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!

 

Recent Happenings

As we approach Thanksgiving, we are thankful for another great season of ministry. Here are some highlights since we’ve last written!

Fall Student Retreat

panelists

Our healthcare panel addresses the theme of work and life balance at the fall retreat.

In October, we held our first-ever citywide fall student and resident retreat.  After several years of prayer, God finally opened the door and allowed us to move forward!  We had an absolutely fantastic time as we considered the theme of rest. Dr. Josh Uy and I shared the teaching, and a panel composed of graduate healthcare providers interacted with the students in sharing how they balance the demands of their careers and families.  We also had plenty of relaxed, informal time together.

Global Missions Health Conference

2013 Philly Global Missions Group (2)

Our Philly group at the 2013 Global MIssions Conference!

Earlier this month, I joined a group of about 20 healthcare students and professionals on a road trip to Louisville, Kentucky, home of the Global Missions Health Conference, the largest medical missions conference in the world.  Beyond picking up fresh ideas for our area ministry and networking, the best part for me was spending lots of time in meaningful conversation with people from our local healthcare community.  It was especially rewarding to meet with former students, now medical residents throughout the country, to see how they’re doing and have the opportunity to speak into their lives again. They are a living picture of what our local healthcare community is all about – investing in those God sends us in the hope that they will go out and carry the Great Commission forward!

Expanding Our Team

God continues to bless our ministry with growth and expansion!  Although sometimes it’s hard to keep up with the Lord(!), he continues to provide committed co-laborers.  In the past month, Dr. Neil Pitts, a pharmacist, has joined our ministry council, bringing a heart for the underserved, students, and a desire to help us wisely partner with those at our schools who may not share our faith commitments. In addition, Sharon has been hired as our part-time ministry assistant.  I’m biased, of course, but I can’t imagine anyone more qualified both to serve our women and capably assist with the growing number of administrative tasks!

Deep, Lasting Change

Perhaps more than anything else, we passionately desire that those we reach change in lasting ways that better enable them to serve God and those around them (the two greatest commandments).  By God’s grace, we are witnessing this on a regular basis and it brings us such great joy.  Here are some recent examples: one student has seen that he tends to keep others at arm’s length, but now he’s moving toward the difficult people in his life and helping them change.  Another has appreciated more deeply how fully he’s accepted in Christ, which has given him courage to ask for help and ‘be himself’ in his campus fellowship, which in turn is opening new doors for personal ministry.  Still another is struggling in a new city, but wants to take specific steps to stay connected to God and others where he is, rather than hoping to find it elsewhere as he has in the past.  Although often quiet, we are privileged to be on site as the Spirit works in the lives of those around us.

As Thanksgiving is just around the corner, we are especially grateful for you, our friends and support team.  We hope you are encouraged by the fruit of your investment!

Giving thanks,

Bryan & Sharon

Please lift up these praises and prayers along with us:

  • Praise for a great fall Intermed, fall retreat, Global Missions Health Conference and so many relationships where God is at work!
  • Praise for God’s provision of Dr. Pitts for our council and Sharon as our ministry assistant.  Please pray for wisdom as they begin their new roles.
  • Pray for a strong year’s end financially so that we are positioned well for the coming year.
  • Pray for God to give wisdom as our team meets with students for times of discipleship and mentoring.
  • Pray that God helps our leaders and I conduct ‘halftime evaluations’ in December and make any necessary adjustments for the spring.
  • Finally, pray that the Lord leads many to attend our annual CMDA Northeast Winter Conference (Jan. 17-19) for refreshment and transformation.  Please pray also that God provides generous funding for the event, always a challenge since we subsidize students’ attendance.

Fall Intermed Update & More

Intermed Update

One constant feature of our ministry here in Philadelphia is change.  Students, residents, fellows and even professionals come and go at God’s leading.  Because healthcare training is comprised of many transitions, we made this the theme of our most recent Intermed, a gathering of local healthcare students and professionals for teaching, worship and fellowship.

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Drs. Jim & Thanh Kirkpatrick share about their own transitions at Intermed.

Drs. Jim & Thanh Kirkpatrick shared about their own transitions, both personal and vocational, during a great message that challenged those who came.  It’s vital for students to hear personally from those who have walked with Christ down the same roads they are about to travel.

Worship during Intermed.

Worship during Intermed.

Intermed, though, is about much more than the message. It’s also a time of connecting with others, worshiping together, and, processing the message in community during small group time.  By this measure, the event was a tremendous success!

