Posts Tagged ‘CMDA’

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Winter Conference Starts Tonight!

January 18, 2013
The view from my window as the first students arrive.

The view from my window as the first students arrive.

As I write this short update, I can see the first students start to arrive for our annual CMDA Northeast Winter Conference.  As always, this weekend is one of excitement and anticipation as 150 healthcare students and professionals gather together for teaching, fellowship, worship and refreshment.

I’ll provide a fuller update next week, but for now, please pray that God:

  • gives us hearts that are receptive and ready to meet with him;
  • helps me connect meaningfully with those who attend, and particularly with those from Philadelphia;
  • that God empowers Dr. Joseph Harvey as he speaks on “Reverse Course: Backing Up To Move Forward”.  Using Genesis 50 as his starting point, Dr. Harvey hopes to challenge students and professionals to step back from the intense world of medicine, remembering God and His promises, so that they can again move forward with passion.
  • that the work God accomplishes here would not stay here, but rather be transforming as we return home.  Pray that God would give me discernment as I seek to follow-up in the weeks ahead.

We expect that God already has big plans for our time here.  I can’t wait to share with you how it all unfolds!

 

 

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Winter Conference Recap

January 18, 2012

God gave us a great turnout!

Thanks so much for praying for our CMDA Winter Conference!  God really blessed our weekend.  In this update, I want to give you an inside look at the weekend through some “statistics”, pictures and snapshots of what God did.

Winter Conference By The Numbers

One of our group worship times.

Mere numbers can never capture the relationships they represent, but these quick “stats” may give you a unique perspective on my experience at the conference.

  • 160 students, healthcare providers and other attendees from Connecticut to southern Virginia
  • 53 hours from start to finish over 3 days and 2 nights
  • 3 hours of driving, 10 hours of sleep and 40 hours of conversations and logistics
  • conversations with 89 different people, many of which were in-depth
  • 30 new people met
  • 4 talks and times of worship with our students and healthcare providers
  • 2 car rides with our speaker and his family where we spoke at length
  • 1 phenomenal time of planning for a spring mini-retreat with other Philly students and physicians

Zooming In

Although Winter Conference takes place on a larger scale, in many ways it’s also about the many individual and small group interactions that God provides.  This is where some of the most intense ministry takes place, often unnoticed.  Here are snapshots of some of my favorite times at the conference.

The Penn students from this year's conference.

Throughout the weekend, I enjoyed sharing a room with three of the Penn guys.  After I agreed to help the Penn ladies pull a prank on them, I was discovered and wound up being pranked myself, with my reaction unwittingly captured on video!  These are the kind of rare opportunities to connect and have fun together that only happen at conferences like these.

Dr. Charlene Brock with some of the Drexel students

It was a joy watching two of our local council members, Drs. Charlene Brock and Jerry Hric, make it down for the conference.  Like everyone on our council, they have such a heart for investing in the students, and it’s exciting to invest in God’s work as a team.

God gave me lots of great conversations with students from Philly.  One shared about a new dating relationship he had just begun and ways in which God was helping him re-engage spiritually and relationally.  In between sessions, a leader asked if we could talk about the lower turnout from his school, and what we could do to strengthen involvement at his campus.  Another leader mentioned that her campus had significant involvement from first-year students, but that as of yet none seemed ready to lead for next year.  I was thankful for the chance to encourage these students and learn about important campus dynamics that I can follow-up on now that we’re back in the city.

During worship, Matt Redman’s “Never Once” became our theme song over the weekend.  Its words were, at the same time, our experience and prayer:

Standing on this mountaintop
Looking just how far we’ve come
Knowing that for every step
You were with us
 
Never once did we ever walk alone
Never once did you leave us on our own
You are faithful, God, You are faithful
 

Some of the guys & I at Denny's

As the song mentions, the conference was a sort of “mountaintop” for many of us, a vantage point from which we could see all that God has done, particularly as we look back on where we were just one year ago.

One student, “Mark”, was wrestling through what it meant to be a leader during last year’s conference.  God blessed us with an important conversation then that He used (in part) to help Mark take important new steps of faith and courage that transformed him and the ministry on his campus.  It was incredibly gratifying to watch Mark – without any prompting on my part – take initiative in advance of this year’s conference to gather the Philly area folks there for a spring ministry planning meeting.  Even better, his vision is to provide direction while enlisting others to step up so the conference can be self-sustaining from year-to-year.  While God gets the credit, I’m thankful to have played – and continue to play – a role in Mark’s development as a leader who is beginning to develop other leaders.  This is how the Kingdom multiplies!

There’s so much more I could share, but I hope this view from the ‘mountaintop’ gives you a taste for what God did.  Thank you for making weekends like this one possible through your faithful partnership with us.  To God be the glory!

Bryan & Sharon

PS – A special thanks to Jefferson student Sharon Li for permission to use her (fantastic) pictures!

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Beyond What We Can Ask Or Imagine

December 23, 2011

As the end of the year approaches, our family and partners in ministry are grateful for all that God has done in and through us this past year.  We’re already looking forward to another great year, beginning with the students’ return in early January and our CMDA Northeast Winter Conference, where students and professionals from the region will gather together for a weekend of encouragement and refreshment over Martin Luther King, Jr. weekend.

For now, though, I want to encourage you that your prayers and gifts are making a tremendous difference.  As you know, throughout the semester we have been hosting 20-25 students from the area for an in-home bible study breakfast and study of Jesus, MD, a book by our CEO Dr. David Stevens.

At the end of that book, Dr. Stevens shares about how God worked in nearly-miraculous ways to provide a hydroelectric dam for the mission hospital (Tenwek) where Dr. Stevens served some time ago.  For many years, the dam had seemed like a pipe dream, entirely out of reach because of the exorbitant expense.  And yet, God “showed up” in unbelievable ways so that this need was finally met, allowing critical medical equipment to operate throughout the night, thus literally saving many lives.

In our study, this hydroelectric dam has become a tangible symbol for what the ‘impossible’ things God wants to do in and through the members of our group.  At the end of our final meeting for the semester, Sharon and I were humbled as the students presented us with a card of appreciation.  But it wasn’t just any card.  It was a pop-up card, made by one of the students, featuring a representation of the hydroelectric dam from Jesus, MD (pictured above)!  The gratifying part was not so much that we were thanked, but that the students are “getting” how great God is and what He wants to do in and through them.  This is why we’re in ministry!

We can’t wait to see what “hydroelectric dams” God may have in store for us in the coming year.  Be encouraged that God is at work, and join us in praying that He will meet and exceed our expectations, as He always does (Ephesians 3:20).

With prayers for a grace-filled Christmas and New Year,

Bryan & Sharon