Camila* dreamed about becoming a missionary doctor. She studied medicine for seven years and, shortly after graduating with her medical degree, moved with her husband, Mateo, to the Middle East.

But finding work proved difficult. Obstacle after obstacle kept emerging, preventing her from being hired by a public hospital. The authorities gave preference to physicians with previous experience, but Camila had none to offer. She pleaded with officials at the Health Ministry to give her a chance. She traveled between her home and the ministry for weeks to make her case, even suggesting that she work under their supervision. The situation seemed impossible.

Camila had a second option: enrolling in a specialization training program. But first she would need to pass a national exam that was scheduled only on Saturdays. She decided to appeal to the authorities and sent an email explaining that she observed the biblical seventh-day Sabbath and asking for an alternate exam day. The return e-mail said, “No.”

The couple grew very discouraged. For two years, they had struggled to find work. They questioned why Camilla had studied medicine and why they had traveled to a country with such an impenetrable health care system.

Camila and Mateo decided to take a month off their job search to pray and to study the biblical account of the last week of Jesus’ life. As they observed Jesus in His final days, their hearts began to change. They slowly laid their dreams, fears, and sins at His feet. It was a life-changing experience. 

“He was willing to perform the miracle if we were willing to move our stone of unbelief. In an hour, God solved a problem that we hadn’t been able to fix for two years!”

One morning, they read the story of Lazarus’ death and resurrection. When Martha expressed disbelief that her brother could be resurrected at that time, Jesus replied with words that struck deep into Camila and Mateo’s hearts. “‘Did I not say to you that if you would believe you would see the glory of God?” (John 11:40, NKJV). 

“Mateo and I realized that the miracle only happened when people moved the stone of unbelief away from the tomb,” said Camila. “In that instant, I recognized my own lack of faith and asked God for forgiveness.”

Getting up from her knees, Camila wrote to the person in charge of the exam, asking to take it after sundown on Saturday. She explained that she followed the Tawrah and Injeel (the Old and New Testaments) and believed that Saturday is the only day of worship to God. 

After sending the email, Camila took one more step of faith. She signed up for the exam. She had never done anything like this before and had no idea what would happen. But she and her husband firmly believed that God could do anything, so changing the time of the exam would be a small matter for Him. They asked friends and staff members at the Middle East and North Africa Union headquarters in Beirut, Lebanon, to pray. 

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Soon, Camila received a reply. It said, “Dear Dr. Camila, I understand very well your situation, and we, as Muslims, tolerate and respect everyone’s beliefs. I have instructed the exam center to give you the exam immediately after sunset Saturday.” 

“We just began to cry with happiness and joy, praising our God Almighty,” Camila said. “He was willing to perform this miracle if we were willing to move our stone of unbelief. In an hour, God solved a problem that we hadn’t been able to fix for two years!”

But that wasn’t the end of the story. 

Camila had only eight days to study for the big exam. Again, she asked friends and church employees to pray. 

When she arrived at the exam center, the officials were waiting for her. They ushered her into the room where a group of mostly Arab doctors from various Middle Eastern countries were taking the exam already. She had three hours to answer 120 questions about subjects she had studied during her seven years of medical school. 

Four days later, Camila received the results. She had passed the exam!

More applications, interviews, and other potential obstacles lie ahead for Camila—but she’s not worried.

“How can we forget what Jesus has already done?” she says.

* Names have been changed.

Melanie Wixwat
Melanie Wixwat, the daughter of missionary parents, grew up in India and then settled in Canada. She is currently a news writer for the Middle East and North Africa Union Mission in Beirut, Lebanon.