- Prof John Patrick
- Andre van Rij (General Surgeon)
- Graham Ashby (Pastor & Evangelist)
- Nigel Pollock (TSCF)
- Balancing medicine & family
- Christian psychiatry
- Medical missions
- Surviving the first house officer year
- Alternative medicine
- Saline course
Faith and practice meet in Queenstown:
A personal reflection by a participant
I feel like I’ve definitely come away from this conference with a renewed motivation to learn more from God, to seek and to serve Him...
I have a long way to go to achieve many of these things mentioned above but I feel I owe it to my colleagues and patients to be able to provide some kind of answer to those questions some people struggle with. After all, my God has all the answers!
After a beautiful drive down from Christchurch, stopping to swim in Lake Tekapo and take pictures of Mount Cook, my car full of med students arrived at Lakeland Christian Camp. To my surprise, about 120 people had registered - what a great turnout for the first conference like this in years! There was a large contingent of doctors and students from Dunedin and Auckland, fewer from Christchurch, one doctor from Wellington and a few others from around NZ. We even had CMDFA president Bill Hague and ICMDA Oceania area student rep Anette Lim from Australia. It was clear that Andre van Rij, Ross Pettigrew and their team had put in a lot of work and prayer into make this event happen.
During the weekend we had devotions from Dunedin surgeon Andre van Rij, pastor and evangelist Graham Ashby, from Oamaru, and Nigel Pollock, representing TSCF - Tertiary Students Christian Fellowship. Saturday afternoon was spent in two small group sessions. We had the choice of a variety of issues including balancing medicine and family, sexuality, Christian psychiatry, medical missions, surviving the TI to House Surgeon jump, alternative medicine and the "Saline Solution" evangelism tool. Keynote speaker was the talented Dr. John Patrick - who among other things is a physician, professor in clinical nutrition, biochemist, researcher, Christian philosopher and grandfather from Canada. His three talks to us were thought-provoking and like nothing I'd usually hear in church and certainly not at med school or from my consultant at work.
A highlight of the conference for me was catching up with some of the junior docs and students I'd met at the ICMDA World Congress in Sydney last year. Eight months later and we were actually having our own national conference – something that was just a dream and God has made it a reality, all made possible through the faithful and dedicated team in Dunedin, for whom I am so thankful!!
At the end of the conference we had a short discussion, headed by Andre van Rij, on the future of CMF in NZ. The general view was that it would be great to have another conference like this in the near future. This was promptly taken up by the group from Auckland who have offered to host it next year!
Notes on Surviving Medicine with Your Faith Intact
1. Have someone to regularly ask how your soul is. Weekly they should ask three questions:
- Have you read the Bible this week?
- Have you prayed this week?
- Have you just lied to me!?
2. Recognise the importance of good Christian knowledge - this is what maintains us through the inevitable busy and stressful periods of our careers when our feelings, or affect, may suffer.
3. Remember to spend time studying the Word of God and other Christian literature as well as all those journal articles and text books.
4. Know our history – we live in a society formed on Christian ideals which is rapidly casting these aside.
5. Have safe places to speak with people who know and love God, yet who also understand the situations we face as doctors. Who can you talk to about the patient you had that died on your operating table or the diagnosis of bowel cancer that you missed the first time the patient presented?
6. Know the psalms – there's one for every occasion!
7. Provide a Christian home for others to stay when they are visiting. This is an effective way to keep connected as the body of Christ. Where did Jesus stay when he arrived in each town?
8. Know the key questions and how to answer them
- Where did I come from?
- Why am I here?
- Where am I going?
- How do I come to terms with death?
- How do I make sense of suffering?
- How can I possibly believe in justice?
- What can I know?
- What should I believe?
- What must I do?
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