Two years ago, I went on the Christian Medical Fellowship “Developing Health” course. Its a two week, fairly intensive course, covering many topics relating to working in the developing world as a doctor.
Last time I attended, I approached it firmly from the medical perspective, aiming to learn as much about the clinical challenges that I might face in Africa. I also wrote like 18,300 words on the subject, over 11 blog posts…
The course (and CMF) takes a pretty holistic approach, not just trying to teach us how to sort diseases, but how to solve problems, in culture, in societies; in ourselves. What use is curing HIV, if you aren’t teaching people the value of stable, committed, loving relationships, and the role of sex within that?
I’ve decided to attend it again, before we go to South Africa in August. Katherine has come with me for the first 24 hours too.
I’m not going to blog as extensively this time around. I’ve got some great medical notes from a few years ago, and I will update them as needed, to give me an even more solid understanding of the science. But I’m going to sit back a little more, pray a little more, and focus on learning from others on the best way for me and Katherine to serve in Africa, and to nourish ourselves and our family at the same time.
Day One – Changing The World
Day Two – Good Mental Health
Day Three – Bugs, and passions that won’t let go
Day Four – HIV, Mission and Song
Day Five – Baby, baby (and other paediatrics)
Day Six – Joining bones (and mission partnerships)
Day Seven – The Cutting Edge…
Day Eight – The Ladies are Dying
Day Nine – Ladies, feet washing and goodbye curry
Day Ten – Snakebites and sad goodbyes
The evening talk was from Kisiizi Hospital legend Ian Spillman. With decades of experience in Uganda he shares such a loving, clinically astute, Christ centred viewpoint on life.
There was lots he said that resonated. I find it annoying how many superfluous blood tests we do in the UK. He shared the story of a child with a Wilm’s tumour of the kidney: the patient was diagnosed, treated and discharged without having their blood electrolytes checked even once. In the UK, it wouldn’t have been surprising to hear over it being checked more than once a day.
Medicine really is crazily simple – it literally all comes down to:
- A careful history
- Thorough examination
- Appropriate investigations
Then you use a synthesis to reach a conclusion. I wonder if we need to try to do the same a little more with our lives:
- Reflect on our path: where God has taken us, where we are going.
- Examine ourselves: our heart, our passion, our motivations
- Appropriately seek guidance from others (and through prayer)
The end of Ian’s talk was a classic ridiculous coincidence that happens all the time in a lively walk with Jesus: it turned out his whole talk was based on a verse in Ephesians 1.
Is that really a coincidence? Well, our church is doing a preaching series on Ephesians all this month. We covered that passage in our cell group this week. Me and Katherine rarely take the time we should to sit down and study together – yet, for the first time in ages, I really felt I wanted to go deeper into it on Thursday night. So we spent half an hour studying Ephesians.
And then Ian just plucks the one passage that really spoke to me.
Just after I prayed last week that God would give me a passage to lean on, to trust in, as we take a trip to Africa.
I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which he has called you, the riches of his glorious inheritance in his holy people, and his incomparably great power for us who believe.
I pray, over the next two weeks and beyond, that the eyes of our hearts may be enlightened.