Spring often means the end of the academic year and the end of cold weather, but at Medical Campus Outreach (MCO), a ministry of Tenth, spring is one of the busiest seasons, as we read applications and prepare for our annual project, the Philadelphia Summer Medical Institute (SMI). SMI, a medical outreach for Christian health care students, is run in partnership with Esperanza Health Center (a Christian medical center in North Philadelphia).
From June 24 to July 15, 24 Christian health care students will work door-to-door in the dense, underserved community of Kensington in North Philadelphia. They will provide needed health screens, education, and referrals to the community while sharing the love of Christ through conversation and prayer, referring those interested to local churches.
Last year the Philadelphia Summer Medical Institute (SMI) celebrated its 25th anniversary. In the last five years alone, 94 Christian healthcare students participated, over 3,000 individuals were screened and prayed with, and over 300 received follow up from local church partners. Also, a new SMI program was created in Tirana, Albania, in 2016!
It’s wonderful to see how God uses SMI to grow the students, too, teaching them to center their identities in Christ and gain confidence sharing their faith in the health care context. In 2015, a medical student named Stephanie was greatly impacted by SMI. She recently emailed us, overjoyed to share that her brother, Bryan (“…never in my life would I have expected him to be interested in SMI”), was now applying for 2017.
Bryan wrote in his SMI application:
Since starting medical school, I’ve begun thinking more about how I can implement my faith into practice as a future physician and how I can use my vocation to spread God’s word for the people I’m caring for…I really want to grow deeper in my faith, and to do that I feel like I have to step out of my comfort zone and serve God in ways that I haven’t before. Although I’m unsure of what abilities I have to carry out his will to share the gospel with those I do not know, I’m willing to open my heart and mind to let him show me.
We’re eager to see what God has to teach Bryan and all who participate in 2017.
How can you help?
Faculty: if you’re a medical professional and would enjoy providing informal relational mentoring to students as you accompany them in their work, come volunteer a day or more as an SMI faculty member (no training needed). Not only is it a meaningful opportunity to meet and serve our neighbors in North Philadelphia, but the relationships made with the students are so valuable.
Cooks: We will have 24 hungry people to feed each evening! We use different volunteer cooks each night to provide a meal for the group (we can reimburse you for your costs, if you keep the receipts). It’s a huge blessing for the teams to return to a delicious meal. We welcome the cooks to come and join us for dinner if they can, as the students share about their day. Meals can also be dropped off.
Interpreters: We will need many substitute Spanish/English interpreters for our large group. While we do have regular community interpreters, we often need extra.
Financial Support: Our budget this year is approximately $56,000, half of which is raised by student support, and the rest through grants and individual donations.
Prayer: We seek God’s wisdom and grace in all things and appreciate the prayer that covers this program. Pray that needs will be met and that people can be introduced to the local churches. Pray that students will be spiritually strengthened and learn to have a heart for the underserved and the unsaved, wherever their career takes them. Pray for Esperanza Health Center, our church partners, our faculty, and our interpreters.
Please contact me at [email protected] if you have any questions or are interested in more details about serving SMI in any way. Thank you!
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