A second year student from Vienna attended the first training conference for medical student leaders in Central Europe in September. He knew of only four other Christian students in his medical school of 4,000. He was fired with enthusiasm to reach out to his medical school and the latest news is that there are now 11 students meeting together and starting to witness to their fellow students. This is one small microcosm of things happening explosively all over the region.
Growth has been exponential in the last five years. In 2003 we had a part time unpaid regional secretary, no supporting committee, and a budget of less than £5,000. In 2007, besides the honorary regional secretary, we have had two part time paid staff (Jonny Thiessen, co-ordinator and James Tomlinson, associate regional secretary), eight unpaid junior doctors acting as Area Student Representatives, a vibrant international committee, and a turnover in excess of £30,000.
Eurasia is ICMDA's largest region, spanning three continents and 70 countries. Even with this expansion it has been hard to keep pace with developments like the cameo from Vienna. Growth has been most striking among students and juniors.
Highlights of the year have been the Committee and training programme for ASRs in Marburg, Germany in March. Here a number of West European countries caught the vision of supporting financially. This was focused on bursary support for the highly significant Russian speaking conference in Samara in July with 120 young leaders from all over the Russian speaking world. A DVD report is available (apply to the Trust address shown).
The Central European student leaders' training was another first, and James travelled extensively to nurture young groups and leaders in areas as diverse as Scandinavia and Central Asia, Romania and Belarus. In September we said goodbye to Jonny Thiessen, and alternative administrative support for James is a work in progress.
At year end it was a cause for wonder and praise that the regional expenditure, which more than doubled the previous year's costs, had been met. This was in part due to several large gifts (including some from churches) which may not be repeated.
ICMDA Eurasia's major focus for 2008 is the four-yearly conference to be held at Schladming, Austria from 7-14 September. Details are available on www.icmda.net and booking forms should accompany this mailing.
In 2000 the conference attracted 220 (50 of them students). In 2004 attendance was 600 (half being students and juniors). This year we plan for 1,000, a major logistic task for the small Austrian committee, James Tomlinson, and his team. For the first time we expect to run a programme for other health disciplines. A substantial UK contingent would be a blessing.
CMF members have traditionally been generous in supporting the bursary fund. While we expect greater participation by other West European countries this time, we will still be relying heavily on your generosity. As the pie chart shows we are looking for a bursary fund of at least £30,000. Past experience shows that enabling young leaders from emerging situations to attend such a conference is pivotal in developing lasting new work. Gifts can be sent to the ICMDA (UK) Trust and Gift Aid can be claimed where appropriate.
We have been encouraged by a significant gift for travel from a Netherlands agency and the Dutch CMF. Other expenses, notably supporting James and his team, continue as before. Thank you for your continued prayerful support of this exciting and growing work.
This is the legally registered charitable trust that holds funds on behalf of ICMDA internationally. Marinus Verweij (Netherlands) has taken over the chairmanship. Peter Pattisson is secretary, but has moved house and email address. If you are sending gifts to the Trust please note the current address details below. The Trust is actively looking for a new secretary. Involving a few hours a month, it might suit a recently retired member with a heart for international work and some facility with simple account keeping. Please contact: The Secretary, ICMDA (UK) Trust, Springwood, Balmer Lawn Road, Brockenhurst, Hampshire SO42 7TT. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Ralph Colt is the recently appointed first SJGGS for ICMDA. He is Lebanese, comes from a Christian family and runs his own dental practice in Beirut. He has been involved with ICMDA for some years, in particular attending the world congresses in Taiwan 2002 and Sydney 2006. He speaks English, French, Arabic and Lebanese fluently and asks for prayer that he may regain fluency in Spanish before the 2010 World Congress in Uruguay. Ralph joined the international students pre-conference in London recently, and we will feature him in the next edition.