THE ARCHAEOLOGY OF OUR FAITH: STRATA #3
Sarah Gross Lapp (1837-1902) was known as the “Horse and Buggy Doctor” in Adams County, Nebraska. Berfore moving to Nebraska, Sarah and her husband Samuel Lapp, lived in Pennsylvania where seven of their eleven children were born. Of those seven, six died in early childhood which motivated her to study medicine. Because medical schools were male bastions, she trained in a hospital in Philadelpia under the mentorship of a Dr. George Keller. After a few years of study she passed the medical exam and became a licensed doctor. The Lapps moved to Nebraska in the 1870s. where, with her horse and buggy, she traveled across the praries to attend to those who needed medical assistance. People marveled at her courage in making home visits come rain or shine, snow or sleet. Even though she was a general practitioner, she assisted with the delivery of over 1,200 babies. Dr. Lapp was also known for her unusual remedies. Consider, for example, the young boy who was guant and pale from being indoors all winter. When Dr. Gross was called to the home she recommended outdoor play. She took a bucket of water, poured it on the ground and told the boy to get his feet and hands all muddy. When he began to lick some of the mud off his fingers, she adivsed the parents that his malnutritioin made him crave the minerals in the soil. Within a week, he was well. In Nebraska, the Lapps had four children, all boys. Two became Mennonite ministers and two sojourned to India as missionaries. Mahlon, the eldest built a clinic in Dhamtari, India which today is a fully modern hospital. The youngest, son, George, also went to Dhamtari, India where he established an orphanage and school for the lower caste children. Eventually a church was established in that village and Mahatma Ghandi spoke in the courtyard of this church during his nonviolent campaign to free India from British rule. Son George also served as an Interim President of Goshen College. Sarah Gross Lapp’s commitment to service and education has been passed down across continents and subsequent generations in America. The examples are too numerious to mention. Surely the Lord would say of Dr. Sarah Gross Lapp, “Well done thou good and faithful servant.“
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The Living Mirror: Archaeology of Our Faith