Turning Point

Now that we’re well into the semester, we’re going through a (small) transition of our own.  I’ve visited all our campuses (at least) a few times, met the new first-years, reconnected with our returning students, and helped our leaders develop and implement a strategy tailored to their campus.  After this season of intensity, Sharon and I turn our attention to investing in the relationships formed in August/early September.  From now through early December, we’ll be going deeper with students, helping them to live out the gospel in the day-to-day grind of their everyday lives.

To give you a feel for what God is doing through us, I wanted to share (with permission) a portion of an email we received from one of our closest student friends, following a good conversation with him:

‘Thanks for today and for chatting and musing along with me… [and helping] me do a 180 degree on the recent “wilderness” trek I’m going through — I definitely was lost in the sense I didn’t (and still don’t really) see God’s hand in my life in a tangible way, but when you said that God is blessing me in this moment, I definitely realized that was so true — He loves me so much that He is allowing me to go through this period, molding me and shaping me more into His image; what else can I really ask for, right?’

It’s our tremendous privilege to be in relationships where we can have meaningful conversations like the one above.  While we feel our weaknesses and limitations, God seems to use the questions we ask, the attention we give, and, the encouragement we offer to make a consistent difference, and for that we give thanks.

On that note, we would be remiss if we didn’t end without giving thanks for you, our support team.  Intermed and the relationships we have are only possible because of our prayers and gifts.  May God bless you many times beyond all that you’ve given!

With love,

Bryan & Sharon

Here are some prayers and praises for this month:

  • Praise God for a terrific Intermed, home bible study brunches, many new first-year students, and, many wonderful times on campus.
  • Pray for our student overnight retreat Oct. 12-13.  Specifically, please ask that God helps students connect with Him and one another, and, that God blesses Dr. Josh Uy & myself as we speak on the theme ‘Rest for the Weary’.
  • Pray for wisdom and fruit as Sharon & I turn our attention to deepening relationships with students, especially our campus leaders and first-year students.

Fall Intermed Almost Here – Register Now!

Whole Conference 2012Intermed, our gathering of healthcare students and professionals for teaching, worship and fellowship, is almost here!  Registration is free and now available at tiny.cc/intermedfall2013.

More details are available by accessing the flyer, but we’ll gather at Drexel University College of Medicine on Saturday, September 14th from 9a-12p to hear Drs. Jim & Thanh Kirkpatrick speak to us on the art of making wise, God-honoring transitions.

We’ll take a freewill offering for future Intermeds during the event, and, for those who are able, go out afterwards for lunch.  We hope to see you there!

Looking Back, Moving Forward

Jon, one of our students turned resident, joins us virtually from CA!

Jon, one of our students turned resident, joins us virtually from CA!

Summer is here!  Our first-year students have finished with their exams, second-year students are either studying for ‘boards’ (comprehensive exams necessary to continue with third-year) or starting rotations, and, things are relatively quiet here.  Sort of like the shore at the end of the season.

But not quite.  There’s still plenty to do, like:

  • Give thanks for another great year of student ministry!  This year, in addition to supporting our 5 major campuses, we also started connecting with, and supporting, several new ones: Arcadia (formerly Beaver), Penn Dental, Temple Dental, and, Temple Podiatry.  We enjoyed discipling/mentoring many individual students, developing leaders and helping them reach their campuses, hosting students in our home for bible study brunches, and, provide relational counseling for couples.
  • Give thanks that our ministry ‘council’ (healthcare providers who work alongside me in ministry, also providing encouragement and accountability) doubled from 3 to 6.  This has been such an incredible encouragement and greatly increased what we’re able to do.
  • Hire a part-time ministry assistant.  God’s continued blessing has led to greater administrative and relational ministry needs, especially with our female students.  We hope to hire an assistant by August when our academic year begins.
  • Raise support.  Along with other increased costs, hiring a ministry assistant will require us to raise additional funds.
  • Hanging out at one of our brunches.

    Hanging out at one of our brunches.

    Prepare for fall Intermed and our first-ever student overnight retreat.  We’re asking God to use these events to refresh our current students, and, to enfold new students into our fellowships quickly.

