As early as in the 1950s, it was clear that many issues faced by Christian healthcare professionals were similar across different countries, and that some kind of international network was desired. In 1963, the first International Congress of Christian Physicians was held in Amsterdam, with 16 countries represented. This summer, sixty years later, Tanzania hosted the 17th ICMDA World Congress, at which we welcomed 16 new members which brings the total number of member countries to 100. A worldwide, interdenominational family of Christian doctors and dentists (to be) is a reality…and you are already part of it!
our daily workLet's get back to the basics. How do we see our daily work? Do we expect to be made Christ-like through everything that we experience? And do we long to reflect Christ in everything that we do? Does the Bible teach us this, using images that we see in our daily work? To find out, we'll explore a few examples.
'As Jesus walked beside the Sea of Galilee, he saw Simon and his brother Andrew casting a net into the lake, for they were fishermen. "Come, follow me," Jesus said, "and I will send you out to fish for people'. (Mark 1:16-17)
The apostle Paul was a tentmaker, and in the second letter to the Corinthians he uses this image to describe that 'For we know that if the earthly tent we live in is destroyed, we have a building from God, an eternal house in heaven, not built by human hands.' (2 Corinthians 5:1)
And when we consider the trade of a carpenter, we realise that our Lord had daily used wood and nails, knowing that one day he would be nailed to the wood himself.
The Bible often uses images of professions, including references to the shepherd,  the potter,  and the physician.  Through our secular jobs, the Lord teaches us Kingdom lessons that change our perspective. We find that there is no 'secular' and 'sacred' in the life of a Christian, but that we belong to him, both on Sundays and Mondays.
We read that:'You know when I sit and when I rise;You perceive my thoughts from afar. You discern my going out and my lying down;You are familiar with all my ways.' (Psalm 139:2-3).
Our days of studying or nights on duty are included! He is not far from us. And he has given us each other to walk together as we face challenges of different kinds in the 21st century workplace.
UK CMF is one of the strongest member bodies in the world, with many active members, and a wealth of resources. As a student, you may find that you've already been blessed by getting involved with a local group or bigger conferences. Be thankful! But why not then broaden your view and look across borders? Because there is even more, both to give and to receive. From the very early days of the church, we see the idea of one body, united across countries. The testimonies of our Christian colleagues abroad encourage us, give us new ideas and stir us up to love and good works. We receive from them and may also give to them from what we have.
We hear from our Spanish friends how the local group in Madrid gathered daily to pray during the strikes of general practitioners for an entire month. We hear how our Italian friends trusted the Lord for raising 12,000 euros (£10,328) within a month, to be able to buy a mobile clinic for medical missions.
This included the project 'Take care of your heart' which offers free cardiovascular screening and a free copy of the gospel. We hear how our Belgian friends continue to see each other, though they are very few and scattered across the country. We build friendships with students and junior doctors and meet each other whenever and wherever we can. We get inspired by true stories of what God is doing in our personal and professional lives. And now we invite you to come and see!
how can I get involved with ICMDA?
- Every month, students and juniors from across the region gather online to pray. Every month, we put one country of the region in the spotlights, inviting a representative to share from Scripture and to share prayer requests. Feel free to join on the last Thursday of the month, at 7pm UK time. Even if you are not able to join with camera or microphone, you're most welcome to listen along and pray with us in your heart.
- Take part in one of the ICMDA training tracks! These are online courses on a variety of topics and an amazing opportunity to get in touch with the ICMDA family. Details can be found on the ICMDA website (icmda.net/regions/europe).
- From 5-8 October 2023, all students and junior doctors in the region are invited to the ICMDA Western European conference in Portugal. The theme echoes 2 Timothy 4:2: 'Be ready, in season and out of season'. We are looking forward to four days of fun and fellowship in a refreshing environment near Porto. See you there!
- Follow our social media channels to stay updated. ICMDA Western Europe is on Facebook (ICMDA Western Europe) and Instagram (icmda_western_europe).
- Do get in touch with Julien van der Does (Area Representative, covering the North-Western European countries) or myself, using the ICMDA contact forms on the website (icmda.net) or our e-mail address firstname.lastname@example.org
Ella Metry is Regional Representative for ICMDA Western Europe and is a doctor in the Netherlands