I'm really getting excited now...later this week I'm flying down to Kentucky to go to the Global Missions Health Conference.
Early this year I identified a new goal in my book "Direction toward the goal of a better life" (this is a 3-ring binder in which I have a set of heavy plastic tabbed dividers on which I put post-it notes. On the star-shaped notes, I have written my carefully considered "I Want" statements; on some colored squares surrounding the stars, I have written actions I need to do to help fulfill that goal. The book exists to try to help me focus on what I believe will make my life more meaningful and fulfilling and help to keep me swimming forward instead of treading water.) The goal I added reads "I want to make a real difference in service to others." and, on the same star, "I want to step out in faith."
One of the nearby blue squares states "Monitor and look for opportunities to do medical missions abroad." So, I had done a number of searches on the internet for information on Medical Missions, read a number of groups' websites, and even found a clearinghouse where various groups sought medical people to go on mission trips. I spoke with my own ministers and Sunday School teacher and read information about their suggested leads. Then, several months ago I learned about the GMHC, which seems like a really good step in the right direction.
The GMHC (an annual event since 1996) looks to be huge, educational, inspirational, and well organized. They have brought in over 160 exhibitors and several dozen speakers for this year, and in recent years there have been more than two thousand attendees. The breakout sessions cover all sorts of health issues, practical concerns, cultural and ethical aspects of medical missions at home and overseas. The sessions look so great I've only been able to narrow them down to about 2-3 choices per session...and I can only be in one place at a time! What's more, most of the sessions I'm interested in offer continuing education credits for nurses, too...I take that as a sign of the quality and usefulness of the material, since I know what is required by nursing boards to be able to offer those credits.
Even though I'll be traveling down and back in 3 days, I also see it as a break; I'm going by myself, so I will have time alone to think, breathe, and relax some. It seems like a good time to re-think priorities, find inspiration and step out in faith.
I am looking forward to learning a lot, meeting some people with the same interests, learning about groups that need help, and maybe making plans to travel on a mission relatively soon. I expect that it will be an inspiring trip!
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