If you met Sam, you would notice how tall he is. Very tall! But there's a lot more to Sam than just his height. His story is both moving and inspiring. I am sure it will touch your heart as it did mine. Sam is one of our junior doctor members, who recently arrived back in the UK from eight months working as a missionary doctor in Nigeria. He was at the CMF office for a debrief with our Head of Global, Fi McLachlan; he told us some compelling stories, which I'll share with you shortly.
But there's another story I want to tell you too - the story of how Fi is working with her team to support volunteers like Sam, training, equipping, and resourcing them to do their amazing work.
All CMF's work, of which our global ministry is one key part, needs your help. We are trusting God to help us raise over £50,000 from this appeal.
So, what is Sam's story, and what part does CMF (and your support) play in all this? Sam joined CMF at a Freshers' BBQ at the start of his medical studies. Every student conference (and Sam didn't miss one!) has a seminar on the topic of working abroad. Listening to medics telling their experiences of working abroad, really inspired Sam.
Sam then went on to Global Track, which combines theological and missiological training with studying Christian medical ethics in a cross-cultural context. This included two days at CMF's week-long Developing Health Course. It also covers reaching the nations from a UK base, for example, working with refugees. 'The real-life case studies were particularly memorable' remembers Sam.
'There were no right or wrong answers, but this was great training in preparing us for the kind of decisions we would have to make one day'. The seasoned missionaries candidly shared their past errors, offering valuable lessons.
CMF's Global team facilitated Sam's connections with experienced individuals in the field, helping him discern his destination. Eventually he chose Jos, in Nigeria, with SIM (Serving in Mission). While Sam enjoyed his months in Jos, it wasn't always easy. He recounted a heart-breaking tale of caring for a nine-year-old girl in hospital, who was very ill and malnourished. One day she disappeared - the family had taken her to have her uvula cut out by a local tribal doctor. She returned to hospital with a severe throat infection as a result and died a little while later.
Thinking back, Sam added 'It's hard to work in a broken system. We'd have quite a few patients with pneumonia who weren't getting better, despite treatment. It would be impossible to know if there was a medical reason, or if it was because the drugs we were giving them were out of date or very poor quality. So that's also hard to deal with.'
How could a medical education in the UK or Ireland possibly prepare you for this? This is why your support is so essential - because your giving means that CMF can continue to focus on advancing all our ministries, including our Global work. And in turn, more people like Sam can attend training like Global Track, where students are given the tools to prepare them for what they might find.
Sam sent regular prayer letters home to his supporters, including the team at CMF who would constantly assure him of their prayers. And part of the support was his debrief with Fi on returning to the UK.
Sam has a busy time ahead of him - he is starting part-time theological training alongside working and teaching in hospital. He is waiting to see if God opens the door to working abroad again - but if he does go down that route, he knows that the CMF team will be there, ready to support and listen.
Sam's story illustrates some of the many ways CMF works to encourage global partnerships, and connect, equip, and grow our members in every area, every day. Will you help us continue to support our members in this way?
PS - More than half of CMF's income comes from gifts in addition to subscriptions from generous supporters like you. Please give what you can towards CMF's ministries. I'll be meeting with the Board on 2 December to finalise budgets, so if you're able to give before that date, your gift will have a significant impact on our plans for 2024.
If you would prefer to donate via Stewardship, visit: stewardship.org.uk/pages/autumnappeal23