World Medical Mission sponsors the 24th annual Prescription for Renewal conference
Nearly 300 Christian medical professionals and their spouses attended the 24th annual Prescription for Renewal conference and Missionary Medicine Seminar at the Billy Graham Training Center last weekend. World Medical Mission, the medical arm of Samaritan’s Purse, coordinated the conference.
Samaritan’s Purse President Franklin Graham worked with Drs. Richard and Lowell Furman to establish World Medical Mission in 1977 to help send physicians to mission hospitals to provide short-term medical support. Since then, World Medical Mission has helped physicians and dentists make nearly 10,000 short-term trips to mission hospitals around the world.Give
Franklin Graham welcomed Dr. James Dobson, a noted radio host, author, and teacher, to the conference, thanking him for his lifetime of ministry.
“When we think of the problems our nation faces, Dr. Dobson has been a voice, speaking truth into the culture and into society, strengthening the American family,” Graham said. “I appreciate his integrity and his not being willing to back down. He has incredible backbone.”
Dr. Dobson drove home the importance of establishing a godly family, encouraging busy parents to invest time in raising their children to know and love the Lord. He also encouraged physicians to get involved in medical missions.
“I can’t tell you how much I appreciate those of you who have gone on medical journeys to the mission field through World Medical Mission,” Dr. Dobson said. “It’s just incredible what the need is. For those of you who have not gone, you really ought to make a trip just to see the need that’s there.”
Will Graham, Dr. Issam Raad, and Pastor Ross Rhoads also shared insights and encouragement from the Word of God during the conference.
Drawing from experiences in the Middle East, Dr. Raad, who was born in Lebanon, challenged colleagues to emulate Luke, “the beloved physician” who served alongside the apostle Paul and wrote the Gospel of Luke and Acts.
“In him we see a physician of faithfulness and compassion, following in the footsteps of the Great Physician,” Dr. Raad said. “If you are to be a disciple of Christ, you are to be a physician on a rescue mission.”
Dr. Lee De Meester, a pathologist from Holland, Michigan, received the “In the Footsteps of the Great Physician” award, which is presented annually to a physician who has demonstrated a commitment to medical missions. Since 2000, Dr. De Meester has served 14 times at Kijabe Hospital in Kenya.
Dr. De Meester and his wife, Mary, discovered a unique mission field at Kijabe Hospital where they could care for the sick and see God cultivate gifts of the Spirit in the hearts of believers.
“All of the gifts of the Spirit were, for me, more readily experienced at Kijabe,” he said. “And they bring love for others and an enjoyment of life as a natural benefit of our commitment to serve God.”
Following the Call to Serve Those in Need
Six physicians who are launching careers as medical missionaries through World Medical Mission’s Post-Residency Program attended the conference. The program enables young doctors and their families to serve at a mission hospital for two years, following residency, to help lay a foundation for a lifetime of service. Since 2004, nearly 100 physicians have been accepted into the program.
Dr. Ari Cale, a family practice physician who will be serving at Hospital Diospi Suyana in Peru, provided an insight into the call from God that she and other medical missionaries share.
“This is what God’s called me to do, and there’s nothing else on my heart,” she said. “I feel that God has said this is what I am to do, and I’m not going to look anywhere else.”
Dr. Allan Sawyer, an obstetrician and gynecologist from Glendale, Arizona, talked about his experiences traveling with a mobile medical team into the remote highlands of Papua New Guinea. The team provided medical treatment and critical childbirth training to the primitive Hewa people, a tribal group that suffered an infant mortality rate of more than 80 percent.
Despite the challenges and dangers that serving overseas may pose, Dr. Sawyer encouraged physicians to help bring medical care in the Name of Jesus to people in need.
“By way of benediction and admonition, know that you are immortal, until God calls you home,” Dr. Sawyer said. “March with courageous hearts. Serve the risen Savior. And remember Jesus’ last words to His disciples when He said, after the Great Commission, ‘And I am with you always, to the very end of the age.’”