The Summer Medical Institute (SMI) is a three week urban immersion missions experience. Students from all healthcare fields, including medicine, dentistry, pharmacy, and podiatry live and work together in North Philadelphia, serving the community by doing door-to-door health screenings. Medical Campus Outreach (MCO) seeks to encourage students to maintain and grow their faith through the difficult years of medical training, and to encourage them to keep a vision for service when they are fully practicing healthcare professionals.

Several of our SMI 2015 participants will be sharing their experiences here over the next few weeks.

Prior to coming to SMI, I fearfully wrestled with my inadequate medical experience, since I did not start school for occupational therapy until August. The first week of SMI magnified the intense pride and self-reliance to feel capable for medical missions. Lies shrouded my mind, saying I needed to be experienced in order to be adequate and used by God. As my sinful heart lay exposed before the Lord, he revealed 2 Corinthians 12:9-10 to me. Jesus says "My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness. Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weakness so that power of Christ may rest upon me. For the sake of Christ, then I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong."

My favorite part of that passage used to be about God's graceful sufficiency because his power overcame my weakness. It was very comforting. However, I soon realized that there was more to the passage. I had been overlooking the rest of this passage. "Therefore," it says, meaning my response to his grace and power is to, "boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses." This is the necessary response to God’s grace and power, yet I have allowed pride to overwhelm me and to produce the opposite. My pride deceived me into trusting my own abilities for strength and comfort. My pride said I am not weak, I can be better. My pride said I must hide my weakness so I do not look incompetant. Though my heart is still calloused and cold with sin, the Word of God never fails to melt my heart and bring it to proclaim, “Soli Dio Gloria, Glory to God Alone, All glory to you God.”

Through my SMI experience, I have been reminded of the beautiful news of the gospel. I have been taught ever so joyfully and gladly to boast in the very weaknesses that I used to fear so much. Stephen Miller's song “Oh My Soul” resonates deeply within my heart through this experience:

Let the beautiful lies that wrinkle and stain
Fade out near the light of Your glory and grace
Let all that I am contend for Your praise
And the holiness You’re working in me.

With so much that happened at SMI, God humbled me into being transparent to all those around me, especially those I interacted with in Kensington. Rather than going into homes feeling a need to be strong or having all the right words to say, I went in with faith and joy in my vulnerability and weakness. I went with the mindset that I am a sinner saved by grace, excited to share the good news of Jesus because He is risen and will return. I won't lean on my own understanding, but I will trust in the Lord with all my heart for what He is doing here in Kensington, which I must say has been amazing and ever so fruitful.

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