Fall Student & Resident Retreat

Fall 2015 Philadelphia Student & Resident Retreat

Friday, September 11 (6p) – Saturday, September 12th (8p)

Location: The Welcoming Place | 1:15 west of the city in beautiful Lancaster County, PA

Ever feel like – slowly, but surely – your life has become all about school or your work?  That you want to connect more with God and others but don’t know because your life is so busy?

If that’s you, you’re not alone.  And although there are no easy answers, God’s Word and Christian community offer real hope even when training threatens to make our lives one-dimensional.

Join us for our annual fall retreat where we’ll consider, in community, Bigger Than You: Following Jesus in Your Training to A Life of Meaning, Healing & Growth.

Mealtime 2012

This will be a great chance to:

  • find rest and refreshment
  • develop relationships with your peers from around the city who understand exactly what you’re going through
  • connect with mentors who have gone before you
  • add some balance to your life and start your year off on the right foot

All allied health, dental and medical students and residents welcome!

More details and online registration may be found here.

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For The Nations, From Philadelphia

Our panel at Fall Intermed.

Our panel at Fall Intermed.

Throughout the year, we keep a pretty full ministry calendar. Sometimes, though, God surprises us.

That’s exactly what happened a few months ago when I received an unexpected call from Steve, the CEO of CCHF, Christ Community Health Fellowship, a ministry that promotes Christian healthcare among our country’s underserved populations.

He explained that CCHF’s board, comprised of physicians and leaders from Christian clinics around the country, would be here in Philadelphia for their board meeting in late September.  ‘Would it be OK’, he asked, ‘if we put together an event where his board could interact with our local students and help them gain a vision for their future?’

‘Why yes’, I replied, ‘it would be more than OK’!

So that’s what we did.  On September 20th, we held our ‘Fall Intermed’ at Esperanza Health Center around the theme of using healthcare to serve the underserved. Roughly 80 healthcare students, residents and providers from all around the city gathered to:

  • Learn about the overwhelming need for quality healthcare right here in America, and, how healthcare providers are uniquely positioned to share the gospel. (Did you know that a Gallup polls shows that people trust their physicians and dentists more than their pastors?)
  • Hear real stories of God’s faithfulness from real clinicians serving real patients in Christ’s name.  It was inspiring to see how deeply these providers love their patients and get involved in their lives, as opposed to the usual (and understandable) tendency to hold them at arm’s length.
  • Receive a strong challenge to hold onto, or rekindle, their passion for missions. So many times this is lost amidst the financial, emotional and spiritual toll training exacts.
  • Prayerfully consider – near the end of our time – a next action step to practically respond to what was shared.
  • Eat great food.  Generous contributions made it possible to eat Chick-Fil-A not once, but twice.  This might have been the most exciting part of the event.  (Just kidding!)

You may remember that 1 in 5 physicians in America (and countless other healthcare providers) passes through Philadelphia for some portion of his/her training.  As a result, we recognize that God has entrusted us with a special opportunity to share Christ’s love with the country – and even the nations – simply by being faithful right here.

Thanks to God, beginning with a surprise phone call from Steve, we took another major step forward toward reaching that goal.

Thank you, friends, for making it possible through your prayers and gifts.  Together we are making a tangible difference in the lives of the patients and colleagues our local students and providers touch every day.  As the years go by and students continue to go throughout the country, your investment is multiplying exponentially.

For the Gospel,

Bryan & Sharon

For prayer & praise:

  • Please praise God for a fantastic Fall Intermed and the many people who helped it happen (especially CCHF, Esperanza and our student leadership team).  Please pray that God leads those who came to take specific follow-up steps of love and obedience in response!
  • Please pray for our upcoming Fall Student & Resident Retreat (Oct 11-12). Specifically, please ask God to lead many to register (ends Oct 1st – tonight) and connect deeply with God and others in their situation.  Also, please pray for me and the providers as we interact with students and lead sessions.  Finally, pray for Sharon as she provides a great deal of the logistical support for the event.
  • Praise God for many new first-year students throughout the city!  Each year God is faithful.  Pray that God grants discernment to know who to invest most deeply in, and, how best to do it.  We want to make a lasting impact!
  • Praise God for three student couples Sharon & I are counseling, two of whom I’ll be marrying in the winter/spring.  Pray for us to provide wise counsel, and, to model the sort of marriage we desire for them to have.
  • Finally, please pray for God’s rich financial provision.  We are at a lower point right now.  I’ll be attending a fund-raising conference Oct 28-29 to gain fresh ideas for adjusting our strategy so that we can setup the ministry to accomplish all that God has in mind.  Your prayers for the conference and resulting fruit are coveted!

