Occasionally we have guest contributors, and today we have an important article from Dr. Mark Topazian to share with you. We think you will find his suggestions for engaging in missions to be both practical and challenging. We hope you learn and grow from his long time experience!
You’ve taken an important step into medical missions by becoming part of this community. As we look forward to future service, we can all continue deeper into our calling by being intentional about being missional where God has placed us now. Here are some ways to be missional today, and in the days ahead:
- Learn. We all study before we practice healthcare. The same holds true for cross-cultural missions! There are many resources available, including missionary biographies, books like When Helping Hurts, and the Perspectives course.
- Lean in to your faith. Missions is about who we belong to. I seek (and sometimes struggle) to know myself foremost as a child of God, and secondarily as a husband and father, healthcare professional, and American. Only as the goodness of the gospel defines me can I serve others.
- Align. Bring important elements of life into line with your calling. Live simply, sacrifice lifestyle to minimize debt, invest in people who share your vision for missions, form or join a team that wants to serve in missions together.
- Love. Missionaries live out the love of Christ in their cross-cultural relationships. I can do the same where God has planted me now, with the people around me of different beliefs, races, ethnicities, educational levels, and life experiences. My community contains people similar to those I may one day serve overseas.
- Share. Missions is proclamation. Every generation finds new ways to share their hope in Jesus with the people they love, with grace and authenticity. How can I be part of that movement now?
- Integrate. Our faith matters in our professional lives. Learn what the Bible has to say about health, illness and healing. How can we be missional where we study and work? Praying for and with our colleagues and patients is a good place to start. One way to approach this is to ask, “Would it help if I prayed with you?”
Missions calls us against the grain of our culture’s norms and expectations. Thank God for his Spirit’s leading us along his path! I am excited to see how God leads me and you in the year to come.