A Team Approach

Again and again, the Bible emphasizes that our ministries for the Lord are meant to be a team endeavor.  Jesus sent the disciples out two-by-two.  Later, Paul talked about the church as one body with many parts.  Peter described God’s people as a temple, made out of “living stones.”

As another year of ministry continues, Sharon and I are so glad we aren’t in this alone.  God has provided other co-laborers to share the work with us, making it far more effective for the Kingdom.  In this update, I want to take a moment to introduce you to our local CMDA Ministry Council and how they’re impacting students in the area.

Dr. Charlene Brock, a pediatrician, mentors our leaders at Drexel, all of whom happen to be female this year.  They get together for bible/book study, prayer and mentoring.  Charlene has done a fantastic job balancing her career and four children for many years, and is a terrific role model for the students.  She also serves as our Council Chair and has been a great resource for us personally.

Dr. Jerry Hric is a neonatologist, and he and his wife Susan have been hosting students from “SOM” (the medical school in nearby Stratford, NJ) for a weekly bible study in Philippians.  They have been instrumental in rebuilding the ministry at SOM, which had been weaker over the past year or two.  Jerry has also been on campus frequently and helped the leaders in thinking strategically about reaching unbelievers.

Drs. Jim & Thanh Kirkpatrick have been critical to strengthening God’s ministry at Penn’s medical campus.  Jim, a cardiologist, has gathered medical faculty for weekly prayer and fellowship, launched a faculty-student mentoring program, and encouraged his colleagues to become more involved.  Thanh, a pediatrician, has done a great deal in recruiting female physicians to mentor the female medical students, even approaching her bible study to fill in needs that could not be met by others at Penn.

Ms. Deborah Moss is a nurse practitioner at Esperanza Health Center in North Philadelphia.  She has helped host and organize monthly medical outreaches sponsored by MCO, and has a huge heart for holistic outreach in urban environments.  As a nurse practitioner, she also helps our ministry remember that healthcare is much broader than physicians.

Dr. Rich Shoemaker is an emergency physician and serves the Temple campus along with his wife, Ana.  Last year, when the leaders were all women, they hosted the leaders at their home regularly for dinner and mentoring.  This year, they have continued to host an annual fall retreat at their family’s mountain home.  This is a real rallying point for the students as the year begins, helping to build important relationships that will continue throughout the year.  Rich also mentors some of the men on campus, and models for them how to invest in others.

Dr. Jim Weidner is our newest council member, and, along with two other physicians, is heading up the newly-formed CMDA physicians group in South Jersey.  This group meets monthly for encouragement, fellowship and prayer.  Jim’s site will also be accepting students from the new (opens fall 2012) Cooper Medical School for their pediatric rotations, which will open up additional opportunities for outreach and mentoring.

Finally, I’ll mention briefly that God gave Sharon and I another wonderful home bible study breakfast last week.  Even though exams are upon the students, 18 came out for another wonderful time of study, fellowship and prayer.  This past weekend, I (Bryan) also had the opportunity to do give a medical evangelism workshop for 35 healthcare students/professionals from one of our partner churches at their retreat at the shore.  Many are excited about receiving a fuller version of the training.

I hope this begins to give you a feel for all that God is doing through our team.  It’s far, far bigger than Sharon and I.  In addition to our ministry council, I’d like to also acknowledge specifically the efforts of Dr. Loren & Anne Chen, Dr. Karen Fritz & the Medical Campus Outreach ministry, Drs. Steven & Joy Greer, Drs. Josh & Susie Uy, and Aaron & Dr. Amanda Wonnacott to name a few.

It really is true, as Jesus said, that “the harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few.”  We are so thankful, though, that God has provided these co-laborers in reaching healthcare students and professionals here in Philadelphia and South Jersey.  Together we are making an impact that will last!

Finally, I’d like to specifically ask for your prayers for our financial situation.  As of this month, our account has been in the negative substantially (about $6,000) for the first time in many years.  This has been primarily the result of the extended financial downturn.  While CMDA is able to ‘float’ us for a time, if our account reaches a $10,000 deficit part of our salary will be withheld until this corrected.    We are working hard to do what we can, but understand that we need God’s blessing for our efforts to be successful.  So, please join us in concentrated prayer in this area.

That said, we are entirely confident in God’s call to this ministry, and thus, in His desire to provide all we need.  Thank you, faithful friends, for your giving and prayers.  We value you more than you could ever know!

Warmly,

Bryan & Sharon

Please join us in these prayers & praises:

  • Praise God for all He’s doing on our area campuses through our ministry team!
  • Praise God for a great medical evangelism workshop and breakfast bible study in our home.  Please pray for the next one on Oct. 29th.
  • Pray that our students are able to grow in their relationship with God.  As exams bring greater stress, this gets much harder.  We need wisdom in terms of how best to help the students at this time of the year.
  • Pray for the one-on-one, and smaller group, meetings many of us have with the students.  These are key times of impacting them for the Kingdom and, again, much wisdom and the Spirit’s power are needed for that to bear lasting fruit.
  • Pray for God’s blessing on our ministry account, as we continue to need new supporters and a small ‘cushion’ in our account to weather difficult financial seasons such as this one.
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