Call To Service
Published on 03/01/2019 |
The 14th annual AMEN conference was the fourth one I’ve attended. I love AMEN’s mission of sharing the gospel in the context of healthcare and the conference is an excellent way to “recharge my spiritual batteries”. I try to attend each year to gain new perspectives on witnessing to my patients and colleagues (and to reconnect with old friends, as well). No doubt the hundreds of attendees from America—as well as from the Philippines, Guam, Germany, Bermuda, Australia, New Zealand, India, Bolivia, and Argentina—feel something similar as well.
Over 550 attended the Sabbath morning worship service. Pastor John Bradshaw’s sermon, The Power of One, was inspiring and powerful, and it provided a great transition for the sessions that followed.
The initial morning and evening sessions were followed by various CME and CDE breakout sessions. As an ophthalmologist, I was happy to see optometrists having their own meetings. I learned that the Association of SDA Optometrists has been around for over 60 years and because there is no Adventist optometry school, it’s hard for the group to find other Adventist optometrists.*
Another group I was excited to see at the conference was the medical and dental students. What a joy it is to see young people on fire for the Lord! AMEN has a passion for training young people to be intentional about making ministry a part of their practice. Therefore they commit significant funds to sponsor students to attend this conference. This year, over 100 dental and medical students (with about 30 spouses) attended. Following the conference many of the students expressed a desire to help create an AMEN mentoring program so that they can receive encouragement from experienced professionals who have learned how to make ministry an integral part of their careers. I am so inspired by their desire, and hope you will consider being a part of the mentorship program when it comes to fruition.
The theme of this conference was Call to Service. Each speaker talked about different ways to serve, but for me, Don Mackintosh gave the most inspiring talk. He explained what Weimar Institute is doing with their Total Community Involvement program.
One day every week, the whole campus (students, faculty, and administration) go into the community to help their neighbors. They clean the interiors and exteriors of people’s homes or anything else requested as a means to serve and witness to their neighbors. Weimar is having a significant impact on their community and many neighbors are coming to visit the campus and church as a result.
Their actions make me think of Jesus, whose life was wholly dedicated to service. Yet too often, we are guilty of being the people Ellen White talks about in Desire of Ages. “While you were feasting at your bountifully spread table, I was famishing in the hovel or the empty street. While you were at ease in your luxurious home, I had not where to lay My head. While you crowded your wardrobe with rich apparel, I was destitute. While you pursued your pleasures, I languished in prison. When you doled out the pittance of bread to the starving poor, when you gave those flimsy garments to shield them from the biting frost, did you remember that you were giving to the Lord of Glory?” – Desire of Ages p.. 639 & 640
Just as Jesus ministered to the sick, the poor, and the downtrodden, we also are called to follow in His footsteps by wholeheartedly serving those in need. “When we love the world as He has loved it, then for us His mission is accomplished. We are fitted for heaven: for we have heaven in our hearts.” – Desire of Ages p. 641
The purpose of this AMEN conference was to inspire us to feel a Call to Service that goes beyond our comfort level. To challenge us to examine the significance of what Christ did for us and to share that gift with those around us on a daily basis.
Amanda Codling, a medical student who attended this year’s gathering commented, “The conference was amazing! A big part of why I went to medical school was to serve God. Now I feel I’ve been given practical ways to do so with each interaction. I believe my focus was redirected and I really needed that.”
Our daily work as physicians, dentists, optometrists, and other healthcare professionals takes on a much deeper meaning when we consider our Call to Service. “Work with a heart filled with an earnest longing for souls. Do medical missionary work. Thus you will gain access to the hearts of people. The way will be prepared for more decided proclamation of the truth. You will find that relieving their physical suffering gives an opportunity to minister to their spiritual needs.” – CME 7.2
A divine invitation is extended to each of you to join us in St. Augustine, Florida Oct. 31 – Nov. 3, 2019, as healthcare professionals from across America and around the world gather to discuss how we can more effectively witness to our patients and colleagues. The theme for this conference is Christ In You and will call each of us to a deeper level of service with a longing for the salvation of souls that only Christ can give. “Never be lacking in zeal, but keep your spiritual fervor, serving the Lord.” – Romans 12:11
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