Shane Memorial Medical Missionary Award
The Shane Memorial ICMDA Medical Missionary Award is awarded to a young missionary serving in a developing country.
It was established in memory of Dr Shane Sam Mathew, a young missionary dentist, who died on the mission field in 2017.
The award is given every two years and presented at an ICMDA Regional Conference or World Congress.
Dr Shane Sam Mathew
17 January 1992 - 3 September 2017.
Dr Shane was a graduate from the Christian Dental College, Ludhiana. He was the son of Mr George Mathew Paracken and Mrs Elizabeth Mathew, and brother to Cheryl, who are members of the St Thomas Mar Thoma Church, Karol Bagh, New Delhi. His father works with the National YMCA, New Delhi India, his mother, Elizabeth is with the Christian Medical Association of India, and sister Cheryl is a law student.
Shane was a talented youngster, fantastic poet, an excellent singer and basketball player, fast fingered guitarist, a loving son, a friend who would run the extra mile, and an exceptional brother. He never boasted about his laurels, never took pride in his achievements for he knew all this would one day go away.
He taught many never to back down from a challenge and his friends knew that they could come to him at any time for help and he would put his heart into the matter.
In January 2016 Shane joined the Leprosy Mission Hospital at Chaandkhuri, Bilaspur District, Chhattisgarh. In February 2017, he was deputed by the Christian Dental College, Ludhiana, to serve in Ganta, Liberia, where there were just four dentists for a country of four million.
Shane served in Liberia for seven months with commitment and diligence and was much appreciated for his work ethic. He was loved by patients, colleagues and seniors alike. When it came to sharing the love of Jesus Christ, no colour, no divisions, no distance mattered.
On the night of 3 September 2017, a fire engulfed the staff residence quarters in the Methodist Hospital Ganta campus. Shane died in the blaze and was promoted to glory.
‘I have but one candle of life to burn, and I would rather burn it out in a land filled with darkness than in a land flooded with light.
‘Only one life, 'twill soon be past, only what's done for Christ will last.’
2018 Award Recipient
The first winner of the Shane Memorial Medical Missionary Award was given posthumously to Dr Alex. Dr Alex was an Indian missionary doctor who worked with his wife in a remote head hunting tribe in central India. Together they looked after the tribe's medical needs and translated Scripture into the Bondo tribal language. Dr Alex died in 2017 before he could receive the award. The award was presented to his wife at the 16th World Congress in Hyderabad 2018.
The Late Dr Alexandar and Mrs Hannah Alex are an example of a couple committed to each other and to the call of God. They have been exemplary in their walk with the Lord in all areas of their professional and personal life.
Dr Alexandar was born in Tamilnadu, one of the states in South India and was the youngest of five children in a Hindu family. During his first year in medical college, he came to know about Christ and accepted Him as his Lord and Saviour.
After his studies, he worked in Oddanchatram as a junior doctor from 1992-1996. He felt God leading him to Odisha, specifically to the Bondo tribe, a very primitive tribal group. He was involved in health, education, literacy and developmental work. He married Ms Hannah in 1996 and she being a teacher with a Master’s degree in Science and a Bachelor of Education, beautifully complemented his work.
By the year 2001, they had written books on Bondo Phonology, Grammar and published 15 Adult literacy books. Between the years 1999-2003, they had two beautiful daughters named Sophia and Christina. After eight years of service in the Bondo tribe, to equip themselves better for His service, they together pursued degrees in Christian studies from South Asia Institute of Advanced Christian Studies, India in the years 2004-2006. With the script for the tribal language that they had already developed, they paved the way for the Bible to be translated into the local language. The study broadened their vision and they returned to Asha Kiran to reach out to all the 62 tribes in Odisha by teaching leaders the Word of God.
In the year 2009, they moved to the nearby school started for the Indian Cross-cultural missionary children, to help in the administration and teaching. They worked there for two years and were able to contact many missionaries, pastors and evangelists in Odisha.
In 2011, they felt, as a family to be independently involved in teaching, preaching and equipping others in the word of God. They stayed in the Christian Fellowship Hospital, Oddanchatram, Tamil Nadu and gave pastoral care to the community and systematicaclly training missionaries, pastors, evangelists in the Word of God. They were doing this as a full time job in the last six years of Dr Alex’s life by travelling to different places. In May 2017, on one of these travels, Dr Alex suffered a heart attack and went to be with the Lord.
