Welcome to Philly

If you’re just arriving to Philadelphia, we want to give you a warm welcome!  (Even though we’re known as the ‘City of Brotherly Love’, that may not be your first impression.)

LOVE Park, Philadelphia

Whether you’re a new student, resident, fellow or practicing professional, we’re so glad that God has led you here.  Our passion is to come alongside you and help you serve Christ, and the people around you, as much as we possibly can.

You’re coming to Philly at a great time.  God is really at work in our healthcare community!

  • In April, we held our first banquet and 190 people came out to learn more about, and support, God’s work in and through our healthcare community.  There’s a lot of momentum as we look forward toward the fall!
  • Just this past month, we launched our first group for professionals at the home of two local professionals.  The group is open to all allied health, dental and medical professionals and residents, and plans to meet regularly, focusing on transforming, personal relationships.
  • In the fall (August-September), we’ll kick off our fall bible study brunches for students and residents around the theme of Growing Closer To God Even When Life Is Crazy.  The brunches take place every 3 weeks in the home of our area director and feature a great home-cooked meal, home-roasted coffee and opportunities to connect with the Lord and healthcare folks from all around the city.
  • On September 30-October 1, we’ll hold our annual student and resident fall retreat.  Just over 24 hours, the retreat is a fantastic time to get away from the grind and remember why you chose healthcare in the first place.
  • As we head into the New Year, we hold our annual CMDA Northeast Winter Conference over the Martin Luther King, Jr. holiday weekend (Fri. 13th-Sun. 15th). Students, residents and professionals from DC to NYC gather together for great food, fellowship, teaching, worship, and yes – relaxation.
  • June or July 2017 – we anticipate holding our first-ever international missions trip in Central America through Global Health Outreach, CMDA’s short-term missions arm. Stay tuned and let us know if you have interest!

As you can see, God is doing great things in and through us.  We feel so thankful that God has called you to Philadelphia for this next stage of your journey.

Please let us know how we can serve you, and, help you as you settle in!

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.

Winter Conference Report; Looking Forward

'Ice fishing'! (see the overhead projection screen)

Indoor ‘Ice fishing’! (see the overhead projection screen)

Worship Time

Worship Time

Thanks so much for your prayers for our Winter Conference.  Now that the conference is ‘in the books’, I wanted to provide a short report on all that God did.

More than anything, the conference provides space for our busy students and professionals to come away and be alone with Christ and each other.  As we can all attest, the craze of daily life often makes it hard to slow down and connect with God as we want to.  Through our speaker, times of worship, and plenty of space for quiet and community, our retreat is designed to be the perfect remedy for a busy life and heart.  For many, I really believe that the theme of ‘Reverse Course: Going Backward to Move Forward’ was realized.

The highlight for me – as always – is the undistracted space I have to connect with those who come.  In many ways, the weekend is like one long, wonderful conversation.  To give you a flavor, here are some quick highlights:

  • A conversation with a recent student (new professional) where we discussed a painful relational breakup he recently experienced.  I had the chance to offer understanding, as well as a challenge to not shut down his heart toward the Lord or future risks.
  • A brief interaction with a student from NY who would like to hold a ‘Doubt Night’ (skeptics and seekers express, and receive responses to, their doubts about Christianity) at her campus.  We’ve already followed-up via email, and I look forward to seeing what the Lord does through the event!
  • A conversation with a physician about her struggles to be a witness at work and beyond when members of her own family are not walking with Christ.  Mainly, I was able to be a listening ear and let her know I would pray.  In this case, I think that’s all she needed.
  • I organized a late-night ‘Denny’s run’ with about 20 from Philadelphia, something that’s becoming an annual Winter Conference tradition.  In this more laid-back setting, it’s wonderful to start seeing a new side of the students and connecting with them more personally.  We covered everything from ‘best summer ever’ to ‘what you learned from the speaker’.  I also had a great time with one of our key leaders at Penn during the car ride there and back.

Thank you for your prayers.  We are so thankful for what God did and trust that He will extend the value far beyond our weekend together.  Your prayers are such an important part of that.

