JESUS' LOVE IN MY PRACTICE
DR. MOLAPO SELEPE INTERVIEWED BY PENNY BRINK
I first met Molapo in 1995, when I was serving as pastor for the Adventist students on the campus of the University of Cape Town, South Africa. He was a medical student, among several others in the group. Today, after an amazing journey, Dr. Selepe is a family physician based in Perth, Western Australia. He is married to accomplished musician, Mahali Selepe, from Lesotho. They and their two children, Rea and Halle, are members of the Livingston Seventh-day Adventist Church in Perth. I am proud of my young, previous church member—not only for his considerable achievements, but that, through it all, he remains an ambassador for Jesus, the Great Physician, in his practice.
Dr. Selepe, how did you develop your approach to medical practice?
“My understandings of life were sorely tested growing up in apartheid South Africa. Somehow, my faith survived and became the foundation for how I interpreted and responded to the world around me. In my medical work I am influenced by my faith and the Adventist approach to life. I hope that I pass this on to my patients.”
Are there tangible ways in which we can see this happening?
Well, let’s just take one example, stress, which lies at the foundation of many contemporary health issues. Here is the best chronic-stress management approach, according to the Royal Australian College of General Practitioners (RACGP):
PHYSICAL—Give attention to your body, mind, and soul. Eat well, sleep well, and exercise. RECREATION—Have fun in life. Make time to play, and laugh, and be silly. ARTS—Music and fine art have a way of reaching the untapped areas of life. INTELLIGENCE—Enhance your intelligence daily through books and documentaries. SOCIAL—Mingling with people brings about true contentment. EMPLOYMENT—Excel in your area of calling. Always go an extra mile. SPIRITUAL—Find your purpose and meaning in life; everything else will fall into place.
That sounds a little bit like the wholistic approach to Adventist health reform, doesn’t it? Can you tell that it makes a difference with your patients?
Indeed, it does. I recently interviewed 100 of my patients over the course of 30 days. By God's grace, I received encouraging feedback. Here are just a few of the many heartwarming comments that stood out for me:
“Doctor, you are so kind, always calm, always listening, always understanding, not one problem of ours have you not solved.”
“We thank God we found you. You have been so supportive.”
“We have asked our whole family to come see you. You are such a good doctor.”
“One thing I like about you, Doctor, [is that] you listen and you act. You know your [stuff], and you are never glued to the screen unless you are looking at the blood results or issuing a script.”
“You listen to all my [nonsense], and you catch my sense of humor. I always feel better after seeing you. Just a talk helps me so much.”
“Thank you so much. I thought I was dying when I found that big lump. You referred me promptly to the surgeons. I got such excellent care at Fiona Stanley Hospital. Thanks for acting so quickly. You saved my life! ”
It is on days like this that I find medicine extremely rewarding. Priceless! A ministry? They say a hospital specialist sees many faces—same condition. On the other hand, the family physician sees many conditions—same face. Jesus does the same for us. He sees every face in detail, as if it were the only one. He knows all our problems, and He loves us anyway! I hope my patients can see Jesus’ love through me.