 

Fall Student & Resident Retreat!

Group shot - croppedWhat would make this year a great one for you?

If you’re like most, slowing down long enough to ask (let alone answer) that question can be a source of stress!  Although there are no easy answers, God’s Word provides a solid foundation we can return to even when training threatens to make our lives one-dimensional.

Join us for our fall retreat where we’ll consider, in community, What Matters Most: Laying a Strategic Foundation For Serving In Healthcare.  This will be a great chance to be refreshed and develop relationships with your peers and even mentors from around the city!  All allied health, dental and medical students and residents welcome!  (Professionals, please contact us for additional information on pricing and involvement.  We’d love to have you present as mentors!)

Here are the details:

  • Sat., Oct. 11 (9a) – Sun., Oct. 12 (lunch)
  • Held at The Welcoming Place in Akron, PA (just 1.25 hours from Philly; same location as last year)
  • Theme: What Matters Most: Laying a Solid Foundation for Your Year
  • Cost of $40 includes lodging and all meals
  • Graduate panel (students/residents can ask anything) likely held early Sat. afternoon

Register now right here!  See you there!

Summer Snapshots

Chao & Stoudt Crop

Chaos & Stoudts at the rehearsal dinner

Sharon and I recently took a self-paced DVD course in photography. Although we’re not exactly shutterbugs yet, one of the principles that kept coming up went something like this:

Don’t miss life in the process of taking the perfect picture – just take a few snapshots and move on!

This month, we’re going to give you just that – a few snapshots of what God did.  We hope you’ll enjoy reading about them as much as we did participating in them!

  • June 12th – met with a ministry leader and friend about supporting a new campus in our area.  One of our council members serves as adjunct faculty there, and, there’s a strong faculty adviser already in place, so we’re excited to see how we can help.
  • June 17th – first meeting with a new couple we’re mentoring.  Great time getting to know them and their stories.
  • June 18th – nice time of discipleship with one of our campus leaders.  In response to the question, ‘What was one key thing God has been teaching you this year?’, he mentioned ‘God has taught me to be quieter and listen more to what others have to say’.  Priceless.
  • later that day – reconnected with a physician I hadn’t seen in some time.  I appreciated his candor in asking for prayer to overcome cynicism and living for comfort.  His request itself is a sign of God’s work.
  • June 21st – spoke with a physician who wants to get involved with PCOM, one of our medical campuses.  Her willingness to jump in and see what God will do is exactly what the students need!
  • June 22nd – hosted a gathering for students, residents and practicing professionals at our home.  God gave a true spirit of openness and vulnerability, with a theme of ‘trusting God when life is hard’ emerging among our professionals.  Great for those who are younger to listen in and learn.
  • June 25th – met with a student leader at one of our dental campuses.  Met with two of his co-leaders on different days because their schedules are so intense we couldn’t coordinate!  We’re working together to see how we can create a community in this environment.
  • later that day – met with a local pastor who’s completed medical school before receiving a call to ministry.  Curious to see how God will let us work together!
  • July 2nd – terrific time of discipleship with a student.  God used his questions about a relationship and his future calling to lead us into even deeper issues that, more fully explored, will lead to great blessing in his life.
  • July 4-6th – officiated the wedding of two of our student leaders!  We had done their pre-engagement/marital counseling, so it was a privilege to be there for their special day.  We also had the chance to visit two couples from the area who are good friends and supporters of our ministry.

So, there you have it… or, some of it, anyway!  A lot more happened, but hopefully this gives you a feel for this past month.  Thank you, thank you for allowing us to do what we do!

With love,

Bryan & Sharon

For prayer & praise:

  • praise for a balanced month where we enjoyed time with students, but, as many are away or busy, also with other people who are both friends and essential to the ministry.
  • praise for the privilege to share in the Tim’s & Tiff’s wedding.  It was such a great joy to see them officially starting their new life together!
  • praise that God has provided us with a cost-effective, solid car I can use for ministry. Thanks to the many, many people who prayed, networked and contributed to this effort!
  • praise for our first-ever picnic for residents and fellows (7/12) and the two local physicians who graciously hosted.  Those who came want to meet on a semi-regular basis and stay connected with each other.
  • pray for our support development efforts to yield fruit.
  • pray for our next summer gathering (7/20) and citywide campus leadership training (8/23).
  • pray that our family’s time away at ‘Joni & Friends Camp’ (7/28-8/1) is both restful and a time to grow in what it means to have Matthew as part of our family.

