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going Deep:ER

Mary Odonkor shares her insights into CMF's Deep:ER programme

Although I joined CMF in the first year of my degree, I hadn't really engaged much (apart from attending one Student Conference). I had picked up a Deep:ER brochure at the Student Conference, but had barely looked at it and had no clue about what the programme involved.

In my third year, I became a bit more active in my university's CMF group and while attending both Student and National Conference, I heard about Deep:ER yet again. Knowing that I would be intercalating in the coming year and taking a course with just six contact hours, I was eager to fill the free time with something useful and productive. I knew another medic who was currently on the programme and after speaking to her, I decided to apply.

The Deep:ER programme involves an opportunity to help at CMF, training and fellowship. My greatest challenge was my role as coordinator for the Sydenham Conference which was the main project I undertook during the year, working alongside the student team. Sydenham is an annual week-long conference for international medical students and young doctors. It equips them with training and resources for leadership in their own countries. This year, we had 16 delegates from 14 different countries participating.

During the conference, we heard from Christian doctors on topics ranging from ethics to how to run a Christian medical group. We also spent time eating with, and getting to know, some local university CMF groups, as well as exploring the cities of London and Cambridge.

Although the conference is organised for the benefit of potential Christian leaders in medicine from other countries, I also gained much from getting to know 16 incredible people with a wealth of differing experiences and hearts which longed to serve Christ.

I appreciated the flexibility which intercalating gave me to participate in the Deep:ER programme. It was an incredible opportunity to be part of the CMF team who welcomed me, looked out for me, and invested in me throughout the year. Deep:ER has also been a great opportunity to engage more intentionally with important issues like suffering, money and transhumanism.

I intercalated in Philosophy and I found our discussions and studies throughout Deep:ER greatly enriched the learning I was doing in my degree — and vice versa. I found that the programme also complemented the range of projects other Deep:ER fellows were engaged in, which varied from an intercalated BSc in Global Health to a biblical ministry training course.

The insight I've gained this year continues to stretch my thinking and compels me to further pursue clarity and truth in how God calls us as Christian medical students and professionals, to glorify his name in all aspects of our work and to not shy away from tough questions.

Mary Odonkor is a former Deep:ER Fellow and medical student at King's College London

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