Thursday, October 18, 2007

My Mission Work...

I've had some great experiences in my work as a physician...

For several years, I worked with a partner in my prior practice in a group called the Christian Medical Response Team. This team served as a volunteer medical team for the Washington Department of Emergency Management, and we "trained" by providing medical care at large group events. We did many, many events, including several years of EndFest, Bumbershoot, Creation Festival, local rock concerts (some as a part of Rock Medicine, including the last five Grateful Dead concerts in Seattle), and large national Youth for Christ events in DC and LA. We provided safety for well over 1M people.

I've also had a few truly life-changing experiences as a missionary. In 1998, I spent seven weeks on four different trips to Latin America. I participated in El Nino flood relief in Peru with Mac Med, worked with families in Mexico with Northwest Medical Teams (now Medical Teams International), and lead a team in response to Hurricane Mitch in Honduras with World Vision.

My wife and I are preparing for a mission trip to Peru - we leave in ~24 hours. We are traveling to northern coastal Peru with Mac Med, working with the same pastors that I met nearly ten years ago on my first mission trip. In the past couple of weeks, I have revealed to a few patients that we are planning this trip. And, most of them have said something that indicated that they were somewhat, well, impressed by my plans to serve in a developing country. But one longtime patient of mine responded, “What, there aren’t enough poor people in Bremerton for you?”

There it is! My work is a mission. I work with a missionary team of 137 other people, the employees of my Health Center.

I certainly have reason to be impressed with missionaries who serve for years, like my old Doctors Clinic partner Perry Jansen and his family ( who have been working in Malawi for the past few years. And, we have a nurse practicioner who works with us for a few weeks each year, during her "break" from her and her family's work during the rest of the year in Nepal.

And, I'm impressed with my partners (providers and support staff) who have been dedicated to this longterm mission for nearly twenty years. And proud to be a part of that.

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