Saturday, March 13, 2021

Medical Studies

In my previous post, we covered how Dr. Andrew Stenhouse was Called to Be a Doctor by God in a very supernatural way. Now in this segment, we'll cover his medical studies, when he resigned from the his geological studies and began his studies to become a medical doctor in obedience to God's call on his life.


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Len: Welcome! This is Len Lacroix, and I'm back again with Dr. Andrew Stenhouse. And we're talking today about the next segment of his life, following his call to be a doctor that he received and that was covered in our last segment. So if you didn't listen to that, I really want to encourage you to go back and listen to the segment called “Called to Be a Doctor".

And tonight we're going to move on to the next period in his life. So, Andrew, I want to welcome you back to the program.

Dr. Stenhouse: Thank you, Len, I love being with you all.

Len: Yeah! It's great to have you! And I'm looking forward to our talk tonight. I want to start by picking it up right where we left off, where you had received that call to be a doctor, and after you had been already in college studying to be a cartographer in the geology school. Then you entered into the study of medicine.

So can you talk to us about that step that you took to change your course of study and go into the study of medicine?

Dr. Stenhouse: Right, Len. It was—when you get a call from the Lord, it's like that. It’s something that takes over your whole life. And I had never had really anything like that before, but my whole life changed instantly. And I immediately went in on Monday after the Saturday when I received the call to be a doctor and heard the Lord’s voice.

And I found that when I went in there, it was very easy for me to change from geology to medicine, because I found that I had done a very good map for the geology people. But they tore it up—

Len: Wow!

Dr. Stenhouse: --and told me I did it too quickly! So that was another confirmation from the Lord. And so I told them that I would be resigning and moving immediately to the South Island, to Dunedin where the medical school is--in New Zealand, at that time. And so that was the change that came quickly, and I did everything that I needed to do to get down there and to get started.

And one of the interesting things that happened down there that was kind of a confirmation to me was there were two of us left with the professor to be partners,  because we didn't know anybody else--he didn't know anybody else, and I didn't know anybody else. So anyway the lady who was in charge of a physics department said to the other man, "What is your name?” 

And he said, “David Stenhouse.” 

And I said, “What?!” 

And she said, “What is your name?” 

And I said, “Andrew Stenhouse.” 

And here we were the only two people with Stenhouse's name that we knew in New Zealand was right next to us each there, so that was another confirmation from the Lord.

Len: Yeah!

Dr. Stenhouse: And from then on, we went into medical school and, really, everything was stable from year to year, and it was getting easier and easier for me to do well in my studies, because the Lord was with me at every stage.

And, in addition to that, Len, I was very good about going to church on Sunday and not studying on Sunday. And I think the Lord honored that by what happens after all this.

Len: I would agree.

Dr. Stenhouse: So that's the next stage of my thing -- was going through the next four years of medical school. And at the end of the fourth year, I was given a research year grant in experimental virology. I chose that because we had a new professor just come over from Cambridge who brought some cultures of different things with him--different plants and things. And we were able to start doing research on a project that he had in his mind. So that was the change that occurred at the end of the fourth year. And my fifth year was the research year.

So that's where we are at the moment--doing a research degree, which I did and got an extra degree from it--a Bachelor of Medical Science, which was a separate thing from the medical exams at the end of the sixth year.

Len: I see. Yeah. Now at some point, after that, you went to the Cook Islands in the South Pacific--to an island called Rarotonga. 

[NOTE: This was a public health investigation he conducted on the island as part of his fifth year of medical studies.]

And I just want to let our listeners know a little bit about that place. First of all, you want to picture a place where it's clear aqua-blue water, white sand beaches, palm trees and coconut trees, huts and grass roofs, right? And it's hundreds of miles away from where you had been in New Zealand. So this is a little, tiny dot out in the South Pacific Ocean, hundreds of miles from New Zealand. Is that correct?

Dr. Stenhouse: Yes, that's correct. And, it was interesting--I was--of course with my research knowledge that I had obtained in New Zealand--I was able to go with two professors (and be their go-to guy, I think) to do research with them in Rarotonga.

Len: I see. 

Dr. Stenhouse: And so that was a very exciting time in my life. And when I went on a pier at the place I was to get on a ship, I couldn't see any ship there until I looked over the edge, and there was a tiny ship at the bottom of the pier. And I had to go down onto the ship, not up into it! And so, anyway, that was the beginning of my trip to Rarotonga 

Len: That little ship had what kind of engine?

Dr. Stenhouse: It seemed almost like an outboard engine and went at about six knots or seven knots across the Pacific.

Len: Amazing!

Dr. Stenhouse: And we were in a mini typhoon, also, with huge waves coming on board the ship. But we managed to get from Auckland, New Zealand to Rarotonga. So…

Len: It’s amazing that you made it on that little thing! 

Dr. Stenhouse: Ha, ha, ha!

Len: So then, you spent how long in Rarotonga?

Dr. Stenhouse: Five months I was there--four or five months.

Len: And you were doing other things like…

Dr. Stenhouse: I did deliver babies, and I did do suturing. And I learned a lot of the island's habits. And one of the islands called Mangia was a different type of island; it was kind of wild. And I would be sewing up people's ears, because the men would come in with their ears chewed off by the ladies in Mangia. So it was quite interesting doing surgical repairs on men who had their ears nearly taken off. 

Len:  Yeah, I’ve heard of that before.

Dr. Stenhouse: Then I did the deliveries, as well, in the hospital. And it helped the surgeon out. There was a surgeon there who was a very nice man, and I felt good about helping him. 

