“Dr. Livingstone, I presume.”
With these famous words, a Scottish physician and missionary who lived a remarkable life became one of the most widely recognized people of his day—and one of the most remembered in ours.
In fact, David Livingstone is one of the best known missionaries (and explorers) of all time, and today (May 1) marks the anniversary of his death. (To read more about Livingstone, check out this blog post by Pastor Wade Burleson).
From Dr. Livingstone on down to today, medical missionaries have enjoyed a platform like almost no other kind of missionary. Where, besides in the medical field, can missionaries so easily cross cultural lines? Where besides the medical field, can they go and command, not only immediate respect, but also the attention span of those with whom they want to share Christ? In what field besides medicine can you more often find people in a vulnerable state and considering the weightier matters of life than in health and medicine?
Truly medical missions is a field that has a storied past and even brighter future. That’s why I am excited that this summer, anyone connected to the medical field has an excellent opportunity to explore what God may have in store for them in the growing field of medical missions. To be specific, the International Mission Board’s MedAdvance Conference is coming to Oklahoma City, Quail Springs, July 18-20.
For those unfamiliar, MedAdvance is an event that the IMB conducts yearly to equip medical professionals with evangelism strategy for mission work. Dr. Rebekah Naylor, a decorated surgeon and internationally-recognized IMB missionary, is the physician in charge of organizing the conference. Her life story, like Livingstone’s, is worthy of study and emulating. More than that, her life shows the power of Christ displayed through medical missions.
The conference Dr. Naylor has assembled will feature different training aspects like “a roadmap to becoming a physician on mission.” A manual from last year’s conference listed the steps, which include: Discern first steps; prepare spiritually; find mentors; prepare to make disciples; build your resume; portfolio and networks; explore possibilities and needs; find a job; connect with believers on mission and, finally, do life and work on mission among the unreached. For more information on the MedAdvance Conference, or to register, visit https://qsbc.org/medadvance.
With a stethoscope and a copy of the Scriptures in hand, along with a willing heart, God can do great things through these individuals. So if you or someone you know is now or will be in the medical field, tell them about this event. Let’s not just presume God will raise up another Dr. Livingstone. Instead, let’s pray that God will raise up more medical missionaries to be His witnesses, taking the Gospel to the ends of the earth (Acts 1:8).