By Holly Favino, SMI Director
I am happy that this is my fifth year participating in the Philadelphia Summer Medical Institute (SMI).
SMI is a project run by Medical Campus Outreach (a ministry of Tenth) in partnership with Esperanza Health Center (a Christian medical center in North Philadelphia). Christian medical and nursing students will live and work June 25–July 16, 2016, in the Kensington neighborhoods, providing needed health screens, health education, and referrals to the community while sharing the love of Christ through conversation and prayer, also referring those interested in followup to local community churches.
After four years, certain aspects of the program might be predictable, as the cycle of preparation (promotion, applications, funding) and participation (schedule, arrival, program!) falls into its usual patterns.
The truth is, if we’ve learned anything over these past few years, it’s that each year many aspects are always new.
It’s not just the 20 new students who will be participating in 2016. Each year there are new churches to partner with, new or unexpected sources of funding that God reveals to help us meet our budget, or seeing student participants gain a new vision of their career in healthcare.
Last year a Christian medical clinic overseas was interested in learning about our method of community medical outreach. They sent two of their interns (Christian medical residents) and one of their physician directors to work with us in 2015, and we were blessed by their skill and compassion.
This year, they will send another staff member to come work with us. Then, immediately following SMI Philly, four of our students have been invited to return to their predominantly Muslim but open country for two weeks to participate with them in their first major SMI-style community medical outreach. We are excited to see what we can learn from this new opportunity as we serve alongside our brothers and sisters.
However, whether here or overseas, nothing is as new and wonderful as seeing a new believer receive Christ. It is the seed of a promise sown (Revelation 21:5), when those who were apart from him are made spiritually and morally new, united in a new relationship with God.
How can you help?
Faculty. If you’re a medical professional and desire to share the love and good news of Christ in the community, or enjoy providing informal relational mentoring to healthcare students as you accompany them in their work, come volunteer a day or more as an SMI faculty member (no additional training needed).
Cooks. We will have approximately 22 hungry people to feed each evening! We can use 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 after a long day’s work.
Interpreters. We will need many substitute Spanish/ English interpreters for our large group. We have regular community interpreters but 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 and appreciate all of the prayer that covers this program. Pray for the community, that people’s needs will be met and, in addition, that individuals will be led to Christ and introduced to the local churches. Pray for our students, that they 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!