With Christ’s love,

Bryan & Sharon

PS Please pray for:

  • God to help us live out what He taught us over the weekend.
  • God’s blessing on our men’s brunch this coming Saturday.  We’ll start looking at key men from the Bible in an attempt to better follow Christ.
  • Sharon & I as we provide relationship mentoring for a key student couple.  Also, for wisdom as we evaluate the need for a seminar on relationships.
  • God to add members to our ministry ‘council’ (group of folks who minister alongside me, and help provide direction for the ministry).
  • God to provide new student leaders as our existing leaders transition out (March-April), and, that He would give me wisdom in assisting them in this process.
  • God to create a deepening sense of dependency on Him, and as a result, a greater commitment to prayer among our healthcare community.  We tend to be self-reliant but want to keep growing in this area!

God’s Work at Winter Conference

Thanks so much for praying for my time at Winter Conference.  It was truly one of the best conferences I’ve ever been part of.  Here’s why:

  • the speaker challenged everyone who came to step back to think and pray about God’s specific purpose for their lives.   With medicine being so intense, this “bigger picture” praying and thinking is absolutely critical.
  • the weekend for me was essentially one big conversation with many students and physicians!  I was able to have in-depth, undistracted conversations with nearly every one of my key students who were able to come.
  • during our campus group times (where we process what God is showing us as a campus fellowship) with Drexel and PCOM, God was clearly at work.  Here are a few snapshots:
  • [Through tears] “I can’t believe that I’m going to be a real doctor [upon graduation] in just five months, and I haven’t thought through all the ethical issues Dr. Stevens mentioned in his talks.  I’ve really got to work and pray through those issues.”
  • “I’ve been so lonely as I’ve been away on rotations.  I can’t tell you how good it is just to see you all here again!”
  • From a student who knows the Lord, but has been disconnected from Him, and the campus fellowship: “This weekend has been really good for me.  I’m going to be more involved with the fellowship back on campus now.”  I also had the chance to speak about this student with his father, a physician who was attending the conference.
  • I led a communion service on Sunday morning that God blessed richly.  It was a wonderful way to seal God’s work in us throughout the weekend.
  • God used the many interactions I had with students throughout the weekend to get many excited about our medical bible study and dinner, hosted in our home, coming up this Saturday.  We expect our largest crowd ever!

As you can see, God was at work in powerful ways, no doubt largely due to your prayers.  Please pray for me as I encourage the students to live out what they learned, as well as for our bible study and dinner this Saturday at 6pm.

Thanks so very much for your prayerful partnership!

Bryan & Sharon Stoudt

PS  Please pray for Sharon and the kids, who were unable to join me due to illness.

Winter Conference This Weekend!

Dear partners in Christ’s work,

In just six hours, 160 students and healthcare professionals from all over the mid-Atlantic region will be coming to Sandy Cove Conference Center for our Northeast Regional Winter Conference.   Always a highlight, they come to hear great teaching, participate in small groups, enjoy fellowship, and relax.

With the Chesapeake in the background, the sun sets at Sandy Cove.

This year’s theme is “If Anyone Would Come After Me: A Call to Consecration, Commitment, Conscience, and Commission”.  It gives healthcare professionals a chance to step back and ask themselves questions like, “Who am I in Christ?”, “Why am I in healthcare?”, and “To what has God called me as a follower of Christ?”  Since their typical pace of life is so frenetic, the conference is an essential opportunity for much-needed reflection and redirection.

With this in mind, please keep the following requests in prayer:

  • for God to powerfully meet with, impact, and refresh, each student and healthcare professional who attends.  In particular, that He would help them re-ask the sort of “big” questions I mention above, and then help them to make any changes He’s calling them to.  We’re aiming for long-term transformation!
  • for our speaker, CMDA CEO Dr. David Stevens.  He’s a tremendous speaker, and yet he needs the Holy Spirit to empower his messages.
  • for Sharon and the children, who will join me on Saturday.  Pray for the many interactions Sharon will have with the students, and that God would use our family to give the students a tangible ‘portrait’ of what a Christian family can look like.
  • for me, as I talk with students throughout the weekend.  Our conversations are opportunities for me to encourage and challenge them, and give me many prayer and ministry concerns to follow-up on later.  Pray also that the messages would help me help the students in this regard.  Finally, pray that God would bless my administrative and worship-leading roles over the weekend.

Thank you, friends, for standing with me during the weekend.  Let’s expect – and pray for – God to do great things!

Grace to you,

Bryan