So far this year I have travelled to six countries, encouraging individuals and groups and visiting conferences. Travel to Estonia and Greece was to participate in their national conferences, where I was struck by the faithfulness of those who led and organised them. The value of such gatherings is clear from the teaching received and from the support found through connecting Christian medics and dentists. Both organisations, the Estonian ECPS and the Greek CMDA, seek to engage with students, juniors and seniors as they encourage healthcare professionals to integrate faith and medical practice.
During our March Eurasia Committee and ASRs' meeting, we decided to support a proposed ICMDA world congress within the region in 2014, with no large regional conference in the interim. Excitingly, a number of smaller sub-regional and leadership conferences are being planned, with the aim of strengthening leaders and connections across the region.
These plans fall within our vision to enable medical and dental students and graduates in every country of Eurasia to follow Jesus wholeheartedly in healthcare through:
- enabling healthy national movements
- leadership training and development
- regional and area conferences
- development of resources and literature
- supporting students and juniors
- partnership working with likeminded organisations
- strengthening the Eurasia team
As well as improving dialogue, a consultation process with the leaders of national movements in Eurasia has contributed to developing our vision and strategy for the region. Feedback and sharing on this with leaders of the national movements will take place over the coming months.
Central Asian congress
This August, ICMDA in Eurasia is supporting a congress for Christian medics from across Central Asia. Exploring the conference theme 'Human Health: A Holistic Approach', talks and seminars will equip delegates to live out their faith practically and apply a holistic approach to patient care. Commenting on the theme, the organisers write 'Because our spirit, soul and body are important to God, we believe a holistic approach to our patients is a great need of medics within Central Asia – especially those called to bring good news and healing through medical practice'.
Previous conferences in Central Asia have been important in envisioning and encouraging believers to integrate their faith and medicine, and have developed the network of Christian medical groups. Believers in these countries face many challenges but have huge opportunities as they seek to be salt and light among their patients and colleagues. Please pray for this work and for the coming congress.
Central Europe leaders' training
In April, ARCHAE, the Austrian member movement, hosted the second Central European Student Leaders' training alongside their student and juniors conference.
Student leaders from Germany, Netherlands, Austria, Slovenia, Slovakia, Czech Republic and Switzerland stayed on for a further 24 hours' focused time of training. Seminars on mentoring, running Christian medical groups, evangelism, running a student conference, and publications stimulated discussion and sharing. Time was also spent in prayer for the work among medical students in Central Europe. Those who came reported that the time had been a big encouragement and help, whether they were already leading a Christian medical group for students or were the only Christian student they knew of at their medical school.
New ASR for Central Europe
During the weekend Matthäus Fellinger took over from Dr Chris Gerken as Area Student Representative. Chris hands over after six years' faithful service; his encouragement of student leaders has been greatly appreciated and has borne much fruit. Matthäus is a medical student in Vienna, and previous leader of his university's Christian medical group which started in 2007 following the first student leadership training organised by Chris.
New CEO for ICMDA
As I write, participants from around the world are beginning their journey to this year's World Congress in Uruguay. During the conference Dr Vinod Shah from India will be confirmed as the new CEO, taking over from Dr Daryl Hackland next year. More from the congress next edition.
work a day for ICMDA
The day this year is Friday 15 October. Do consider joining with others in supporting the work of ICMDA through prayer and by giving the equivalent of a day's salary. A fund to support area conferences within the Eurasia region, such as the Central Asian congress, is being developed. Gifts for ICMDA including for Eurasia may now be made to the ICMDA UK Trust via the Charity Choice website: www.charitychoice.co.uk/donation.asp?ref=159185