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Dr. Rebekah Naylor inspires GO teams during Commissioning Chapel

November 18, 2022

OBU held its annual fall Global Outreach commissioning chapel on Wednesday, November 17. The University commissioned students, faculty and staff who will be serving this winter during the university’s J-Term on Global Outreach trips (GO trips) and studying abroad.

The commissioning service allows the student body to worship together and then pray over the teams of people who will represent the University all around the world.

During the service, the University commissioned 67 students, faculty and staff. The GO teams will be traveling to international destinations including Poland, Romania, Kenya, South Asia, Greece and Israel.

Those students going to Poland and Romania will be assisting Ukranian refugees during this time of conflict. Students visiting other countries will take part in various community service projects, meeting physical and spiritual needs, and serving to advance the gospel through ministry in various cities.

Dr. Rebekah Naylor, missionary, church planter and doctor, delivered a message to those attending emphasizing the call in scripture to be salt and light in the world. Her teaching challenged the GO teams to reflect the light of Christ in the darkness and like salt, to preserve, enhance and be a healing agent in the lives of those they meet.

Naylor graduated from Baylor University in 1964 with a B.A. degree in chemistry and subsequently from Vanderbilt University School of Medicine, receiving the M.D. degree in 1968. She then became the first female resident in general surgery at Southwestern Medical Center and Parkland Hospital in Dallas, completing training in 1973.

Rebekah was appointed by the International Mission Board of the Southern Baptist Convention as a missionary to India in 1973. Arriving at the new Bangalore Baptist Hospital in early 1974, she launched a missionary career that included busy clinical practice, administrative responsibility, and teaching. She led major expansion of the facilities and services. In the 1990’s she organized training programs in allied health disciplines, set up accredited residency training programs for doctors, initiated a training program for chaplains, and established the Rebekah Ann Naylor School of Nursing in 1996. During all of the years, Rebekah was involved in church development in the state of Karnataka working alongside Indian pastors and church planters, serving as strategy coordinator for the state from 1999 until 2009, when she retired from active IMB service.

Returning to the States for family reasons in 2002, Rebekah joined the faculty at UT Southwestern Medical Center and retired as Clinical Associate Professor of Surgery in 2010. Serving as global healthcare consultant first for Baptist Global Response and now for the International Mission Board, she is mobilizing health care personnel to meet medical needs all around the world. She continues to make frequent trips to India to participate in the ministry of Bangalore Baptist Hospital. In 2016 the American College of Surgeons in association with Pfizer, Inc., awarded her the Surgical Humanitarian Award. She received an honorary doctorate of missiology from Oklahoma Baptist University in 2018. A biography is available entitled Rebekah Ann Naylor, M.D.: Missionary Surgeon in Changing Times by Camille Lee Hornbeck.

OBU’s  Avery T. Willis Center for Global Outreach, with Dr. Joy Turner as director, seeks to partner with students, faculty, and staff to engage a diverse world through various trips in the U.S. and throughout the world. It’s mission is to provides support and opportunities for students to gain a global perspective through the integration of faith and education.

Learn more about OBU’s Global Outreach program.