During my first – and only – week at SMI last year, I was puzzled by the project calendar I received. The last day of the calendar said simply “SMI Begins!” I remember thinking, “It must be a typo, but it’s not worth saying anything.”
This year, I realized that this was no accident. In a very real way, “SMI begins” when it ends because, ultimately, its goal is to serve as a stimulus for change that lasts as we transition back to our ‘real-life’ settings.
For this final SMI update, then, I’d like to share with you excerpts from just one firsthand account of a ‘beginning’ that was made in Franz (pictured at left above) during project to give you a taste for what God has done.
“In my time here, my faith [has been] challenged. Let’s just say that the first Sunday I was here, my whole view of who Jesus is and what God’s Love means was shattered. “Jesus is necessary AND sufficient,” said Pastor Bret Nazworth of Harlingen Bible Church.
I’ve wondered, recently, with all of the confusion and the rough times in medical school, “Have I once trusted in Christ with all my heart? Have I but once given things over to Him fully?” I had to be honest and the answer was no.
So of course that night, I laid awake, asking myself if everything in my Christian life has been false, and if so, what am I doing here at Summer Medical Institute, spreading the gospel? What am I doing if I myself have stopped believing in [the gospel] because I’ve come to the realization that my faith was weak or that my faith was non-existent!??
I went up to Pastor Nazworth and told him that what he had preached shot me straight through the heart. He said, “Well, the answer to your question is relatively simple. You have to look at the object of our faith and that’s Jesus Christ.” He explained that in our works-based society, it’s easy to center things on ourselves and that even our faith is centered in ourselves. [What we need to do is]lay down our arms and just trust Jesus Himself.
Well now, wasn’t that a change! I had been looking to the wrong place the whole time! My whole life culminated in that moment and I knew once again, upon looking back at my life, that God had molded every event.
Well, despite all of the good that’s happened, I also realized that Christ still has A LOT of work to do in me, but at least this time, I won’t depend solely on my strength and I’ll know what it means, a little bit more, to trust in God. It’s not about my trust, but WHO I trust in.”
What a precious gift – to know that all of life depends on God, not on us. This is what SMI is all about – coming face-to-face with Christ in new and powerful ways that leave us changed forever. God continued his good work in each one of us this summer, and it has been our privilege to share that with you. We pray that you have been encouraged!
Bryan & Sharon