Being A Team Player: It Starts With You

 

athletics-868626-sLast week, I began a new summer series on ‘Being A Team Player’.  In case you missed it, here’s the bottom line:

If we want to make a significant, lasting impact, we need to work with the people around us – to be part of teams.  But, because we all bring our baggage with us, this is much harder than it seems.  In this series, I’ll share some of what God is teaching me about bridging this gap in the hope that it will be helpful for you, too. Let’s dive in.

Principle #1: To be an effective team member, you’ve got to start with yourself

This is fairly intuitive, right? At the end of the day, a team is made of individual players and it’s good or bad depending on the skill and commitment each person brings.

If we look in the mirror, though, we often don’t operate like this. Here are some lies and excuses I see in my own life. Maybe you can identify.

  • I can do my part, but no one else is really trying, so why bother?
  • I’m not sure I bring all that much to the table. Other people seem to have it covered, anyway.
  • I’ve got to focus on school/rotations/exams (or my job, my kids’ activities, making sure we have enough to retire, or…). After all, Jesus has called me to this – he doesn’t want me to be unfaithful to that, right?
  • I’m already being faithful; do I really need to improve?
  • In all honesty, being part of this isn’t all that important. I’d rather spend my time elsewhere.

Just to be clear, I never verbalize these things – I’m much too spiritual for that! Instead, these are the things that surface when I’m really, really honest.

We don’t have space to address all these excuses here, but Ephesians 4:15-16 is a good start:

we are to grow up in every way into him who is the head, into Christ, 16 from whom the whole body, joined and held together by every joint with which it is equipped, when each part is working properly, makes the body grow so that it builds itself up in love.

 

First, Paul says that each of us is part of ‘the whole body’ – that is, the church. Ultimately, that was God’s choice, so we need to be committed to other Christians around us. (And others who are not of faith; but, that’s not the point of this post). That will mean, at the minimum, being part of a local church, but I believe it often has other expressions, too. Like your campus fellowship or leadership team. Or, a local ministry you’re excited about. If God has called me to a particular ‘team’, it’s a privilege to participate.

 

Second, Paul says that everyone is critical. ‘When each part is working properly…’ No one is unimportant or overly important to the team. If people rely on you too much, or, don’t value your role enough, there are ways to begin addressing that, but the reality is that you are an essential part of God’s work where he has placed you.  

 

Third, everyone is called to ‘grow’. We can’t stay where we are – we have to move forward, specifically, by becoming more like Christ (that’s Paul’s point at the end of v.15; see 4:17-6:20 for the details). No amount of skill can make up for a stagnant walk with God.  Conversely, you don’t need to be a ‘superstar’ or off-the-charts at something to make a huge impact.  If you simply pursue Christ day after day, you will have a ridiculous amount to offer.  This is incredibly hard in the midst of busy lives, but it’s our privilege and calling.  

 

Finally, your contribution makes a tangible difference. Notice the result: ‘when each part is working properly… the body grow[s] so that it builds itself up in love’. You can only do your part, but when everyone takes that approach, great things happen.

 

The best teams I’ve been part embody these principles. It’s never perfect, but their members believe they’re there by God’s design, so they understand they’re important to the health of the team. They try to keep taking small steps forward. When those (simple) things are in place, amazing things happen over time.

 

Last time, I promised each post will contain an action step, something to think and pray over to help you grow. Here we go:

  • Think about one team you believe God has placed you on. Which (if any) of the above excuses do you find yourself struggling with?
  • Which of the four principles from Ephesians 4:15-16 applies most to your situation?
  • What one specific step of change could you take this week in response?

 

Personally, I’m convicted that I need to be more practically invested in my local community (small) group. God is showing me that I don’t always believe my efforts make a difference, but this week I’m going to pray for each of our members, trusting that God hears my prayers and is going to respond. That’s it – it’s not rocket science or earth-shattering – but I trust God will help me keep moving forward.

 

I trust that, as you take your own small steps forward, God will do the same for you.

 

 

Strengthening Our Foundation

Dr Jim Reynolds, sharing with the students during one of our last brunches for the semester

Dr Jim Reynolds, sharing with the students during one of our last brunches for the semester

Now that June is here, our students are either gone or engrossed with finals or board exams.  Thus begins our summer, which will last until the students return in mid-August.

