Posts Tagged ‘Temple’

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Summer Roundup

July 19, 2013

Summer Ministry

Since many of our students are unavailable during June and July, these are good months for getting to areas we ordinarily don’t have much time for, such as support-raising and ‘big picture’ thinking.  We’ve found this is critical to having a successful year of student ministry.

At the same time, God is still giving us many wonderful, personal interactions.  To take one example, we have continued summer bible study dinners in our home, with one more to go.  The Book of Malachi has been challenging us deeply on what it means not only to believe the ‘right’ things, but also to live them out.

God has also continued to bless our community development efforts near Temple.  This past semester, with some assistance from other community leaders and I, students from our Christian fellowship at Temple taught 12 science lessons for two seventh-grade classes at a local public school.  Recent budgetary cuts have left the school without any certified science teachers, so their efforts were especially welcome.  In addition to blessing the children, we are praying that some graduate with a vision for serving Christ in underserved, urban environments and believe this is already happening.  This is just a small part of what’s happening in this arena, so stay tuned!

Loose Ends

If you’re one of our donors, now you can access your giving history, print donation receipts and even update your profile history (such as current address).  Here’s how.  (Note: our Donor Tools website is cmdaphiladelphia.donortools.com).

Some of you have requested not to receive general mailings from CMDA, our parent ministry. You may contact Maggie Combs (maggie dot combs at cmda dot org) and simply ask to opt out.

We’ve also recently created a Facebook page and website for our CMDA Philadelphia ministry. Check them out and let us know what you think!

As August draws near, we’re looking forward to meeting new students and connecting with those who return.  Thank you for your prayers and gifts that make it all possible!

Bryan & Sharon

Please join us in lifting up the following prayers and praises:

  • Praise God for a solid end to our fiscal year and for donors who support us well.
  • Praise God for excellent summer bible studies in the Book of Malachi, and, pray for specific, lasting fruit in student’s lives.  One participant shared, for example, that God has been showing him how serious his sin is and how deeply he is in need of everyday rescue.
  • Pray for our student leaders to stay closely connected to Christ over the summer, and, to continue planning and praying for the fall.
  • Pray for God to be working in the lives of incoming first-year students so that they are receptive to our ministry.
  • Pray for wisdom as various leaders, students and I try to discern next steps in reaching out to the community near Temple.  There are many moving pieces and it’s clear this mission cannot be accomplished in our own strength.
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Going First, Getting Uncomfortable

May 9, 2013

People in the community just assume you’re here for you.  There are a lot of preconceived notions, but if you’re willing to get uncomfortable, they can be worked through.

2013-04-08_12-37-39_400[1]In November, I invited Pastor Larry Smith and Hakim Pitts, members of a church near Temple Med, to come to Temple’s campus fellowship and share about what it’s like to live in the surrounding, underserved community.

What they shared was, to say the least, eye-opening for all of us.  Seeing family members die at gunpoint.  Struggling to make ends meet.  Watching shiny new buildings go up across the street yet feeling that the people who work and study there don’t care about you.

At the same time, despite the many disconnections between us and the community, Hakim and ‘Pastor Larry’ gave us hope that things could be different.  That we could bless the community, and, that they could bless us… if we are willing to ‘go first’ and ‘get uncomfortable.’  (Sounds like Someone Else I know).

With that promise, we invited them to speak again recently, this time to a broader audience at Temple that included people from the administration and students outside our campus group.  While many who came don’t share our faith, they do share our heart for the community.  Toward the end, it was exciting to see many brainstorming about how we can specifically improve the school’s relationship with the community.   It also seems likely that they will return to address each year’s students.

This event is part of a much larger picture of what God is doing in the area – and – us.  The students in our campus group, for example, recruited 20 of their peers to teach science regularly at a local elementary school that has few resources due to city budgetary cuts.

In Jeremiah 29, God tells His people to ‘seek the welfare of the city where I have sent you into exile, and pray to the Lord on its behalf, for in its welfare you will find your welfare’.  While there are obvious differences between the original hearers’ circumstances and our own, this passage certainly means that we need to care about the place where God has planted us, and, that our well-being is connected to that of those around us.