  • Continue meeting with students.  While many students are away or busy with rotations, some have limited availability and we plan on taking advantage of that!  We’re also hosting 5 gatherings for the students over the summer as we study the Book of Malachi and the theme of spiritual refreshment.  This past Sunday, we concluded our study with ‘designer s’mores’ and great discussion on the patio late into the night!
  • Help our current leaders get ready for the new year.  Although we’ve already discussed vision and strategy for the first few weeks back, during the summer I will continue to touch base with our leaders so that we’re ready for this narrow, yet critical, window of opportunity.

As you can see, there’s plenty to do… and pray for.  Will you please join us in bringing these concerns before the Father over this next month?

Thank you for being a largely unseen, but so, so critical, part of our ministry.  We look forward to seeing you in July with another update!

With love,

Bryan & Sharon

God At Work: Fall Intermed 2012

Our speaker, Dr. David Suh

One of the most exciting things about our ministry is that God seems to know – and provide – exactly what we need at just the right time.  This was certainly the case at our recent ‘Intermed’ event, where 95 healthcare students, residents and professionals gathered for worship, teaching and fellowship.

At the center of our time together, Dr. David Suh (Cancer Treatment Centers of America) provided two excellent talks on what it means to receive, and then give away, God’s love.  In fleshing that out, his call to examine the ways we ‘put God in a box’ was incredibly challenging.  By sharing his own testimony, Dr. Suh helped us look at our own lives and see if we, too, often assume that God can’t or won’t do more than we can do on our own.  As a group, we tend to rely on our own intelligence and ability to get things done, so his teaching reminded our healthcare community that God intends to do ‘far more abundantly than all that we ask or think, according to the power at work within us’ (Eph. 3:20).

During the event itself, God ironically (and appropriately) did just that.  Throughout the second talk, God was powerfully stirring our hearts and

Intermed Small Group Time

we spontaneously decided to have a time of large group prayer, led by Dr. Suh.  It was refreshing to connect with God right there, repenting of sins that had been holding us back and asking Him for new power as we move forward.  As I visit our area campuses, I’ll be touching base with the students and seeing how God continues to work through our time together at Intermed.

Drexel Doubt Night

While it’s critical to reach students of faith on our campuses, we also want to reach out those who are searching.  Last Tuesday at Drexel, I had the opportunity to participate in a ‘Doubt Night’ with a local physician (Dr. Keith Herzog) and pastor (Rev. Steve Munz).  Together, God gave us the opportunity to field questions from the audience about why we believe Christianity is true.  While nothing dramatic took place, many good questions were asked and it gave the students and I an opportunity to follow-up with people afterwards.  I’ll be having lunch with one student who is seeking, something I’m looking forward to.

Regardless of who we’re interacting with, we’re thankful for you, our supporters, mindful that we are extensions of you in reaching Philadelphia’s healthcare campuses for Christ.

Warmly,

Bryan & Sharon

For praise & prayer:

  • Praise for God’s work at Intermed & Doubt Night!  Praise also for the many, many people who made Intermed a success, especially our student leadership team.  Please pray for ongoing fruit – that God would convict hearts about areas of growth, and, that seeds planted at Doubt Night would sprout.  Pray also that the Drexel students and believing faculty would be prayerful as we follow-up with those who came.
  • Praise for a still-forming group of male healthcare students from around the city who are eager to figure – and live – out what it means to live as a Christian man.  Please pray that God would give discernment for next steps.
  • Please pray also for a good year-end financially and spiritually with the students.  I want to help the leaders do a ‘halftime report’, seeing how things are going and making any necessary course corrections.  We also look forward to our last brunch for the semester on 12/8.
  • Finally, pray also that God would be preparing hearts for our annual CMDA Northeast Winter Conference 1/18-20.

Another Great Start

It’s hard to read the words, but these are index cards the Jefferson leaders used to map out their ministry vision for the year.

 

It’s hard to believe, but already another year is well underway!  This year, I’m spending time at 7 different campuses, so this has been an especially intense, but wonderful, season of ministry.  Here’s a quick roundup of what’s going on.

 

How Are We Going To Strengthen This Ministry & Reach This Campus This Year?!

Since we experience 100% leadership turnover on each of our campuses every year, helping our leaders develop and carry out a vision for their campus is a critical, and significant, part of my ministry.  Although many issues – like outreach – occur at all of our campuses, the key issues tend to take on a specific flavor at each one.  At Temple, we’re beginning to partner with local healthcare providers and pastors in an effort to holistically reach the surrounding community.  At Penn Dental, the students are re-launching the chapter after a few years of relative inactivity, so we’re wading through what that means.  Drexel is trying to reach their campus community more actively, hosting a ‘Doubt Night’ and possibly participating in a forum on abortion.  And Penn (Med) is asking what it means to include other believing healthcare (i.e., nursing) students in their ministry, but with an eye to helping them launch their own, independent ministries in time.  I really enjoy coming alongside the students and helping them meet the particular challenges, and seize the specific opportunities, that God lays before them!