Although we miss them tremendously, it is also a special season where God gives us time to strengthen our foundation, the part of our ministry that, although unseen, provides the basis for the more obvious, public parts of our work.  In this update, we’d like to let you in on part of that foundational work.

Our Council 

Without a doubt, the volunteer healthcare professionals that help us in our work are a critical part of our ‘foundation’.  Some serve on our ‘council’ in an official capacity where they play various roles – working with students, spear-heading new ministry efforts, and/or, helping me think through issues and vision on a more strategic level.  Over the summer, I check in with our council to see how they feel about the role they’re playing, and, how we might work together to put them in a place where their gifts, time and talents may serve the Kingdom best in the context of our ministry.  

Residents Ministry

One of those new offerings is our ministry to residents, those who have graduated from medical school but still have (approximately) 3-7 years of further training before becoming full-fledged physicians.  Working roughly 80 hours per week, they are busy, but need to continue connecting with God and other Christians so that, at the end of their training, they will be in a position to serve their patients and colleagues.  (And, simply be in a healthy place themselves).  

To that end, I’m thankful for Drs Alex & Kim Lin, who have agreed to take the lead with this.  We’re busy identifying residents in the area and will then invite them to a ‘welcome picnic’ on July 12th, where they’ll have the chance to meet others in their situation and hospital for future connection.  In addition, we’ve been asking them what would serve them best given their unique situations.  No doubt there will be lots of trial, error and adjustment along the way, but we’re excited we can take steps to support them in this critical time!  

Growing Our Support Team

This past year has been one of tremendous blessing, but it takes an increasing amount of resources as our vision grows.  Sharon, for example, has been serving as our part-time administrative and ministry assistant (focusing on our women) for roughly 9 months now. She has been such a blessing to our work that it would be hard to overstate her impact.  At the same time, her salary, in addition to normal donor attrition, has led to the need to increase our support base.

So, over the summer, we plan on asking you, our current supporters, for the names of a few others who might want to hear about our work.  It’s also a fantastic opportunity to catch up and hear how we can be in prayer for you and your family!

Well, there you have it.  A short, but representative, look at the unglamorous yet essential work on the foundation we tend to during the summer.  The truth is that you, through your quiet prayers and gifts, are also an important part of that foundation yourselves.  Without you, the whole house would crumble in a second!  But with you, each day God is adding to it in ways that only He can fully comprehend.

In Christ’s love,

Bryan & Sharon

For prayer & praise:

  • praise God for the conclusion of another year of phenomenal student ministry at our 8 campuses.  Many, many signs of God’s work in and through our students!
  • praise God for the blessing Sharon has been to our work as her role has expanded.
  • please pray for the informal summer gatherings on 6/22 & 7/20 at our home.
  • pray that God helps us to identify our Christian residents (they can be difficult to find due to busyness and isolation), that they can attend our welcome picnic on 7/12, and, that we can figure out how to best serve them throughout the year.
  • pray that God connects us with new individuals and churches who will support God’s work through us.
  • pray that God provides me (Bryan) with another car.  Mine recently died and we are working on a very limited budget in finding a new one.  (Let me know if you hear of anything!)

 

 

Transition Time!

relay raceThe look of stress on the faces I pass says it (without words) all.

This last month before classes end, and ‘boards’ begin, is a trying time for most of our students.  Things have a way of piling up at the end of the semester, and (understandably) everyone tends to be a little more distracted and a little less available.

So, every May, we adjust our strategy.  Our meetings with students are less frequent and shorter.  We check in more through emails and texts: ‘How’s it going? How can we pray for you?’  And, with new leaders onboard, I work hard to set up meetings with them to strategize for the coming year, address any areas of concern, and help them establish their key priorities.

To give you a feel for how it works, I had an especially good meeting with the leaders from one of our dental campuses.  They’ve been extremely committed in re-launching the group during their first two years, but, understand their commitment next year will be more sporadic because of clinic, which involves seeing patients.  In addition, we will only have 1 leader next year who won’t be in clinic, but he has some other factors that may make it harder for him to ‘run point’ and lead the club.  All of this can feel overwhelming, and, make it challenging to continue the group’s recent success.

This is why I’m here!

Over lunch, I helped them develop a simple, but effective strategy:

  • reach out to first-years – they will be our future leaders and help the fellowship stay strong;
  • I will support the leader who’s not in clinic – so he has guidance and doesn’t have to ‘go it alone’;
  • keep meeting weekly – to provide continuity and much-needed refreshment, even during exams and seasons of busyness;
  • seek the support of the professor who’s been coming – although faculty can’t come frequently, their example of following Christ in the academy is irreplaceable.

