biggest adjustments and personal challenges was the immense feeling of what I describe as the “lostness” of the area. Yes, there are lost people everywhere, but I have never felt it so evident until coming here. Bangladesh fits over 160 million people into an area equivalent to the state of Illinois. In addition, the area of Bangladesh where Memorial Christian is located (Muslim majority) is only miles away from the borders of India (Hindu majority) and Myanmar (Buddhist majority). The hospital is situated in the melting pot of different cultures and religions. This is especially reflected in the very diverse patient population that we see and serve in the hospital.

It was, and still is, sometimes overwhelming to realize that we are humanly unable to reach and meet the physical and spiritual needs of every single person near us. It may be an impossible task for us, but time and time again I have been so humbly reminded that God is sending us the exact patients He wants us to be caring for, and so many of them have had ears to hear the Truth.

Nurul (name changed) worked in a brickyard near the hospital. One day his right arm accidentally got caught in one of the brick-breaking machines. His arm was completely mangled, and he ended up having the entire limb amputated. He was in our hospital for about three weeks.

For the first few days after his operation, I think Nurul was in so much shock. Everything happened so quickly. I can’t imagine having that accident happen to me, being rushed to the hospital, going immediately to the operating room, and waking up with no arm.

It was neat to come alongside Nurul and encourage him as he started to adapt to this new physical change. He adjusted quite well, especially for being so young—only in his early 20s. I enjoyed talking with him and getting to know him. As the weeks progressed, I rejoiced to see him show interest in the Gospel message.

OHOP couple at Samaritan's Lodge in Alaska

Prescription For Renewal

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Committed to Serve

I grew up in the Dallas-Fort Worth metroplex and received my nursing degree at East Texas Baptist University. While I was in high school, my grandfather lived with us for two years before he passed. Helping take care of him gave me insight into what nursing might be like, and I really enjoyed it.

I arrived at Memorial Christian Hospital in February 2021 to serve as the male ward nursing supervisor, filling in for a permanent staff member who went on furlough last year. I support the national staff, including charge nurses, staff nurses, and nurse aides in an effort to provide the best holistic care we can give to our patients. Sometimes it’s more of a hands-off approach of giving simple guidance while challenging their critical thinking. In other cases I provide more hands-on care if we are treating an unstable or critical patient.

"Working in a mission hospital has made me appreciate the limited resources that we have and how God faithfully provides for our needs."

Working in a mission hospital has made me appreciate the limited resources that we have and how God faithfully provides for our needs. It has been amazing to see that even though the hospital may lack some Western-style resources (equipment, diagnostic tools, medications, etc.), we make up for it with an extremely valuable resource—our people.

Memorial Christian Hospital has a very tight knit community of employees. So many of them not only do their jobs well, but they also are truly passionate about the missions focus of the hospital. It truly is beautiful to see how God works through obedient and faithful people who are willing to serve Him, no matter the environment, situation, or lack of resources.

The relationships I have been able to make with many of the patients is something I will always value. I believe that God uses physical sickness and pain as a means to be able to minister to someone’s spiritual needs as well.

Hossain (name changed) came to the hospital with complications from a right tibia open fracture. The fracture itself was fixed when he initially arrived, but it took weeks for the tissue to granulate over the wound site before we could do a skin graft.

Initially quiet and reserved, we found that Hossain liked jigsaw puzzles. Almost every day, I would come by and see him working on a puzzle on the floor. It was a great way to be able to talk to him, encourage him—and help him with his puzzles. I loved getting to speak into his life and share the Good News with him during his stay.

As I transition back to the United States to pursue travel nursing, I reflect on this past year at Memorial Christian Hospital and see God’s grace and provision everywhere. I am so grateful for the memories that I have been able to make. I have served with an amazing team. I have experienced so many different facets of Bangladesh and Bengali culture. And I have been blessed to care for the people of Bangladesh physically and spiritually while building lifelong relationships with those around me. Joy Bangla!