On The Road

With the students focused on exams and leaving for the summer, this past month has been a fantastic opportunity to break from the routine and take time away.  Here’s what God has done through my time ‘on the road:’

CMDA National Convention

My time away began in late April with our CMDA National Convention in California.  This was my first time at the Convention, and a great time to get in on the ground floor of several important student initiatives our new Campus and Community VP rolled out there.  One of these, The National Student Council (NSC), is a nationwide group of student leaders coming together to receive mentoring, discover how to influence the future of healthcare, shape the future of CMDA, and learn how to impact their campuses for Christ.  I was able to share what I’ve learned in Philadelphia and interact with the students as they think about their own campuses.  Looking ahead, I will be part of monthly webinars that will move this discussion forward.

Hudson Valley International Saline Seminar

Teaching at the Hudson Valley Int'l Saline

After a few weeks home, it was on to the Hudson Valley in NY.  You may recall that we’ve been equipping local students and physicians to share their faith in medical settings through a partnership we have with International Health Services (IHS) and its International Saline (IS) curriculum.  At our first local IS seminar some time ago, two members of the Hudson Valley CMDA chapter came down to receive the training from us.  Recently, Dr. Bob Snyder and I had the privilege to join those members in NY as they launched the training in their own area.  Approximately 15 (an ideal number) were in attendance for the seminar, which went very well.

One physician who came said that she realized, through our time together, that she “had lost her heart for her Beloved over the past two years”, and that she desperately needed to recapture her love for Christ so that she could be an effective witness in her workplace.  Many others came away excited and equipped to share their faith, and already plans are being made to hold a follow-up seminar.  A physician from New York City also came, and plans on bringing the seminar to that area as well.  This is what the International Saline is all about – training others who will train others for maximum impact!

CMDA Staff Conference

My next stop was our annual staff conference at our headquarters in Bristol, TN.  It was a great opportunity to network with other staff doing similar work in other areas across the country.  We also had a number of fantastic speakers that provided refreshment and new ideas that will inject our ministry with new life.

Support Development

Last, but not least, I’ve been using the drive home to continue developing support for the ministry.  Stops in Virginia, Washington DC and Baltimore have given me the opportunity to share our vision with new, potential ministry partners.  Many have responded positively, offering not only financial support, but their prayers and new connections.

Along the way, I also had the chance to visit current friends/supporters and connect with folks who, though not able to contribute financially, have offered their wisdom on many levels.  One physician in Richmond shared his experience of starting and strengthening their ministry to other doctors, an area we’re hoping to work on in our area.  A lunch time meeting with a physician-author has generated some ideas on how to create a ministry where deeper community can flourish.  As you can probably sense, I love moving the ministry forward and am constantly on the lookout for the people and ideas that can take us there.  By God’s grace, in turn we are grateful to reciprocate by playing a similar role for others!

As you can see, it’s been a busy, but tremendous, month.  I look forward to returning to Philadelphia late tonight after one final meeting in the Baltimore area.  I thank God for His goodness during this time away, and for its impact on our local ministry.  Thank you for making this season of travel possible through your prayers and gifts!

Warmly,

Bryan & Sharon

Please join us in prayer/praise for the following:

  • Praise God for an exciting month of travel, and all the connections and fresh ideas along the way!  Pray that God generates new support and connections for the ministry and helps me to identify which ideas we should implement here in our local ministry.
  • Pray for a good time of re-connection with my family.  The month of June should be more relaxed as I’ll be home more.
  • Pray that the International Saline training we did in Hudson Valley NY impacts that, and the New York City, area deeply.  Please ask God to bring things together for a full-version training we’ll do at Drexel in the fall.
  • Finally, please pray for our involvement in the SMIs.  I will participate in the Philadelphia project, and am considering joining the Texas project for a week as well.  These are times of maximum impact!

 

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Moving Forward, Moving Outward

God continues to bless our ministry richly and beyond all that we can imagine.  As I reflect on what He’s doing, the theme of moving the ministry forward and outward comes to mind.  Here are some highlights from the past month –

Temple Pharmacy

Two updates ago, we mentioned the desire to reach new healthcare campuses in the city.  Well, God has begun to answer that prayer!  When I shared about our ministry at one local church, I met several Temple pharmacy students, as well as Kay, a practicing pharmacist.  They did not, however, know each other, and I recently had the opportunity to introduce them over a lunch meeting.  I was thrilled to hear that Kay is excited in investing in these students and helping them grow in Christ.  Over time, I’ll do all that I can to support Kay and the students as they move forward in their relationship.

Talk at Drexel

Several months ago at SMI Texas, I gave a talk about our need for more rest, and how we can find that in Christ.  I mentioned our need to take more ‘down time’ – something healthcare students understandably find very challenging – but also to find rest from the constant temptation to prove ourselves by what we accomplish.  In God’s kindness, the talk apparently made an impression on some of the Drexel leaders who were present, as they have now invited me to give the talk not only to the Christian fellowship (“CMA”), but also to their unbelieving peers, on Nov. 30th.  I’m excited about this new challenge and opportunity!

