|Dr John Scudder was born in Freehold, New Jersey, USA, on September 3, 1793. He was the second of twelve children to his parents. He completed his medical degree in 1815. He quickly established good practice in New York. One night while visiting a patient, his attention was caught by a pamphlet lying on the table, calling missionaries for the salvation of the world. He read it through. As he pondered on this, God made His call clear to him saying, “Go heal the sick and preach the Gospel to those who have never heard of Christ”.|
When he consulted his wife, after weeks of prayer, she told him, “Wherever you go, I will go”. But his father threatened to disinherit him if he went as a missionary. In spite of this, on June 8, 1819, he and his family left Boston on a four-month journey going to Calcutta, with no thought of return.
While at Calcutta, little Maria was stricken with dysentery and died within 3 days. A few months later in Ceylon, their second daughter died soon after birth. Read his words of faith.
“Perhaps our dear parents may be ready to say that we are sorry and repent of our coming. No, we rejoice and thank the great Head of the church for putting it into our hearts to leave America and come and live among these people. I would not exchange situations for a world.”
They had thirteen children; three died as babies, one died later as an adult. The rest – seven sons-all ordained ministers and five physicians- and two daughters came back to India in response to the call of Christ. They bore the pain of being separated from their children during their school and college education.
Besides preaching and carrying on his medical work, he started many schools. Mrs Scudder provided excellent support as a dutiful missionary wife. After their sacrificial and dedicated service in India, their mortal remains lay buried in Scudder Memorial Hospital, Ranipet.
Over a hundred years later his granddaughter Dr Ida Scudder started the Christian Medical College besides many other institutions started by his other descendants. We celebrate his life and service during this bicentenary and pray that his life would motivate many servants of God in the future.