Several years ago now, I was doing a one year research project overseas. And at the time, I was part of a vibrant medical student fellowship. Though many of us no longer keep in contact now, I will always remember that group with fondness. Getting to know the students in the years above, I saw their struggles and triumphs in working out their faith in daily life – that in turn, did much to prepare me to prepare mentally and in prayer for the transition into clinical years, and my interactions with “real patients”.
When I did return from overseas and commenced clinical school, I looked for a local medical fellowship, but there were none in this town. I longed for it, prayed for it, and my church prayed too. But that semester I knew only one other Christian in the medical circles and she was often busy with her own church. Plus, I had neither led a group nor ever attempted to gather people to form one. I thought much about it, but was too shy or unsure to know where to go from there. Months later, I met several Christian medical students and interns, all in a short span of a time. One who was visiting my church, and who had two others as his housemates. One whom I happened to sit next to, on the way back from city one weekend. And more. So by and by, we met – medical students studying at three separate universities, interns and occasionally other hospital staff too.
They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer. – Acts 2:42
Now, I am back in the town I loved, to this medical fellowship, which echoes a little, of the above verses in Acts.
To see this group go from a once or twice monthly fellowship, to a weekly fellowship with a meal shared beforehand. To see it remain and grow. To see new faces come and go. To see half of the members remain, now with their spouses so that there are more married or engaged couples than single individuals. To see the hospitality of those welcoming us to their homes. To see each person taking a turn to lead, and others actively participate in discussions on a difficult book in the scriptures. To see medical and other health science students and staff share about hospital life, encourage, and pray for one another. To see all this each time I come back, is a very special encouragement indeed!
I was (am still but a bit less so) uncomfortable with organising anything, leading Bible study, or even speaking out in a group. But God still brought this group together, brought others into the group who could do the things that I was too afraid to do. I’m reminded that we do his work, and he gives sufficient grace. In this, I always take encouragement in Moses too, who pleaded with God to send someone else to take the Israelites out of Egypt because he was not an eloquent speaker!