Looking back at 2015

I’ve started to write this on December 30th, sitting on a train in Lincolnshire at 7:30am, on my way to work. It’s still completely dark outside, and half the country is still on holiday. I feel slightly jarred, like the alarm clock went off, but no one else has had to get up.

Feeling disjointed is somewhat appropriate – it aids my reflections on the last 12 months.

The New Friars: Book Review

I’m not a huge fan of the established (read “out of touch”) church, but there’s always been something powerful to be about the concept of redeeming some of the really powerful aspects of the historical church.

The concept of community has excited me for years too. In the last decade, there has been a move of interest in both these fields. The result? New Monasticism. Taking the radical, biblical, REAL stuff out of the dusty old things we see caricatured in the world.

Snakebites and sad goodbyes

A final morning chapel followed our joyful late night escapades last night, with a combination of Amazing Grace and We Are Marching to get a bit of the African clapping vibe working.

Clare Fuller showed us lots of very interesting graphs. Dermatology complaints are known to under present, be poorly treated and lead to people avoiding healthcare for other important issues.

Ladies, feet washing and goodbye curry

Mary Hopper delivered a talk that usually marks part of a 30 hour course over 6 weeks. In 55 minutes.

Your race is a constant.
Your culture constantly changes.

She recommended reading a book called “Desert Flower”, by Waris Dirie.

She mentioned that simple things like Dermatology books rarely have pigmented skin, making medicine itself culturally inaccessible, but then Marli emailed me an African Skin Guide, which is not added to my ridiculous pile of things I need to read…

The Ladies are Dying

Afghanistan has a Maternal Mortality Rate of 6,500 per 100,000. Which is the highest ever recorded, anywhere in the world.

Reducing those MMR stats is simple: we know the answers: Improve access, Ensure skilled staff at deliveries, Increase Utilization &
Education and Family Planning. But the question is how to implement that…

The Cutting Edge…

I started my morning devotion with starting to read through John 1. I was completely unsurprised to find that the word enlightened came up immediately, just like Ian’s talk from the first night, and bringing me back to that Ephesians 1 passage again: “The true light, which enlightens everyone, was coming into the world”.

Following that, Hilary Edgcombe taught us about many cool intelligent things in the world of Anaesthetics.

Burn Contracture Healed Joining bones (and mission partnerships)

We started this morning with a meeting with the missions agency that emailed me last week. Katherine, Joen and Neriah all came out to Oak Hill college with me, ready for the meeting. We met with a lovely chap with an accent that can best be described as “miscellaneous”, since he has lived in about 5 countries for significant periods of his life. His wife was also there.

Just that little fact made me feel more comfortable: if you meet with a corporate CEO, or similar, there would never be such an immediate focus on relationship, on meeting our family as we meet theirs.