And then there was one.
Seven days ago I arrived here in Charlotte, NC where I met the other eight SIM short-term missionaries (STA’s) that would be going through orientation with me. They have all now departed to begin their journeys to various parts of the world and have left me here alone to reflect on the incredible things that have happened this past week.
A quick recap to make sure everyone reading is up to speed: In May I finished my first year of medical school (Woohoo!), and am now enjoying what is commonly referred to as my “last summer”. After this, school becomes pretty much a year-round thing (woohoo…). So armed with the knowledge that this was my last good chunk of free time for a long time, considerable amounts of time, research, and prayer went into deciding how best to spend it. My biggest desire was to find a short-term mission trip to serve on. About a year and a half ago, God started really putting the idea of working in missions in my head and on my heart through multiple means including books (specifically, Wine to Water by Doc Hendley – fantastic book if you’re looking for one), sermons (looking at you, David Platt), and conversations with multiple friends and family. And as an answer to my prayer for the opportunity to use my talents and passions in mission work, God provided me this incredible summer program through Medical Strategic Network and SIM. Having just spent this week at orientation with SIM, I will soon be heading to Redlands, CA where I will be participating in the Whole Person Care Preceptorship, a program designed for Christian healthcare workers to teach how to tactfully, compassionately, and effectively share our faith in Christ while working in a hospital setting. Following that, I will be heading to Jos, Nigeria with SIM to serve as an intern at Bingham University Teaching Hospital. More on both of these programs as the summer progresses!
But for now, back to this past week.
As I said, I got arrived here last Tuesday, and up until the last day or so we’ve been going pretty much nonstop. The nine of us here are collectively going to five different countries in South America and Africa this summer. In preparation, we’ve had classes on everything from prayer and devotion to finances to traveler safety to cross-cultural religion. We have met fellow missionaries from around the world, eaten a West African dinner with a Nigerian couple who are both physicians, prepared a lunch with dishes from our respective countries, and been yelled at in Tamasheq by our “taxi” driver (amazingly funny story, you should really ask me about it sometime)!
And while all this has been incredible, I’ve got to say that the thing that has impacted me the most has been the people here at SIM. These people are warriors. I don’t mean that they’re overly loud or aggressive – in fact, they’re very warm, welcoming, and fun – but the people here are fighting for Christ, with eternal implications, and they know it. SIM is a global, multicultural organization with eyes for the most unreached people groups in the world. The people leaving from here are willingly going to the darkest places where there are high levels of Christian persecution, but more importantly, where there are high levels of people who have never heard the name Jesus spoken in love, if at all. And while these individuals are going, the workers here are continuously coming together to fight for them through individual and unified prayer. SIM’s motto is “By Prayer”, indicating that everything they do is held up by asking, talking with, and pleading with God, and I must say, I’ve never heard a more appropriate view or one so well lived out by an organization.
I could go on for a good while about how great SIM is after just this week, but I have a shuttle to the airport tomorrow at 5:45 AM so I’ll stop here. If you’ve made it this far, thanks for hanging with me, and if you didn’t, thanks for taking the time to check in any way! The goal is to keep this thing updated throughout the summer, but I make no promises. (After all, I’ve never done this before.) I cannot express how much your prayers and support mean to me and how truly vital they are to me having this opportunity and being effective in it! I would ask that you continue praying both for me as I take to the skies tomorrow to fly to LAX in California and also for the eight other STA’s as they are beginning or getting ready to begin their ministries as well!
Thanks! See you again in Cali!