We have just returned from a week in Johannesburg, South Africa. The time was spent attending a conference of health professionals, food security personnel and water and sanitation workers. This event was a connection of missionaries, administrators, farmers and doctors all connected with the United Methodist Church's Global Health Unit, to which all these categories falls under. For three days we honed our skills, picked up helpful hints and networked with other professionals to determine what works well, what does not work and what can be shared throughout Africa. There were more than 10 countries represented from Africa and Asia. The conference was well worth the time and effort of everyone involved.
It has long been an insecurity of mine to come into this position of Hospital Administrator with no previous health experience. And if I was to be truly honest, I did not even like going into hospitals prior to the acceptance of my call. It is funny how God works, taking the things or situations you feel are the antithesis of you and turning it around. For example, I have always been a mountain person; camping, hiking, mountain bike riding, all the joys of the woods and hills. However, now, in this season, I am learning an appreciation for the beach and flat lands as the closest mountains are 10 hours and two borders away. It is how God works right? Through Jesus coming to subvert the norm, changing the way we think of spreading the Kingdom of Heaven on earth, so I shouldn't be surprised at my own divine initiated paradigm shift. Not that it makes it easy or even comfortable, but I believe a certain amount of discomfort is necessary to keep us on our toes and keep us fully relying on God in every moment of every day. And so it is with our time here and in our jobs here. For this I am thankful.
I have many take aways from the conference: a new found knowledge of job expectations, a network of like minded (and not so like minded) colleagues, renewed confidence and vigor towards ensuring quality health care in a environment of difficulty. These are just a few of the comforts I will bring back to the focus of my job. For this I am grateful. I am grateful for those who pray daily for our safety, for those who come along side us in mission, for those who have put into us the trust and knowledge to be who we are and to God for the opportunity to live fully in the mercies and grace provided by God.
It wasn't all work. We did managed to take a couple of days to have some much needed down time. We went to Jane Goodall's Chimp Sanctuary, the largest Rock Gym in the southern hemisphere, a Chinese restaurant, a movie and some nice stores...all things we are only occasionally able to do these days. All in all I think we are renewed and ready for the months ahead. Grace and Peace in all God's endeavors.