Professor Evelyn Luna shared her experience attending the 2020 Virtual GMHC and how it encouraged her as a healthcare professional.
"An administrator from work sent an email sharing about the Global Missions Healthcare Conference one day. I was curious about what would be discussed in the sessions, which prompted me to express interest in joining the conference. Looking back, the GMHC was an opportunity to be refreshed and served to reinforce lessons He has been teaching, rebuking, reminding me these days. Three things were brought to the forefront because of it.
Firstly, through the Bible lessons, worship times and some sessions particularly “Caring for Victims of Humanitarian Disasters and Military Conflicts” and “Valuing Women”, God affirmed the ‘prayed for’ decisions in the past to serve as a nurse with a local mission group in the Philippines and later in Africa with World Concern, SIM and World Vision International. My mother was unhappy with these decisions thinking that the US where opportunities for professional growth and competitive compensation abound, was a much better choice. I found an ally in my father who supported me. And so, my faith adventure began in the boondocks of Mindanao, the second largest island in my home country, the Philippines among indigenous people groups - the T’bolis of South Cotabato, the Cotabato Manobos of Sultan Kudarat and the Higaonons of Bukidnon. In those days, the hinterlands were also the home of rebel forces, so health work was challenging and dangerous. But God faithfully provided guidance, wisdom, and protection time and again as our team lived in their isolated and poverty-stricken communities.
The study on Philippians 2:1-11 focusing on the Christian’s citizenship in heaven that should shape life on earth designed to be lived for others resonated with me. God graciously protected our team through the numerous perilous situations we faced while serving in Somalia, Ethiopia, Liberia, and East Timor. We experienced flash floods, armed conflicts, being stranded in the middle of nowhere and the like. In all these, God also provided new friends, both nationals and expatriates whose support and concern always came at the right time adding color to life in the field.
Secondly, the strong message on the ‘Purpose in Pandemics’ rebuked me because I have vacillated between being numb and being anxious about its possible effects on me. The message of being “bold and courageous” and to carry on declaring the gospel to others and living for God spoke volumes to my timid and fearful self. It has given renewed motivation to carry on with being a CL (Children’s Leader) in BSF (Bible Study Fellowship) and leading a small group of younger colleagues in the department where I work.
Thirdly, I was also encouraged by Frauke Schaefer’s session that stressed the pursuit of resilience, that one’s strong sense of purpose and calling will result in becoming more resilient, that living a healthy lifestyle bolsters resilience. The practical tips she mentioned are doable and can be passed on to others so that they too can be more resilient and be productive Jesus’ followers in these uncertain times.
It is my hope that the lessons He taught each one of us in the conference would be lived out in the day-to-day routines of life and be eternally etched in our hearts and minds. Indeed, our God reigns!