2022 Global Missions Health Conference
The Global Missions Health Conference (GMHC) is the largest healthcare missions conference in the world. It will be held in November in Louisville, Kentucky. Beth Larson, a family medicine doctor in Minneapolis, shares how God spoke into her life through GMHC.
5 Minute Read
By Beth Larson
I first heard about the Global Missions Health Conference (GMHC) in 2013 in my third year of family medicine practice. This seemed a little “late in the game” for me as it appeared to be a medical missions conference geared more towards young, vibrant and eager students of all medical professions. However, after attending this conference four times in the last eight years, it has meant a lot more to me than just a conference to spark a young person’s interest in medical missions.
Every year I went to the conference, I felt the Lord provided different messages for me through the guest speakers. The first year, I remember hearing a retired general surgeon tell story after story of his upbringing in East Asia and then returning to the mission field as a surgeon in Africa. He recounted several harrowing stories of nearly losing his life, and I was held in suspense. I couldn’t believe he was standing before us at the age of 80+ and able to tell us his testimony of God’s great love, protection, and faithfulness.
That same morning, a lawyer for our federal government shared about helping to bring justice to those enslaved in trafficking. I was saddened by her stories of girls and boys whose childhoods had been stolen by sinful men and women who were selfish and greedy. I was angry at the injustice that occurs every day in our country and around the world and wondered why we are so unaware of it– or maybe we don’t even care.
This Christian lawyer gave me hope that there are believers in the government whom God has appointed to do justice, to love mercy and to walk humbly with him. We can pray for them to be sustained and to continue to have hope in Jesus Christ in their very difficult jobs. It also made me more aware of trafficking, something I didn’t know much about. I went to more presentations at future conferences and saw how my knowledge could be made practical as a family medicine doctor in the States.
The next year I attended, a friend that I had met earlier at another medical missions conference was one of the speakers. God spoke powerful words through this young fellow, and his presentation reminded me that God uses each person who accepts his gift of grace for the kingdom of God. He can do far more than we ask or think, no matter how much training or experience we have.
Trusting a Good and Loving God
Last year, a speaker shared about going to the field where God allowed, or even made, the unexpected happen and continuing to trust the Lord in all of it. This touched my heartstrings as I thought back to my two years in Southeast Asia. I had gone with my own expectations only to be both surprised and disappointed at what he laid before me. At the time, I had trouble seeing and trusting that God was good and loving.
When I returned to the States and was processing and praying about my time overseas, I heard about many missionaries’ experiences including those of this missionary surgeon. I began to appreciate how going with open hands and a humble heart is so important in our walk with God.
At my age I am not really seen as one who is the learner (even though I still am) but more one who is a teacher and mentor. I feel sad that I am getting that old, but I have learned to embrace that role in the last few years. I really enjoyed last year’s conference when a fourth-year medical student and a first-year NP student befriended me. We would see each other occasionally and meet up for meals for mutual encouragement.
Even though I wasn’t a lecturer or a speaker, I tended to forget that God had given me nine years of family practice experience and many years of experience on the mission field both short-term and long-term. God is an amazing Redeemer, who redeems our time and experiences. He never wastes them. Although I am not on the field now nor did I stay as long as I thought I would when I first set out in 2015, I am so very thankful to God for his loving-kindness and for how much I learned about him and myself overseas.
There is so much more that I have loved and gained from GMHC. One of my favorite things is connecting with people since I naturally love relating to others with similar loves and interests and really enjoy connecting people to each other too. It has been good for my heart to reconnect with OMF members I knew from before and to meet new ones
OMF will always feel like family to me. I find it fascinating to walk among the exhibitor tables and see familiar faces (from my short-term trips) or find an organization I’ve never heard of and learn more about their heart for missions. I find all these mission organizations are like different parts of the body of Christ with unique members, personalities, resources, people groups, tools and methods, but they are all there for God’s purpose and glory. They all bring something different to the table to introduce God to this broken world.
I have been blessed beyond measure in being able to attend this conference multiple times and be shown the love of the Father through it. GMHC has shown me the heart of God, that he loves the people he has created and he wants them to know Him personally. And he wants us, his people, to be a part of his redemptive story. Praise God “who is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think, according to the power at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, forever and ever. Amen.” (Ephesians 3:20-21, ESV).
Learn more about this year’s Global Missions Health Conference by visiting: https://www.medicalmissions.com/events/gmhc-2022
About the Author: Beth Larson is the beloved daughter of the Most High King. She lives in Minneapolis, MN and loves being a part of her adoptive family’s lives. She is a family medicine doctor in the burbs and wants to see her patients learn what it means to be healthy with God, with others and with themselves. She is learning to truly be present where God has her, to be planted and flourish in whatever and with whomever He puts before her. If that is overseas, awesome, if that is local, wonderful.