Friday, August 26, 2011

Photo of the Week

Each day, I am blessed to receive photos from around the world of our mission doctors and their patients.  I thought I should share these wonderful photos with you each week as part of Mission Doctors’ Photo of the Week.

To kick this off, I wanted to share this photo of Dr. Crystal Cunningham.   Crystal is a general surgeon serving short term with Mission Doctors this summer.   She hit the ground running last week, preforming surgeries before recovering from jet lag. 
In this photo, Crystal is praying before preforming surgery with the staff at St. Martin De Porres Hospital in rural Cameroon, as they do before every surgery. 

Please join us in praying for the success her time in Cameroon and all of her patients.  

Friday, August 19, 2011

Follow Me

An expression that has become very popular in our language today is Follow Me – it now generally refers to a social network site like Twitter, we hear people say ‘Follow me on Twitter’  - this kind of ‘following’ however is pretty passive – when we are called to Follow Jesus he tells us there will be sacrifices involved, He never sugar coats what lies ahead for Himself and His followers.

This Sunday and next, the Gospel of St. Matthew reflects the continuing revelation of just who Jesus is and what that means for us.  In the discussion between Jesus and Peter this Sunday, Peter speaks of an understanding he is told has been revealed to him by the Father, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.

As the discussion continues and Jesus tells the disciples what this will mean for Him, impending suffering, death, and resurrection, Peter is rebuked when he says, "God forbid, Lord! This shall never happen to you."   Not only does Jesus denounce this, He goes further to say that "If any man would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me.”

Dr. Jim and Mrs. Terry Hake serving in Cameroon
Does following Jesus make life easy?  Usually not.  How often are Mission Doctors and their families asked – “Why would you walk away from all this country has to offer in the field of medicine? Why would you leave your friends and families behind to serve in Africa or Latin America? Why would you do this in such economically uncertain times?  How frustrating is it for doctors to be unable to provide for their patients in Africa all that could be provided for them here?

Keeping the good news in our hearts makes it much easier to remember that we are indeed called to take up our cross and follow Him. For some this means actually leaving home and caring for the poor and suffering in the world, for everyone it means living our lives in such a way that puts the other at the center of our decisions and actions.  Not passively following Jesus as someone follows a social network, but living our lives knowing that this is what actually matters. “For what will it profit a man, if he gains the whole world and forfeits his life?

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Sharing the Mission

One of the things that I get to do as the Executive Director of Mission Doctors is speak in parishes that are assigned to us by the Mission Office of Los Angeles, as part of the Mission Cooperative.  

This year I spoke at the Assumption of The Blessed Virgin in Pasadena In June.  Last week I was in Long Beach at St. Barnabas, and this weekend I will be at Holy Redeemer in Montrose.  

Once I’ve overcome my initial nerves of speaking at all the Masses; I have to be honest now, I really enjoy this.  I enjoy meeting so many people, being in a new parish, enjoying new choirs, and of course having the opportunity to tell the story of Mission Doctors Association.  

I tell people about this amazing legacy of Msgr. Brouwers, that began right here in Los Angeles – more than 50 years ago. I tell them about the work that is being done today in Africa and Latin America.

And, I share a story or two from the doctors – I always like to share this one from Dr. Cavanagh, from their long-term assignment in Zimbabwe. A patient asked if the photo on his desk were his daughters.  To which he replied (no doubt with the pride I’ve heard him speak of his family) ‘Yes these are our daughters.’  The patient’s next question…, ‘Then why are you here?”   Tim’s response was so perfect and sums it up completely…. "We are here, because there are people in the United States who sent us to be here with you.”

As we redid our web site this past year we added something new. 
A Mission of Healing.  A Partnership of Hope.

I always stress when I am speaking at the Masses that the doctors and their families do not do this alone, we are the ones who make it possible, we are all the partners in hope for this mission of healing.

Dr. Tim Cavanagh is just finishing up two months in Cameroon – I invite you to read his post on The Full Chapel, thoughtful as always – this one made me cry.