It sounds simple – almost too simple, right?  It’s certainly true that this would not qualify as ‘rocket science’, but in the midst of schedules with precious little time, I feel privileged to help the students stay encouraged and take the small steps that will help them obtain God’s vision for their group.

Each campus leadership team’s needs are different, but real nonetheless.  As leaders stay focused on the Lord and His vision for their group, their fellowships thrive.  Thank you for making it possible for Sharon & I to support our leaders; together, we’re making a difference.

In Christ’s love,

Bryan & Sharon

Please join us in praise & prayer for the following items:

  • Praise for great leadership teams at our area campuses and the opportunity to speak into their lives.  Please pray that God gives all of us wisdom to discern His vision for each, and, the strength to live it out.
  • Pray that God gives the students strength to finish well academically, and, to keep growing in their love for Him.
  • Pray for our ministry team as we start to minister to medical residents (the stage in training just after medical school, but before becoming a full-fledged physician).
  • Finally, please pray that the Lord provides a reliable, cost-effective car for me as mine is, as they say, near the end of the road.

 

 

 

Changes!

For those of us in the Northeast, this past week or two has finally brought a change in the weather.  We’re still experiencing a colder day here and there, but temperatures are now generally in the range worthy of the designation ‘spring’.

It may be coincidental, but, spring is also always a season of change for our ministry.  We’d like to share just a few of them with you here.

Bittersweet goodbyes.  On March 21st, our graduating fourth-year students went through ‘the match’, the process that determines where they’ll spend the next 3-5 years of their training as residents.  Although most are moving on to new locations, we’re thankful that a few are staying close.  Without fail, there are always some surprises as the computer algorithm works its magic.  (Under the Lord’s direction, of course!)

Jen, a graduating student from Jefferson, was one of this year’s pleasant surprises. We’ve know her really well for these last four years and watched her serve as a key leader at her campus.  Along the way, God led Jen into an interest in general surgery, a specialty that definitely fits who God has made her.  But, we (including Jen) didn’t expect her to match here in Philly, so we were overjoyed we learned that she’ll be with us for another 5 years!  Although most of our other students will be going to other locations, we trust that God will multiply what we and others invested in them during their time here.

New campus leaders.  Each year, each campus fellowship gets an entirely new leadership team as the year’s current leaders move on to their clinical rotations, (generally) month-long experiences where they learn about the different branches of medicine.  Every year, we marvel at God’s faithfulness in providing for each campus group new students who are ready to step up and serve.  Over the next few months, we’ll be meeting with the new leaders, helping them discover and implement God’s vision for their particular campus.

One Constant.  Throughout all the changes, one thing remains the same: our call to invest deeply in the students God has given us.  Currently, Sharon & I are involved with ‘couples counseling’ (i.e., pre-engagement or -marital) for 6 different student couples, one of whom I just had the privilege of marrying.  In thinking through my schedule for the next few weeks, I realized that I have been meeting with about 15 men on an (at least) somewhat regular basis.  Sharon invests in many of our women.

To mention just one example, recently I had the chance to meet up with ‘Jeff’, a local student leader over a cup of coffee.  The group is fairly new, and I had the opportunity to not only rejoice with him over its successes, but also to suggest what it might look like for the group to keep moving forward.  We discussed the need for more intimate community, connection among the men, and, identified outreach opportunities as a key medium-range goal.  I also had the chance to show Jeff that the confidence he can have in Christ is a key step forward in his growth as a leader, something that will make him more effective not only now, but as he moves throughout his training.  I feel so privileged to speak into, and encourage, the students God has given us!

So, as we head toward year’s end, many changes are taking place.  And yet, we are staying focused on our core priority of investing in students’ and leaders’ lives. Thank you, dear friends, for making it possible through your prayers and gifts!

Warmly,

Bryan & Sharon

For prayer & praise:

  • praise for four wonderful years with our graduating, fourth-year students, and, for God’s faithful leading toward their next stage of training.  Please pray for us as we invest in them for these last few months, and, that God provides solid mentors and churches for them in their new (as of July) locations.
  • praise for new leaders for each of our campuses.  God is faithful!  Please pray that God gives wisdom as we begin investing in them.
  • Pray for Sharon & I as we mentor/disciple the different students God has called us to invest in.  We need discernment to see where God wants to encourage and challenge each one (or couple).  Pray that the Spirit takes our admittedly small efforts and powerfully multiplies them for His glory and their good!
  • Finally, please pray for our next student brunch tomorrow at 9am.  We continue to focus on the topic of ‘sharing our everyday faith every day’.  This semester, practicing professionals are joining us and sharing their real-life experiences to help the students gain a vision for this area.