I did do work on diphtheria, because there was no evidence of diphtheria in Rarotonga, which is unusual for children not to have it. And we found out, that there, on the reefs, there were diphtheria organisms, which they got resistance to when they would go swimming and rubbing against the reefs in Rarotonga. So that was one of the things that we found out there.

Len: Yeah. So, while you were there did you have to learn some of the language they spoke there?

Dr. Stenhouse: Yes, I learned to speak Rarotongan on a small scale, but enough to get by, you know, talking to people. It was quite a different language than I'd ever seen in my life before.

Len: Interesting. Now, when it came time for you to finish your work there and leave--tell me about your departure from Rarotonga.

Dr. Stenhouse: Oh, the departure from Rarotonga was most interesting. The people that were there in the hospital put on a meal for us--for the two professors and myself. And we had three nurses assigned to each one of us. And what they would do is they would keep our orange juice filled on the table, and then the other one would make sure we had enough to eat, and the third one would fan us with a big, huge fan to keep us cool, because there was a lot of warm air coming in from the ocean, so.

Len: That was quite a sending-away party!

Dr. Stenhouse: Yes! It was really interesting!

Len: And then you returned from Rarotonga. And, at that point, when you returned, where did you return to? 

Dr. Stenhouse: Well, I returned initially from Rarotonga back to Hamilton, because I was assigned to Hamilton as the place where I would be doing my sixth year—fifth year, excuse me-- fifth year, and a later year after I graduated one of my first house surgeon's years. 

[NOTE: He later completed his sixth year of medical studies in Christchurch, NZ, followed by his first resident house surgeon's year back in Hamilton, and his second resident house surgeon's year in Murupara, NZ.] 

Len: Ok.

Dr. Stenhouse: But it was very interesting getting to Hamilton, because I was assigned to this surgeon—it was quite interesting--the surgeon himself was a very interesting type of person. He had been in World War II during the bombing in London. So we got to know each other quite well. 

But the interesting thing was—and the thing that the Lord used to encourage me in what we were doing—because the first patient we saw in the surgical ward was one that they couldn’t make a diagnosis on--and I had seen in Rarotonga, and you don't see it very often anywhere else--and that was a huge mass in one of the groins down between the abdominal wall and the upper leg. And there was a huge mass there, and they couldn't work out the diagnosis. 

And I spoke to the guy in Rarotongan, which blew them away. And he answered me in Rarotongan. So I told the surgeon what was wrong with him, because I'd seen a case of this while I was in Rarotonga, and it was a diagnosis of a huge lymph node mass due to an organism that was floating around at that time. 

And so anyway, I told him what the diagnosis was and what the treatment was. And so he was literally upset that I knew---a student knew more than what he did. So, anyway, he didn't talk to me again until Monday afternoon. And we were operating together, Monday morning, and eventually he calmed down.

And we went into the afternoon after we'd had lunch, and the first patient that we saw was a lady. And I didn't say anything, of course, but he was talking to her. And then he said something to me, and I answered him the question. And she--the lady--said, “Andrew!”

And I looked at her, and I said, “Ruth!”

And here was Ruth, the lady that had taken me to the church that night--on Saturday night that we did—she did that--invited me to the church where I got the talk from the Lord.

[NOTE: This lady named Ruth, whom Dr. Stenhouse saw as a patient when he was a resident doctor in Hamilton, NZ, was the sister in Christ who had invited him to the student service at Church in Wellington, NZ, hundreds of miles away a few years earlier, when he had been a Geology student. That was the service in which he had heard the audible call of God to be a doctor, which changed his whole life.]

Len: Yeah. 

Dr. Stenhouse: And so, anyway we got to know each other. And, knowing her, I stepped out of the room, because I didn't want to be involved in any medical stuff with her. 

And she took me home to where she was living with her husband, and they had two children. And the husband and the two children were real nervous around me, and didn't come near me, because of what she had told them, and about the past.

So that was the Lord’s really confirming to me. It’s amazing, when you do what the Lord says, He confirms things all along the way that may not mean to anybody else anything, but to me they were very important things that we were on the right track.

Len: Yeah. God revealed His faithfulness to you, didn’t He? Well, praise God! That brings us to the end of our segment for today. So thank you very much for sharing that! And we're going to close here, and we'll pick it up next time with the next phase that comes after that. So thanks a lot, Andrew.

Dr. Stenhouse: Thank you, all!

Len: You're welcome! Have a good night! 

Dr. Stenhouse: Blessings!

Len: God bless you too.

Author's note: The next chapter in this story is called Residency. See the Home page of this blog for more podcasts on the life of Dr. Stenhouse. You may access my complete blog directory at Writing for the Master. Now I'd like to ask a very important question.

Do You Want to Know Him?
If you want to know Jesus personally, you can. It all begins when you repent and believe in Jesus.  Do you know what God's Word, the Bible says?

“Jesus came into Galilee, preaching the gospel of God, and saying, ‘The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand; repent and believe in the gospel.’” (Mar 1:14b-15).  He preached that we must repent and believe.

Please see my explanation of this in my post called "Do You Want to Know Jesus?"


Len Lacroix is the founder of Doulos Missions International.  He was based in Eastern Europe for four years, making disciples, as well as helping leaders to be more effective at making disciples who multiply, developing leaders who multiply, with the ultimate goal of planting churches that multiply. His ministry is now based in the United States with the same goal of helping fulfill the Great Commission. 

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