Halfway through his book of Acts, physician Luke's perspective shifts from third person “they” and “them” to first person “we” and “us” as he joins Paul's team. For physician Dr. Andrew Daigle of Murfreesboro, Tenn., that personal connection in the Kingdom Bridges medical ministry began in late May when he met the Coada family of Chisinau, Moldova.
Working with hundreds of Ukrainians either displaced in Moldova or returning home to the hardships of war, this team quickly bonded based on their mutual calling to offer medical care in the name of Jesus.
Drs. Igor and Galina Coada and their daughter, Victoria, became an integral part of the Kingdom Bridges’ first official project since its April 30 launch, demonstrating the model of partnerships the ministry seeks to build.
Daigle is Medical Director for s2lrecovery.org and also an emergency medicine provider with Middle Tennessee Emergency Physicians at regional Ascension Saint Thomas emergency departments around Murfreesboro. Originally from Louisiana, Daigle has been on mission to Banda Aceh, Indonesia, after the 2004 tsunami, and twice to Moldova. Asked in March about providing medical assistance in Ukraine, Daigle was eager to go. As their departure day approached, Daigle and Craig Myers prayed for Moldovan or Ukrainian doctors to help them know how best to prepare. God answered that prayer powerfully as Moldovan friends living in the Nashville area connected them to the Coadas.
"Through my text conversation I began to sense that I was joining with a like-minded physician and that we shared in our goals of helping patients in distress. Once I arrived in Moldova and met Drs. Galina and Igor, I knew we would make a great team!" said Daigle.
Dr. Galina was just who I had hoped to connect with, and we had ongoing text conversations. It was only after I arrived in Moldova that I discovered she was using daughter Victoria as her text interpreter! But through our conversations, I was even able to obtain a critically needed hand held ultrasound device which is very difficult to get in that region. And with the inconsistent mail system means, that direct hand-off is needed especially for critical supplies."
‘I Feel Privileged’
Dr. Galina completed high school by the ninth grade and began attending medical school at age 15, graduating at the top of her class. Her medical career has focused on cardiology, emergency medicine, gynecology and infectious disease. She was a department director in a hospital doing teaching and training. Growing up she had lived for a time with her grandmother, a devout Orthodox Christian who taught her to pray the Lord’s prayer. She met Igor while in college and they both began attending Speranţă (Hope) church and volunteering at its Immanuel Clinic. Igor was a strong Christian and gave her a gift of a Bible. Later she began struggling with psoriasis: “It was getting bad and I repented and prayed for God to heal me.”
“Through a lot of experiences and miracles, he helped me get closer to the Lord,” she said of her husband. That experience is part of her motivation to give so much time to the ministry, working nights and weekends traveling to see patients in their homes. Since the start of the war that pace has increased for the couple, but Dr. Galina said, “I feel privileged He chose me to serve other people.”
“Usually, people think that the patients are lucky to be helped. I have been thinking I was lucky because God made gave me the responsibility to serve...I am thankful God is using me,” Galina said.
Dr. Galina said that from the start of the war, Christians were sending out tents, food, clothes, drinks, blankets and providing transportation to bring refugees to houses, churches, and camps.
“For sure this would have been worse without the Christians. From the first day the population mobilized, but after a time the ones not in the church got tired. The ones who remained were the Christians,” Galina said.
Daigle used the opportunity to help teach Victoria, who is following her mother’s footsteps as a first-year medical student.
"I could not have had a better interpreter than their daughter Victoria, who had just finished her first year of medical school. She later revealed to me that she chose medicine after watching the dedication her parents showed in their patient care," Daigle said.
Mudbugs in Moldova
The strong partnership in the gospel was demonstrated in a humorous way on June 5 as Myers and Daigle prepared to leave. A “Cajun” by background, Dr. Daigle had been joking during the trip that he wanted to find the Moldovan and Ukrainian equivalent of crawfish. After searching several stores and restaurants he had given up. But on the last night in Moldova before leaving, Myers, Daigle and the Coadas met for dinner. Afterward, Dr. Galina said she had a special gift and from the back of their car pulled out of bowl covered with aluminum foil. Inside was a full serving of...cooked crawfish!
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