Short Term Missions
For many years ICMDA member organisations have been involved in short term missions as an outreach to neighbouring countries. Those who have participated and shared in this experience have benefited enormously in their own spiritual journeys. This adds further to the value these outreach projects are to those on the receiving end. Here are some examples to inform and encourage.
The CMF in Argentina organises outreaches to outlying communities such as Patagonia in the South and Chaco to the North.Working with the Churches multi disciplinary teams engage in teaching in schools and holding health clinics. Contact is maintained following these visits through regular provision of much needed medicines. The gospel is shared at evening meetings. The message brought back tells of the great need there is for these services of compassion and the blessings such experiences bring to each one of the team. Students and young doctors are invited to participate in these activities.
There is a phenomenal movement in South Korea to engage in mission reaching out into 'all the world' for Christ. All staff working in the Good Samaritan Hospital in Pohang are expected to be involved in outreach. This means much prayer, dedication, time away from work in the Hospital and family, and personal financial commitment. In addition to missions within Korea trips to Africa, Mongolia and other parts of Asia, take place three times a year.
Visiting Brazil in November 2005, I met a Christian Dentist, Tercio Obara in Sao Paulo, who told of long treks for days into the Amazon Jungle. Missionaries have made contact over a number of years with communities and tribes of the region. The needs are immense for health care of the most basic kind. Tercio has had to improvise to ensure appropriate dental equipment is available for him to practise 'constructive' dentistry. The outcome of this amazing contact has been that of building a bond of trust between the tribal people and the caregivers which has opened the way for God's word to be spoken and received.
During the recent December vacation a group of students and doctors from Durban went to Zavora, Mozambique. Here is one doctor's testimony: Although I don't know God's exact calling on my life, my journey taught me not to fear what the future may hold but has rather instilled in me an excitement. I eagerly anticipate the events that will unravel as I walk in God's good and perfect will. (Kim Smith)
Building God's Kingdom
So what's the message? Jesus says 'Go then to all people's every where' (Mt 28:19) (GNB) When we leave our comfort zones and reach out in obedience, the blessings of his provisions, plan and purpose for our lives begin to flow, these shaping and moulding us for his Kingdom.
I urge you, brothers', wrote Paul as he set out his plans for further advance across Europe,'by our Lord Jesus Christ and by the love of the Spirit, to join us… by praying to God for us'(Romans 15:30). Here is a kaleidoscope of growing points and praying points from across Europe.
The Scandinavian movements are the oldest in Europe – Denmark founded in 1897, Finland in 1924, Norway in 1930 and Sweden in 1938. By comparison, CMF dating from 1949 is a mere adolescent! Medical mission support has always been strong and continues with AIDS care, TB control, local staff training, mission hospital support and tentmaker ministries. Right across Scandinavia there is a resurgence of student and young graduate involvement. With only tenuous links at present, Iceland remains a prayer target in Scandinavia.
The small movements in Spain, Portugal and Greece continue with sacrificial service in hostile surroundings. Student work is closely linked with IFES. Spain and Portugal are planning a joint conference next year.We are still seeking out links in Italy, Malta and Cyprus. If anyone has any contacts in these countries please let me know.
Until very recently CMF was the only movement in Europe with any employed staff at all. This is beginning to change. This year AGEAS (Switzerland) are appointing a part-time medically qualified general secretary. ACM (Germany) appointed a part-time secretary two years ago and last year added a part-time student secretary (young medical graduate). CMF Netherlands have followed suit and, as mentioned above, NKLF in Norway have had a part-time student secretary (and an office secretary) for several years. Ministry development can only reach a certain level with voluntary help alone. These appointments are indicators of new advances and deserve our prayers.
Many of the smaller movements in Central and Eastern Europe include all medical disciplines.We have been taking significant steps in developing partnership with Healthcare Christian Fellowship International (HCFI) in these areas, seeking the benefit and blessing of God's people there rather than the interests of our separate organisations. This is a delicate but important process and will be much helped by your prayers.
Last year the German ACM led a student summer camp in Czech Republic with help and encouragement from James Tomlinson. This year the Czech students are inviting Slovak and Polish friends to share. Again and again these summer camps have led to the birth and growth of new movements.