An Adventure and a Faith-Building Journey

The Global Missions Health Conference (GMHC) is the largest healthcare missions conference in the world. It will be held in November in Louisville, Kentucky. A past attendee shares how, through the conference, God led him to use medical skills and talents overseas.

(Audio version of this article:)

By Daniel*

As a first-year medical student in Philadelphia in 1989, I was privileged to attend a retreat for medical and dental students and hear the testimony of Thomas and Cynthia Hale. Over the years, I was inspired by their example of following the Lord into overseas service using the gifts of medicine that God gave them and leaving with their family in the prime of their lives to go to Nepal, a very poor country.

After finishing medical school and residency, a few short-term mission trips, working, marriage, and finally preparing for long-term missionary service, I was given the second privilege to attend GMHC in Louisville, Kentucky for the first time in 2009.

It felt like home.

It was not just the awesome experience of worshipping in music and song amongst a crowd of people like in Heaven, but it was the feeling that we were one in purpose to take the Gospel to the ends of the earth. And this was done by using the skills and talents that God had been developing in us to take us on a more exciting journey. For me, that meant preparing to leave my job in the U.S., sell a home, a car, pack up our stuff, and commit to going abroad with my wife, who was pregnant at the time.

We left in early 2011, on the eve of one of the greatest winter blizzards to hit the Midwest. God gave us the grace to depart from O’Hare Airport with all our luggage and land safely in East Asia.

We served for just eight years overseas, but with a lifetime’s worth of stories and adventures to tell. That included encountering and interacting with a people group who to this day is still one of the most resistant to the Gospel.

It also included understanding about how much more I had to grow as a disciple of Christ in my own maturity as a believer, despite all the preparation.

Living in another culture, which included taking classes, speaking, writing, and reading foreign languages that one is not accustomed to at all, was quite a culture shock. But this shock led to molding and maturing me to see how God was working in the world, and especially about how I could be used as a tiny part of His Kingdom work.

As an attendee of GMHC, many times I was encouraged and inspired to know brothers and sisters with the same background and passion. In addition to meeting Dr. Hale, I was tremendously encouraged by the mentorship of Dr. Neil Thompson who understood deeply the need of balancing our role as a medical doctor while also fulfilling the duties and calling of every missionary, namely the acquisition of language and culture to a competency level required to engage with the unreached people group our team was wanting to reach.

Through GMHC, I have had the enormous privilege to be connected in relationships with several other healthcare missionaries in different parts of the world, helping me to see that the Body of Christ is truly a global community. Such relationships have blessed me to have a clearer direction in the work of the Kingdom, part of which is serving with OMF.

It has also opened the door to other opportunities I would not have had. For instance, I have been privileged to be connected to a group of veteran medical missionaries who have created a new course designed to equip and encourage health care professionals in cross-cultural work, similar to the format of the Perspectives Course. For more details, see https://www.cghiperspective.com/.

More recently, the Lord led me back to another home, which is working in a faith-based Christian health center, serving the poor in Chicago. In following the Spirit and His leading through GMHC, and serving overseas with a missions agency, God opened the door for me to return to the U.S. and work there to this day.

Over time, I learned about the implications of my experience in missions, one of which was being more intentional to hold a prayer meeting for an unreached people group. In the prayer group, we have met more recently younger people who have been led by the Holy Spirit to advance further in their commitment to missions. Some have decided to go short-term; others have decided to commit themselves to long-term service. But many of them are continuing to pray for a certain people group, while being on mission in their life and work in their home country.

It has truly been an adventure and a faith-building journey of seeing God glorified.

(*Name Changed)

Learn more about this year’s Global Missions Health Conference by visiting: https://www.medicalmissions.com/events/gmhc-2022

 

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