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.