Greetings in Christ! In the midst of a world that is rapidly changing and in many ways straying from the moral and biblical foundations of our forefathers, I write to you with a bittersweet sense of discouragement in the direction that America is going, balanced with a heart that sees God's ever-present faithfulness and sovereignty working even now.
It is not an easy time to be a Christian- simply pointing out things that God in the Bible calls sin can lead to being labelled as "judgmental" or "bigoted"- even if done in a way that is gentle and loving. People don't want to hear that they need a savior, instead wanting to have their ears tickled with the idea that "everyone is 'OK'" and that there is no absolute truth. Navigating these currents as Christian medical providers takes discernment and courage- but in reality, the challenges we face in America are not that different from the ones that our brothers and sisters in Christ have faced in other countries for decades. What brings me hope is that God's purposes will prevail no matter what this world brings- and we have the unique opportunity to be a part of what God is doing.
It has been far too long since we've sent out an update for what God has been doing in the Northeast Ohio medical community and beyond- but I am grateful for the opportunity share, if belatedly. We've been blessed to be able celebrate the end of another school year and to say good bye to some of the medical students who have been engaged with the CMDA over their 4 years at Case, CCLCM and NEOMED. Many of these students have had investments in their lives through members and ministries at the CMDA and God has grown fruit that will continue to be produced as they move on to their residency training.
I think of Sam Hwu, (now Same Hwu, MD) who was one of the CMDA leaders early on in his medical school career. Throughout his four years in Cleveland, Sam volunteered as many medical students do, at the Faith Baptist Pregnancy Center (freehope.org) and watched Christian providers care both for the health and the souls of the uninsured people in mid-town Cleveland. On his family medicine preceptorship, Sam shadowed me around my clinic and saw what a difference it makes to be able to engage Christians and non-Christians with the hope of the gospel. Now Sam is starting his residency in Boston and I have no doubt that he will be a compassionate and effect physician who has the spiritual tools to go to "work" in patient's lives. It is such a joy to pass the word of God, the good news of sins redeemed and hope for the world through Christ to the next generation of Christian healthcare workers.
Another praise comes from hearing about the ministry of Eric Chen, an InterVarsity staff worker who had spent the past two years investing in the NEOMED CMDA group. As a part-time staff member of our NEOMED chapter, supported by members like you, Eric built rich relationships and discipled medical students. This resulted, by God's grace, in a blossoming of the strength and vitality of the NEOMED group that we hope will continue in the future. Though Eric has since been called to California to continue his ministry, we are hopeful that we can find another staff member that can continue the work that he started.
As we look forward to another school year of God's faithfulness, there are a couple things on the horizon for us. One announcement is that we are having a NEOCMDA Fall Retreat at Beulah Beach in Vermillion, OH on September 20-21. I am excited about this opportunity to worship, rest, fellowship with other CMDA members and for spouses of medical providers to be ministered as well. It's going to be a fantastic time- you can sign up at neocmda.com. Spots are limited, so sign up early! More information below.
One last thing, running a ministry like this requires money. This year, we had three wonderful part-time staff helping us to be more effective in our ministries- Stacey Prestegaard, our talented administrative aid, Eric Chen (whose focus was the NEOMED ministry) and Hung Lu (whose focus has been building bridges between the Case and CCFLCM groups). We support medical students and staff on missions trips and subsidize them on conferences. Many of you have given faithfully and we have tried to be good stewards of the generosity that is shown to us. That being said, our ministry was more than $2,000 in the red over the past year. Thankfully, we have money in the bank to ride out the ups and downs of the economy, but continuing this trajectory for years is unsustainable. About 80% of our donations come from about 10 donors and this ministry has a scope that reaches to the hundreds. Please pray about supporting us- we need your prayers but it sure would be helpful to have people who believe in what God is doing in us to partner with us financially.
In the midst of the storms that rage and the glorious joys of these years that the Lord gives us until we go home to Him, I am grateful to know that we serve a God whose voice quieted the storms and who promised those who love Him that they would never be apart from Him, to the very end of the age. This is the God that we serve- and His plan can not be thwarted.
Grateful to be working along side of many of you to engage our world for the glory of Christ,