Building Relationships

For this first month or two, it’s so important to build relationships with new, and returning, students.  As the cliché goes, “people have to know you care before they care what you know!”  The primary way we care for the students is simply by “showing up” on campus, or, inviting students into our home.  Already, we’ve hosted two Saturday morning brunches, with 20-25 in attendance each time.  I’ve been to each of our campuses, some a few times, for their activities fairs, large group meetings, leadership meetings, individual discipleship times, and, just to “hang out”.  Sharon and our kids have also joined me as they’re able so that students can start connecting with them, too.   As we build these relationships, trust grows and ministry moves forward.

Intermed

As you may remember, each year (sometimes twice) the students gather for a citywide time of fellowship, teaching and worship through song.  This fall, it’s been my privilege to put together, and guide, a phenomenal team of students as we get ready for this effort.  While at first summer breaks and busy schedules made coordinating calendars challenging, God has given us real momentum and things are moving forward nicely.  God led us to a theme of experiencing, and giving away, His love.  This is our passion and prayer.  But more than the event itself, the process leading up to the event is an amazing ministry opportunity to invest in our very best leaders and help them learn how to think about, and do, ministry so that they too will be ready to guide ministries on their own someday.  We want to raise up leaders who will raise up others leaders, the chain continuing until Christ returns.  This is how the Kingdom moves forward!

So, there’s a quick snapshot of what God is up to.  There’s so much more to share, but we’ll say more in future updates.  Thank you, as always, for your love, prayers and gifts that make this ministry possible.

With deep gratitude,

Bryan & Sharon

For prayer & praise:

  • praise for so many new students; pray that they keep coming out, and, that God shields them from getting consumed by their studies.
  • praise for faithful leaders at each of our campuses; pray that God helps us discern where we need to provide guidance at each campus, and, how.
  • pray for new discipleship relationships for Sharon and I to form with the incoming (first-year) women and men (respectively).
  • pray for Penn Dental in particular as they re-launch their ministry this year.  Each class (there are four) has different schedules, making coordinated efforts challenging.
  • pray for our Intermed team as we move toward our fall gathering (Nov. 2-3).  We need God’s Spirit to guide us!  Pray also that God will help me mentor our students throughout the process.  Our heart is that their vision for the Kingdom expand, and, that they will become equipped to teach others what they are receiving.  And, that God will be glorified in it all.

The Best Week Ever

Just this morning, Dr. David Levy drove off to New York City for the final stage of his East Coast trip.  It marked the end of a wonderful week of ministry in Philadelphia, so I wanted to provide you with a brief report of his time here.

Intermed

This was our biggest event of the week, with well over 100 in attendance on Friday and Saturday.  In addition to our usual student population, we made an effort to attract more residents and graduates this time, and we made good progress on that front.

Without exaggeration, the talks by author and neurosurgeon Dr. Levy were some of the best I’ve heard in a long time.  His messages on sharing faith with those around us, forgiveness and joy combined humor, real-life experience, Scripture and specific application in a very special way.   At the end of the sessions, he walked us through practical exercises on forgiveness and letting go of offenses that created an atmosphere that was, at once, both serious and light.

After the exercise on forgiveness, one student said, “Up until now, I’ve been angry with my mom, but I couldn’t really say why.  Dr. Levy’s practical examples helped me put words to my anger so that I could confess it and forgive my mom.”  She was almost giddy with joy as she shared, and many related similar stories.  God was at work!

Campus Events

In addition to Intermed, Dr. Levy spoke at the Temple, UMDNJ-SOM (Stratford, NJ) and Penn medical campuses.  These were exciting events, with an unusual mixture of Christians and others at various points in their own spiritual journeys.

At SOM, about 55 people came out to hear Dr. Levy speak over dinner.  Jasen, one of the student leaders, had attracted a unique group of believers and spiritually-open folks from the school and surrounding community.  One student said the presentation was the best he had heard the entire year!

