Ready. Sit. Go.

I don’t sit well.  I go, I do, and then I go and do some more, but when I sit I fall asleep.  This is partially a trained behavior learned from years of residency, but it’s also just who I am.  So if I were to tell you that I have spent the last month sitting, most of you who really know me simply would not believe it.  I haven’t sat like this since medical school.  And yet, fact is stranger than fiction.  First studying for and taking written boards, and then a week and a half of orientation… I’m all sat out!  But yet, what does God say?

“Be still, and know that I am God.” –Psalm 46:10

During my time studying this past month, I found myself becoming frustrated as time and time again, reviewing standards of care and how/when/why to treat, I realized repeatedly that I will likely not be able to provide this same standard of care in Liberia.  Without adequate access to pathologists, technology, and other resources, what does that mean for my future patients and my future as a surgeon?  But then, as I sat, God reminded me that He is the great physician and that neither my pride (let’s call it what it is) nor Liberia’s lack of some resources can limit His power.  The verse above continues:

“Be still, and know that I am God. I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth!” –Psalm 46:10

And so, as we dove headlong into orientation (literally the same evening of taking boards… Nathan took great notes the first day, as promised), Nathan and I were eyes-wide-open and minds full of questions.  What does it take to live this life God has chosen for us? What fears were there of unknown culture, of leaving family behind, of being vulnerable beyond anything we have yet experienced, and of things we had not even yet considered?

We have sought to answer these questions (and so many more that we didn’t even know that we had) in orientation with Samaritan’s Purse over the last week and a half.  What we expected was a steady stream of information, calm and reassuring.  But God can be present in the calm or as a mighty force and sometimes, especially when you’re not a good sitter, He has to use more of a torrent.   That downpour of information can seem somewhat unrelenting and occasionally overwhelming because of its sheer volume and intensity, but, just like the steady stream, the torrent also brings refreshing water.  We both have found ourselves drinking deeply from the things we have been taught and feeling nourished, encouaged, and so excited for the future.

We began at Christian Medical and Dental Association‘s headquarters in Bristol.  There we were taught by, among others, CMDA CEO Dr. David Stevens, World Medical Mission director Dr. Lance Plyler, and long-time Hitchcock favorite and Johnson City mission motivator Dr. Daniel Tolan.  Their dedication to culturally-congruent and gospel-centered care was demonstrated time and again, giving us practical ways to engage with our patients across cultural lines while keeping God always at the center, the gospel at the forefront, and remembering that resiliency is practiced.  Dr. Tolan specifically challenged us to use the acronym ARM as we go forward:  Admit your fears, Replace them with an attribute of God, and Make the promise yours. This helped us to intentionally counter our fears concerning our future work overseas, and reminded us that:

“The Lord of hosts is with us; the God of Jacob is our fortress.”  –Psalm 46:11

We headed on to Boone to the Samaritan’s Purse International Headquarters for the next week of training, a little unsure how much more they could find to tell us.  But oh, they were ready.  The incredible team at World Medical Mission had put together more than we could imagine.  Perhaps most shockingly, what was penciled into the schedule ambiguously as two days of “Security Training” turned out to not only NOT be a waste of time, but was thoroughly gospel-centered and very much interactive… almost a whole day not sitting!  The training was taught by a Christian not-for-profit organization Concilium, started by an Army Ranger sniper Scott Brawner who penciled these words for IMB’s Fusion Creed:

  • As a follower of Christ: I am called not to comfort or success but to obedience.  Consequently my life is to be defined not by what I do but by who I am.
  • Henceforth:  I will proclaim His name without fear; follow Him without regret; and serve Him without compromise.
  • Thus:  To obey is my objective, to suffer is expected, His glory is my reward.
  • Therefore:  To Christ alone be all power, all honor, and all glory that the world may know. 

Seriously though, it truly was incredible to see how God uses other people’s passions, including security, to advance His kingdom.  We also felt incredibly well cared for after learning the extent of the different layers of Samaritan’s Purse, from security staff to morning prayer times, such that we now truly know that people throughout the organization are and will be supporting us both spiritually and physically.

We concluded the week with convocation in which the physicians received white coats and our families were specifically prayed for by the corporate Samaritan’s Purse body.  What could have been a seemingly endless amount of sitting actually went by very quickly.  We were thankful to have such a time to spend with others also preparing to go (there are 11 post-resident physicians headed to hospitals around the world, plus lots of incredible spouses and many adorable kiddos), as well as being encouraged by the stories that others were able to share from their time serving, many for decades.  What a blessing to be surrounded by such strong believers with common callings, to share in others joys and to pray for each others fears and futures.  Now that we are back here at home, not sitting, getting our house ready to put on the market, may we not forget that sometimes what we really need to do is just sit at our Savior’s feet.

“Be still, and know that I am God. I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth!” –Psalm 46:10

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Photo cred to Dr. Ben Randel, fellow post-resident and photo documentation guru.

4 thoughts on “Ready. Sit. Go.

  1. Good luck to you both!! I’m excited for you and this next great chapter. Amy, your a lovely, smart lady and I’m honored to call you a friend. You make all of us proud here in East TN and exspecially the MOUNTAIN HOME VAMC.
    Can’t wait to read about the adventures! 😘
    Michelle Snyder

    Like

  2. I loved reading this and am so excited to see your preparations going forward to fulfill your vision for service to both God and mankind. We pray for all the details involved in getting ready to go and that you will feel and see the Father’s gracious hand guiding you in every step.

    Like

  3. Oh Amy! This simply brought tears of pride and joy to my eyes! I’m so proud (and that word doesn’t do justice!) of you allowing God to work in such a mighty way in your life and with your talents & abilities!
    Borden

    Like

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