First-ever Philadelphia International Saline

In my last update, I shared with you my excitement stemming from my trip to Kiev, where I received some outstanding training in medical evangelism (“International Saline”) from Dr. Bob Snyder.  Now, on December 3-4, Dr. Snyder and I will co-lead the first-ever Philadelphia International Saline training.  In fact, this is the first time the training has ever been offered in the U.S., and the response has been overwhelmingly positive.  Although we have just 25 openings, already 12 have firmly committed, with others ready to sign on.  Since part of our goal is to create a local, outward-oriented community, we’re holding the training overnight to allow for more interaction among those who come.  We’ll follow-up the workshop later with a “train the trainers” session to teach everyone how to become trainers themselves!

As you can see, God continues to pour out His blessing on what He’s called us to.  I feel like we’re at the beginning of something far bigger than we are, and we are eager to continue sharing the journey with you, wherever it – He, really – leads!

For the gospel,

Bryan & Sharon

Here are some praises & prayer requests –

  • praise God for allowing me to connect the Temple pharmacy students with Kay, the graduate pharmacist.  Pray that they will run with that connection, and that God will grow the group in His timing.  Currently, the group consists of 6 students, all women.  Pray also for a natural outreach opportunity there, which the students deeply desire.
  • praise God for the chance to address the Drexel students on the topic of balancing rest and work.  Ask God to give me wisdom in preparing and in giving the talk.  I want to be practical, but also share how Christ alone can give them the deep rest they desire.  Pray also for the Spirit’s power, Who alone can give impact to what I share.
  • praise God for putting the International Saline conference together!  Beg God to draw the ‘right’ people, and to help those who come have excitement for training others.  Pray also for funding – we’re trying to raise $2,500 so that students who come only have to pay for their materials.
  • Finally, we thank God for providing a little more funding this month than we anticipated, as well as some new committed support.  We are now at 88% of what we need (in terms of pledges), and I can almost taste the finish line!  Please pray that God quickly provides the remaining $1,000 per month we need.  If you’d like to start contributing, or renew your commitment, you can do that right here.

To Philadelphia & Beyond – Update on Kiev Conference

From left: Promise, me, William, Aaron

In my last post, I mentioned my trip to Kiev (Sept. 24-27) for an International Saline Training Conference.   Our group featured twenty participants (mainly medical students) from eight countries, and I had a phenomenal time. Now that I’ve returned, I want to provide you with this update.

The International Saline materials have one purpose:  to train healthcare workers to share their faith in real-life medical settings. Since workers have very limited time with patients in any one visit, effective training must equip them to talk about spiritual concerns within these limits.

Among other critical topics, the conference introduced us to eight strategies, or “tools”, to address this very challenge. “Faith flags” are one of the most useful, and will give you a flavor for the training. Simply put, this tool is a short statement in the course of normal conversation that identifies you as someone who values the Lord, prayer or other similar concerns. They are short (max: 30 seconds), and look for a response from a patient, but do not demand one.

For example, if a patient mentions that she’s having a hard time with a recent diagnosis, her physician might say, “I faced a similar situation in my life and the only thing I can remember is that God helped me.” If the patient shows interest, the physician can go deeper; if not, at least the door has been opened for future conversations. Best of all, this is something nearly every healthcare worker can do in nearly every interaction with patients. Everyone at the conference left with a profound sense that “I can do this!”

Equally exciting, the conference equipped us to teach the materials to others. This, of course, is why I attended. To give you a sense for the potential impact of the training model, consider this:

An ideal conference size is 20 participants, and we plan on offering it twice a year in Philadelphia. If we train 40 people a year, over the course of 30 years we’ll have trained 1,200 healthcare workers who will, in turn, reach many patients for Christ. Not bad, right?

What if, however, each of those 40 participants trained just one other person per year? In that case, in just over 30 years we will have reached the entire world! While we don’t anticipate it going quite this smoothly(!), remember that 1 in 5 physicians in America (not to mention others in healthcare) passes through Philadelphia for some portion of their training.  Some will stay and transform the city, while others will go to the “Samarias” and “ends of the earth” that God is calling them to (Acts 1:8).  By being faithful right here, we can change the world.

In closing, thanks again for standing behind us and this vital ministry.  Your investment of prayers and giving is reaping an eternal harvest that only God Himself can comprehend!

For the King,

Bryan & Sharon Stoudt

Please join us in praying for these concerns:

  • Praise God for a simply tremendous conference in Kiev.  Join me in begging God to pour out His blessing on me as I begin to offer the training in the months ahead.  Pray that God will draw the ‘right’ people, and that He will give them a passion to train others!
  • Please continue to pray fervently for our support levels.  With the economy still recovering, our account is nearly at a break-even point and I increasingly find myself needing to pull back from ministry opportunities.  If you are behind in your giving, or, would like to start contributing now, you can find out more by clicking here.