Later, 12-15 of us went back with Dr. Levy to the Hrics’ home to continue the conversation over dessert.  Dr. Hric and his wife Susan have made their home a ‘safe place’ for people seeking truth, and our time together there was phenomenal.  Dr. Levy invited each of us to share our spiritual journey, starting with our experience growing up.  One student, honest about being agnostic, expressed his respect for the humility he’s observed in Christians.  He understands the connection to the Christian faith, where our God, though strong, came to serve the weak.  The next day, another student texted me, saying “last night was the most enriching night I’ve had in a very long time, possibly ever.”  I’ve heard testimony today that those came are still telling others and that there’s an overall buzz and excitement!

It’s really hard to communicate in an email how absolutely wonderful this week was.  Everyone who participated came away challenged and encouraged.  ‘Friendships with a purpose’ were created and renewed.  And, there has been a real synergy created by so many people coming together for a common purpose.

Thank you, thank you for your prayers!  Please keep praying that God continues working, and that we intentionally engage others, in the weeks ahead!

Amazed by God,

Bryan & Sharon

Three ‘Nights’ And Intermed Just Around The Corner!

Doubt Night

“So, when can we do it again?!”

That’s the response we received after holding our first Doubt Night at PCOM, one of our area’s medical campuses.

You may be wondering, though, what Doubt Night is all about.  (First, credit to liberti Church for giving me the idea some years ago).  In short, Doubt Night is a time where seekers and others with questions about the Christian faith can come and dialogue honestly with Christians about their concerns.  To facilitate this, I took part in a panel that also featured Dr. Keith Herzog and two PCOM students.  Throughout a 1.5 hour discussion, we heard questions dealing with:

  • heaven – is it real?  Is it right to be moral because we want to go there, or, should we act rightly because it’s inherently appropriate?
  • the apparent contrast between God in the Old and New Testaments – why does ‘the God of the NT’ seem more gracious and loving?
  • the trustworthiness of the bible – Christians put so much faith in the Bible, but what makes it more special or reliable than any other book?

Of the 15 who came, I’d say it was about a 50/50 ratio of seekers:Christians, which is what we were hoping for.  We look forward to continuing the conversation on campus, and, in future Doubt Nights!

Men’s & Women’s Nights

Later that week, we also hosted Women’s and Men’s Nights at our home on consecutive evenings.  Sharon led nineteen women in tackling the sensitive area of sexuality and how to live for Christ in a confusing, sexually-charged culture.  The best part about the night was that it provided a safe place to deal with the questions everyone has, but is afraid to ask.  We need to speak to topics like this!

For our men’s night, nine men joined me for an exploration of the topic of why men are so passive, and, what we can do about it.  We took a look at our culture’s portrayal of men, then surveyed key bible passages that help us ‘diagnose and treat’ not only the symptoms, but the underlying causes as well.

Both nights were greatly aided by Sharon’s baking, especially the flourless mocha cake and Ghirardelli brownies!

Prayer Needed for Intermed This Weekend

This Friday night and Saturday morning, MCO and CMDA are hosting Intermed, our annual gathering of local healthcare students and professionals for worship, fellowship and teaching.  But this is not our usual Intermed.  God has allowed us to invite Dr. David Levy, neurosurgeon and author of Gray Matter, to be our speaker.  Based in San Diego, Dr. Levy is going to speak to us at Intermed, but also at other medical campuses throughout his week in our area (March 8-15).

On Friday evening, he’ll show us what it means to talk about Christ with the people around us, as well as challenge us on what it looks like to let go of anger we harbor toward God and others.  More than just raw information, though, Dr. Levy has dealt with these topics very personally in his own life and medical practice.  As we minister to students and professionals, we’re excited about offering them one portrait of who we hope they’ll become.

As you can imagine, we very much need your prayers for Dr. Levy’s visit:

  • for protection from the evil one.  Already we’ve seen evidence of spiritual resistance, and need God to protect us.
  • for the Spirit’s power as Dr. Levy speaks.  His messages will be powerful, but lasting change only happens through Christ’s work in our hearts.
  • that weary people would come away not only changed, but refreshed!
  • for God to put together “divine appointments” for Dr. Levy in between speaking engagements.  He very much wants to minister to those who need what God wants to do through him.  Pray also for me and others as we interact with students at these events; I expect that God will be giving us similar opportunities in response to his work through Dr. Levy.  We want to be His instruments of healing and change here in the city!
  • pray for all the last-minute details that need to come together.  This leads me to praise God for our entire planning team (a collaboration of students, MCO & CMDA) for all the amazing hard work they’ve done to make this week a reality!