Mrs Hannah Alex continues to work for the Lord as a Counsellor, Bible teacher and resource person. They are both recipients of the Aquila and Priscilla Award, SAIACS, 2006.
During the memorial service of Dr Alex, this verse was quoted to summarise his love and commitment to the Lord:
How beautiful upon the mountains are the feet of him that bringeth good tidings, that publisheth peace;
that bringeth good tidings of good, that publisheth salvation; that saith unto Zion, Thy God reigneth!
Dr Camy Thomas
2020 Award Recipient
In recognition of her committed service, the Dr Shane Sam Mathew Memorial ICMDA Medical Missionary Award for 2020 was given to Dr Camy Thomas at the South Asia Regional Online Conference.
Dr Camy Thomas, is a graduate of Christian Dental College (CMC) Ludhiana, from the batch of 2007. She is the daughter of Mr Thomas Jose, a retired Bank manager and Mrs Cathy Thomas, a school teacher and has a younger sister, Candy Catherine Thomas who is doing her masters in English Literature. Camy was raised in New Delhi and did her schooling in Carmel Convent School.
Camy’s faith was informed in her Catholic upbringing and molded deeply in EU, UESI meetings at college. As a child, she was drawn to Jesus, the beauty in the Word, the truth in many hymns and the stories of many a saint. Mother Theresa was one of her earliest inspirations, along with some priests and nuns who lived lives of service to the poorest and neediest. The focus of the church on the suffering and less privileged and the introduction to the poverty of rural India by the stories told to her by many families of domestic helps left a lasting impression on her. She found herself drawn to the medical profession and envisioned working in the neediest areas.
In her first year of College, she was introduced to Christians from many denominations and was inspired by some of her classmates, seniors and professors who invested in her spiritual formation. It was in one of the Discipleship Training Camps of EU that the fullness of the crucified and resurrected Christ first dawned on her as she came to an understanding of the amazing grace of forgiveness and mercy in the everlasting love of God for man. The scores of missionary doctors and mission workers who shared their lives and stories at the EU meetings continued to shape her longing to use the skills she was acquiring where the need was most. She found herself being drawn to Odisha and Africa specifically.
The desire to work in rural India was fulfilled when she was posted by her college in Uttaraula, UP and then for her rural obligation in Christian Hospital Bissamcuttack in South Odisha. She came back to Delhi rather grudgingly, to work in private practice for a month where she was able to pick up important skills that God in His wisdom knew would help her run a practice independently. She then took a break from dentistry and found an opportunity to work with Emmanuel Hospital Association in Kashmir in the aftermath of the 2014 Kashmir floods in Anantnag as an Advocacy Coordinator for the Disabled in Disasters. From 2015–2018 she worked in an Urban poor clinic in central Delhi where she was able to serve people from all strata of society. This experience sharpened her clinical and relational skills.
In 2017, Dr Prerit Thomas Jacob’s (Missionary surgeon at Khariar, Odisha) and Dr Shane Sam Mathew’s (Missionary Dentist at Ganta, Liberia) passing to the eternal home while in their mission places, put things in perspective for Camy. One was a senior she was greatly inspired by and the other a junior who she fondly adored.
A quote from the life of Corrie Ten boom helped her focus on Christ. “There are no ‘ifs’ in God’s world. And no places that are safer than other places. The centre of His will is our only safety - let us pray that we may always know it!” It took a moment of deep surrendering of her will to God’s will and a re-establishing of God as head of her life when the doors to serve in the Highlands of Papua New Guinea (in Oceania, far away from Africa!) in Kompiam District Hospital, Enga Province were opened through the visionary-missionaries: Dr Abi M Thomas (Principal, CDC), Dr Varghese Philip (Mission Aviation Fellowship), Dr Sheena Li (Samaritan’s Purse) and Dr David Mills (Kompiam, PNG) .They shared with her the need for dental services and for establishing the second International Mission outreach of a Christian Dental College after Liberia.
Camy is learning to see through Christ’s eyes and serve as Christ did when she is not overcome with herself on some days. To witness God’s redemption story, in Christ through the moving of the Holy Spirit especially in unreached and unheard parts of the world, fills her with humble awe and gratitude for God’s immense love even as the world groans in brokenness in the now.
Follow God’s example, therefore, as dearly loved children and walk in the way of love,
just as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.