It was at the Cardiothoracic Center Housing dedication when I walked up to the top floor and ran into an unexpected person. I had to take a double-take as the last time I saw this person was at a dinner in Cleveland, OH almost 1 year ago. It was Keir with the Pan-African Academy of Christian Surgeons (PAACS). It was so good to see him and felt like we picked up right where we left off at the dinner in Cleveland almost 1 year ago.
I shared with Keir my continued passion for training professionals in Healthcare Administration specifically focused on those who are or want to be in mission hospital leadership. He discussed his excitement and really wanted to see what he could do to help with keeping the momentum alive as we both know how incredibly important this endeavor was.
I do not think it is by chance that we have experienced some of our most growing weeks as a family over this past week. The one thing that I told myself before making a decision to be part of medical missions is that I must put my family first. It has been challenging to really see what putting my family first looks like while here on the mission field. I am reminded of 1 Timothy 5:8, “Anyone who does not provide for their relatives, and especially for their own household, has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever.”
I ask myself the question, “If we continue down this path, will my wife and children thrive in this environment?”
Over these past weeks, I had to be honest with myself and with Kristie, “Is this the place where we as a family will thrive if we continue down this path?” If the answer is “yes”, then great! If the answer is “no”, then what changes that can be made or discussions that can take place to make this a place where our family can thrive?
The realities of mission field life are very complex and difficult in ways that are hard to comprehend. Most families have at least 1 spouse physically working in the hospital while the other is working hard to maintain a healthy home and missionary community life. As Kristie and I think about what being able to juggle the living complexities on the mission field in a selfless loving way to everyone that surrounds us on a daily basis, it seems almost like an impossible task. When hard changes and difficult situations surround us; we have a tendency to think about our wants and our needs, but Jesus says in Acts 20: 35,
“In everything I did, I showed you that by this kind of hard work we must help the weak, remembering the words the Lord Jesus himself said: ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive.”
A couple of days ago, at the last minute, I was asked to be on a Zoom call with some of the most incredible leaders and visionaries in medical missions. I was humbled and awestruck to be part of a group of leaders that are very focused on training current and future healthcare leaders in hospital administration.
Over these past couple of weeks, I have struggled with the idea of how to incorporate Healthcare Administration Training specifically at Tenwek Hospital, while at the same time keeping my family in a place where they are striving in a loving, caring, and healthy community. I believe being on a last-minute Zoom call and being part of all of the conversations and e-mails that followed, that God was really speaking to me through others’ experiences. One e-mail that I received over these past couple of days from a very prominent CEO, says,
“Do not use the gifts and experiences you are bringing to the table. Do not do the things you think you should be doing. STOP using your own strengths. Be still and listen for the still quiet voice of our Lord. Be still and observe His working. Forget about what you think you are bringing and look for where He wants you to work. It may not be in administration at all. Intentionally surrender your agenda and wait to see how He wants to use you. You have nothing to prove! He called you and your family there and that is enough. You showed up! That is enough for now. It is time to be still and wait to hear why you are there. It may surprise you and be something entirely different than you think and expect. But you will only know if you stop doing what YOU think you should be doing. Stop and pray with your wife, with your kids, with anyone who will join you.
God cares first and foremost about people, not things, or activities, or process. As you wait upon the Lord look to people in order to find His purpose for you. Blessing and a prayer for peace in your heart.”
I believe we have been called to the mission field to train others in healthcare administration to work in mission hospitals in the name of Jesus. But, with that calling, I am seeing that God has such a bigger picture for us. I am reminded that when we are surrounded by life that does not offer comfort, that we can find that comfort in Jesus. To do this, it must first start with intentional surrender.
Isaiah 43: 1-3 states,