Thank you, dear friends, for standing so faithfully with us!

Bryan & Sharon

 

Looking Back, Looking Ahead

By God’s grace, this past month was another solid season of ministry.  Here are a few highlights, as well as a look ahead:

Men’s & Women’s Nights

God gave us two great nights with key men and women from around the city!  For our men’s night, I led the guys through a study in 1 Samuel 17, which you’ll recognize as the story of David and Goliath.  For our purposes, we were considering insights on what it means to be a godly man.  I chose this topic because we’ve noticed fewer men becoming involved, and especially taking leadership, at our local healthcare campuses.  We are incredibly thankful for the many women God has given us, but we want to see men stepping up as well, and feel that this was another important step toward achieving that goal.

During women’s night, Sharon led the ladies in a study on bitterness and forgiveness.  As she interacted with the women on this topic, it became clear that it was something everyone was wrestling with in ways that are very real and personal.  In His wisdom, God had matched those who came with what they needed to hear.

Intermed

Another key event this month was “Intermed”, a student-driven gathering for worship, fellowship, teaching and, of course, eating.  Although our ministry did not personally sponsor the event, a number of different ministries and ‘people groups’ came together in making it happen.

Our informal hope for the evening was that the students would come away with a picture of what their own futures in medicine might look like as they considered how God had led our two speakers.  They were incredibly different: one, a younger geriatrician (treats older patients) at Penn, the other, an older nurse practitioner in the Dominican Republic who practices medicine and also raises up national pastors.  At the same time, both these men are tremendously dedicated to serving Christ through healthcare, and the students came away inspired to follow Christ into their own futures.

I was thankful to have played a role in the planning process, in addition to having many significant conversations during the evening and in the days that have followed.  It was a tremendous time of connecting with key students, as well as meeting new ones that I hope to influence in the months ahead.

Upcoming Plans

In the next few months, I’m excited to participate in several important events.  The first is our annual CMDA National Convention in California.  It will feature some of the very best speakers in the healthcare field, and I will be traveling with one of our key student leaders.  Since he will be graduating in May, it will be one of my last extended opportunities to spend time with him, which I cherish.  At this year’s convention, CMDA is also rolling out its National Student Council, a student-driven group designed to shape the future of healthcare and CMDA, so I’m excited to get in on the ground floor.  And, as always, the convention promises to be a rich time of networking and ideas.

As the summer approaches, as usual, my family and I hope to participate in parts of both SMI Philadelphia (July 9-30) and SMI Texas (July 2-30).  If you’ve been with us for some time, you know these are medical missions projects that teach participants how to share their faith through medicine while living in community.  They’re absolutely critical in that they allow us undistracted seasons of investing in the students, something that simply isn’t nearly as possible during the academic year.  In fact, we get more time with them during project than we do throughout the rest of the year combined.  This is discipleship at its best!

SMI Philadelphia is easy for us to participate in since it’s so close (1/2 hour), but SMI Texas is naturally more challenging.  At the same time, we are passionate about it because it allows the students to truly get away from the city and out of their comfort zone.  It also affords our family the opportunity to live on site with them, which is key both for us and the students.  One of the ways we will decide whether we should go is by seeing if the Lord provides the needed funds (about $5,000).

And so, without any fanfare, we want to put this need before you.  If you feel God leading you to contribute, would you please let us know in the next two weeks?  This will help us be good stewards of the summer God has placed before us.

Regardless of your decision, we thank God for each one of you.

Warmly,

Bryan & Sharon

Please join us in prayer/praise:

  • Praise God for wonderful men’s/women’s nights.  Please pray for lasting fruit among the students.
  • Praise God for a focused season of prayer and fasting leading up to the Intermed retreat.  We believe that much of its success was due to this foundation, largely driven by the students.
  • Pray for my times of investing with key men from around the city: Sam, Erik, Dan, Burton, Shane, Loren and others.  My heart is that God will take these men and multiply their lives in those around them.  Pray also that God will continue introducing me to other key men around the city.
  • Pray for our medical evangelism (“International Saline”) training ‘taster’ at Drexel on 5/3, and especially that believers among students, residents and “attending” physicians would come and get excited for the full version training in the fall.
  • Pray for my time at the National Convention (4/28-30), and God’s wisdom/provision for SMI Texas.