This is not how we usually think, of course.  It’s all too common for students to parachute in, get their training, and then get out, moving on to wherever they’re going.  This is entirely understandable, but it’s not a Jeremiah 29 approach.  Especially at a place like Temple, where the community’s needs are so clear and the opportunities to learn from it are so great.

And so, with God’s help, I’m committed to helping our students ‘go first’ and ‘get uncomfortable’.  My heart is that they will graduate not merely with clinical competence, but with God’s own heart for those around them.  It just may be that some of the most important lessons they learn during medical school take place outside the confines of their classrooms.

As we always do, we want to take a moment and say thank you for making all this possible through your generous prayers and gifts.  You are an essential part of this ministry!

Bryan & Sharon

For prayer & praise:

  • Praise for God’s faithfulness in all He’s doing in and through our Temple students.  And, further praise for the many others who are involved in other aspects of the work.  Please pray for wisdom as we consider next steps, and, for me as I help others implement them.
  • Praise for new leaders at our area campuses.  All but one of our new teams has at least four leaders!  Please pray for Penn, which would be blessed as others step up.  And, pray for me as I try to shepherd each team through this transitional season.
  • Finally, please pray for good times of mentoring over the next month, before students go home for the summer, or, move on to rotations.
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The Best Week Ever

March 15, 2012

Just this morning, Dr. David Levy drove off to New York City for the final stage of his East Coast trip.  It marked the end of a wonderful week of ministry in Philadelphia, so I wanted to provide you with a brief report of his time here.

Intermed

This was our biggest event of the week, with well over 100 in attendance on Friday and Saturday.  In addition to our usual student population, we made an effort to attract more residents and graduates this time, and we made good progress on that front.

Without exaggeration, the talks by author and neurosurgeon Dr. Levy were some of the best I’ve heard in a long time.  His messages on sharing faith with those around us, forgiveness and joy combined humor, real-life experience, Scripture and specific application in a very special way.   At the end of the sessions, he walked us through practical exercises on forgiveness and letting go of offenses that created an atmosphere that was, at once, both serious and light.

After the exercise on forgiveness, one student said, “Up until now, I’ve been angry with my mom, but I couldn’t really say why.  Dr. Levy’s practical examples helped me put words to my anger so that I could confess it and forgive my mom.”  She was almost giddy with joy as she shared, and many related similar stories.  God was at work!

Campus Events

In addition to Intermed, Dr. Levy spoke at the Temple, UMDNJ-SOM (Stratford, NJ) and Penn medical campuses.  These were exciting events, with an unusual mixture of Christians and others at various points in their own spiritual journeys.

At SOM, about 55 people came out to hear Dr. Levy speak over dinner.  Jasen, one of the student leaders, had attracted a unique group of believers and spiritually-open folks from the school and surrounding community.  One student said the presentation was the best he had heard the entire year!

Later, 12-15 of us went back with Dr. Levy to the Hrics’ home to continue the conversation over dessert.  Dr. Hric and his wife Susan have made their home a ‘safe place’ for people seeking truth, and our time together there was phenomenal.  Dr. Levy invited each of us to share our spiritual journey, starting with our experience growing up.  One student, honest about being agnostic, expressed his respect for the humility he’s observed in Christians.  He understands the connection to the Christian faith, where our God, though strong, came to serve the weak.  The next day, another student texted me, saying “last night was the most enriching night I’ve had in a very long time, possibly ever.”  I’ve heard testimony today that those came are still telling others and that there’s an overall buzz and excitement!

It’s really hard to communicate in an email how absolutely wonderful this week was.  Everyone who participated came away challenged and encouraged.  ‘Friendships with a purpose’ were created and renewed.  And, there has been a real synergy created by so many people coming together for a common purpose.

Thank you, thank you for your prayers!  Please keep praying that God continues working, and that we intentionally engage others, in the weeks ahead!

Amazed by God,

Bryan & Sharon