National Conference 2008

With Drs Dave Stevens and Gene Rudd

Conference Highlights

A personal reflection by a participant

  • A fantastic discussion of International Health over Weetbix with Dr Stevens and his wife Jody.
  • An encouraging chat with Oceania ICMDA representative Annette Lim over a dish tub of soap suds and gargantuan salad bowls.
  • North Island road trip moments: a) taking the highway to Napier rather than Rotorua (thankfully picturesque!), b) paddling in steaming Spa Creek, Taupo, c) catching snow flakes on the Desert Road home… Priceless.

A brief six months into my fledging medical career, I found myself in pungent Rotorua among 140 doctors and medical students from around New Zealand and overseas at CMF NZ Conference ’08. As the weekend proceeded, alongside sunny moments, I was confronted by some alarmingly insensate, leprous parts of my personal and professional anatomy; debridement and refashioning by God’s spirit were indicated if I was willing. The combination of emersion among other medics seeking to follow Christ and passionate, articulate teaching from a range of national and international speakers provided a fertile environment for the work to begin.

Auckland stepped up as regional hosts for Conference ’08 and Keswick Camp, right on the lakefront, was a great choice of venue. It was evident the organising committee had been hard at work to set the scene for a successful event. As in 2007, we were privileged to have excellent keynote speakers; this year, US Christian Medical and Dental Assoc (CMDA) leaders Drs Dave Stevens and Gene Rudd. Other lead contributors were Marjory Gibson, Auckland Baptist Tabernacle and Andy Shudall, Tertiary Students’ Christian Fellowship (TSCF). A wide selection of small group seminars were presented by mostly New Zealand doctors. The difficultly was choosing which of the several excellent discussions to join. Early morning prayers and reflection were led by CMF NZ Chairperson Andre van Rij and Australian CMDF president Bill Hague.

Speaking for myself and soaking up the general vibe of the crowd, this conference was a real watershed time of refreshing challenge for practice and also personal encouragement through fellowship with attendees from a range of backgrounds. Mentoring from senior doctors and long time CMF’ers was blended with infectious contacts with enthusiastically energetic second year students, each with their own part to play in leadership.

In authentic Kiwi camp style, the conference was replete with obligatory minimalist sleep, a cheesy quiz night and plenty of good food preceded by awesome sung graces. Each session was opened with genuine and fully-wired musical worship, excellently led by a group of 5th years from Auckland med school.

The AGM for CMF NZ was held on the Saturday afternoon at which a new executive committee was elected. A strong mandate was put forward for strengthening the CMF membership base, continuing to employ a part-time staffworker among medical students, giving consideration to how we might best contribute to public discussion on health issues and emphatically setting sights on a conference in 2009.

From where I sit, however, the value is not so much in the Conference itself but the impact on my daily life back in normal(ish)-land. How will our local group respond and how will my individual attitude to practice be influenced? Our speakers spurred us to consider the practical implications of our commitment to Jesus, out of which flows our commitment to acquit ourselves well in all aspects of life including work/study.

"anything, anywhere, anytime"

Dr Stevens, by way of SAS core values highlights the attitude needed to serve

God has graciously given us the opportunity to be a part of His kingdom building team. The details of our lives may be different but the common challenge was thrown down for each of us to consider the next frontier of God’s work in our life story for His glory.

Certainly a unique weekend that managed to pack both hard punches and thoroughly good times. I’m looking forward to the announcement of Conference ’09 so I can plan next years leave. Yup, I’m a believer, certain the impact of this Conference will endure long after my pack stops smelling of authentic Rotorua sulphur!

May 01, 2008 at 4:00pm - May 04, 2008
Keswick Christian Camp & Conference Centre
5 Cooper Ave
Rotorua 3010
New Zealand
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