Vital Signs: 5 Ways To Assess Your Spiritual Health (Part 5)

wowHere in Philadelphia, even in mid-March, everything is as dead as the Phillies’ chances at a postseason run.  The good news is that you – at least spiritually – don’t have to be.  (That was a joke; work with me, OK?).  It’s in that spirit that we offer this last post on ways to assess (and hopefully improve) your spiritual health from the Book of Malachi.

To recap our series so far, we talked about 4 other signs that you may be in a slump.  You may be struggling spiritually if you:

  • get defensive and find yourself arguing with what God says (Malachi 1:2-3)
  • want to do Christianity your way, making compromises and taking ‘the easy way out’ (1:6-12, 14-15)
  • find God’s way burdensome and boring (1:13),
  • miss the clear signs of God’s love in your life (1:2-5)

As we conclude the series, we add one final symptom of spiritual lethargy:

5. You don’t see God as great or awesome.

I get this from Malachi 1:8-9 – 8 When you offer blind animals in sacrifice, is that not evil? And when you offer those that are lame or sick, is that not evil? Present that to your governor; will he accept you or show you favor? says the Lord of hosts.

You can look here for more of the background, but in a nutshell Israel was offering God inferior sacrifices.  They were giving him the animals defective animals they couldn’t sell on the open market at full price.

But it’s not really about the animals; that’s just the surface issue.  The Lord puts his finger on one of the underlying problems by asking a pointed question: ‘Present that to your governor; will he accept you or show you favor?’  The answer to this rhetorical question is, of course, ‘no!’  Offering a defective animal (or, to modernize it, any kind of flawed gift) to a political figure would never be tolerated, so why offer that to Someone much greater (God)?

Let’s make a quick application.  If we’re honest, we give God second-best (or worse) because we don’t really think he’s worthy of more.  And like Israel, it’s usually because we want to save the best for ourselves.  We would never say this, but in essence, we’ve made ourselves great.

I can remember a time when I used to hate giving money to the church.  I felt like we were poor (we weren’t) and all I could seem to see were all the things we couldn’t have, partly because of the money we were giving away.  God was so patient, but I needed to see that a great and awesome God kindly permitted me to keep almost all of what I earn.  He’s worth it.

How are you doing with this ‘vital sign’?  Where do you specifically struggle to see that God is great and awesome?  One starting point may be to identify those areas where you feel selfish or resentful and work from there.  Common examples could include demanding ‘me time’, your attitude toward serving others or money, or, your willingness to connect deeply to others.  This is where God wants to work in your (and my) life.

In any event, I hope this series has, in some small way, been useful to you in honest self-assessment.  We all have a long ways to go, but God’s grace is more than a match for us on the journey.

Community Life & Relationships Seminar Update

Community Life & Relationships Seminar Group ShotJust wanted to provide a short update on all that God did at our Community Life & Relationships Seminar this past Saturday.

God answered your prayers in bringing out 32 people to learn more about what it means to live in community and approach relationships from a biblical perspective.

I opened our time together with a biblical framework and overview on relationships, then Liz Mosebrook (a counselor) did a great job helping us ‘diagnose’ the common relational challenges we struggle with, and, providing specific help in moving forward.  Especially helpful was a time of personal reflection where we had the opportunity to consider where we struggle in particular, and, set specific goals for progress.

Later, one student mentioned that God had shown her that, while she was willing to put herself in risky situations physically, she has been less willing to do that on a relational level.  Seeing this disconnect in her life was very helpful and will be a blessing in moving forward.

After a fantastic lunch, we ended the day with two seminars, one on dating and relationships (Sharon & I), and one on life in community (Nurse Practitioner Deborah Moss).  These were rich times of teaching and personal interaction.

On a related note, Deborah has been casting vision for forming intentional community among healthcare students, and several have expressed a desire to possibly live together in North Philadelphia beginning in the summer or fall.  Among other things, it’s our hope that these students would both gain a heart for using healthcare to serve the underserved, and, be blessed by all that these communities have to offer.  Stay tuned as God unfolds this story!

As you can see, God blessed our time together.  Thanks again for your prayers!