Grateful for GMHC

16Nov10

Every November since 2005 I’ve had the incredible privilege of attending the Global Missions Health Conference in Louisville, KY.  What began as an exploration of God’s call quickly became a yearly heart check-up – a time to pray, surrender, and be reminded of God’s passion for the nations.  This past weekend, I attended the GMHC – probably the last time I will attend for quite some time.

2005 Philly Group

In the fall of 2005, I was a senior in nursing school beginning to look at how I might actually get to the mission field.  Scott Moreau, then director of Medical Campus Outreach (a ministry of my church to health professions students), led a fairly large group of us to the conference.  He was the only one I knew in the whole group.  Little did I know how God would begin to build relationships and shape me through this one trip!  I figured the conference would be a great place for God to answer all my questions – where, when, how, etc.  I came home with more questions and no answers – plus a sense of awe that a church sanctuary could be capable of seating 10,000 – and that a church lobby would be big enough to require escalators!  It was overwhelming, to say the very least. :-)

2006 Philly Group

2006 found me attending the conference as a new nurse – with two friends. :-)  Deborah and I met at the 2005 conference, and both of us decided that Lauren should come with us.  I still had no clear idea of where God was leading me, but I was willing to listen to His voice.  Because I knew my way around the (mega) church, I was able to take in some of the exhibits without completely overdosing on people time.  It was in 2006 that my appreciation for Steve Saint and Dr. John Patrick began to take root.  I found I had fewer questions.  I was beginning to learn to seek only the Answer Himself.

2007 (partial) Philly Group

GMHC 2007 was awesome.  Not only did we stay with the coolest host family (fireman’s pole to make getting down to breakfast simple, sliding board to make getting to the basement simple, and a host of “secret” doors hidden by normal things like bookshelves and mirrors!), but I convinced my sister and her friend to come along, so I knew three people at the conference!  Within the group at the “cool house” (not all of them are in the picture above) were several DO students, so I gained first-hand experience with OMM treatment methods.  (Goodbye, back pain!)  I actually stayed up late and had fun… and, of course, wept as I said “yes” to Jesus again.  I was pretty sure I knew where He was calling me to go…

2008 Philly Group

Change.  2008 was all about change.  For starters, the incredibly organized Philly group coordinator had “retired.”  I had dropped out of graduate school two weeks before the conference (and was in an emotional free-fall).  My new job was not what I thought it would be.  I was sure I was headed to Colombia, South America as a missionary, but less sure than ever what that would actually look like.  I knew I needed to go to the conference – if only to remember what it was like to hear God’s voice.  For those of you who don’t know me well (ha!), it’s probably good to let you know that I tend to like things organizedMeticulously organized.  To the point that I can be really annoying.  (I’m serious.  Ask my roommate or any of my siblings.)  Sooo…  I took charge.  I knew I couldn’t do what superworman coordinator Mina could do, but I knew I could figure out the basics.  So I offered to arrange housing and ground transportation for anyone from Philly who wanted to go.  At first I thought it would just be my sister, our two friends, and I – a manageable group. ;-)  But the group grew and I ended up meeting some awesome people.  People who eventually became friends.  (What a concept!)

2009 Philly Group (with Chuck!!!)

Chuck!  Dr. Chuck!  How cool is it to take the BEST speaker from the entire conference out for ice cream?!  It’s VERY VERY cool. :-)  Chuck, the guy in the orange jacket, was by far the highlight of the 2009 GMHC.  His plenary session on discipleship was a spark that set my heart on fire – as, I suspect, it set many hearts on fire.  His book, Preach and Heal, completely changed my concept of how we “do” missions.  I would highly recommend the book to anyone considering any sort of kingdom work.  The Chuck-inspired t-shirt from Christ Community in Memphis became a call to action: “SECURITY is overrated.”  And I came home knowing my life was about to take off.  (It did.  Joining Interserve, running SMI, and moving into Philly were all directly related to Chuck’s messages.)  God was at work in a mighty way.

2010 Philly Group!

So then 2010.  Ah, how bittersweet!  To know this year was probably the last time I’ll be at GMHC for a while…  We had an incredible host family (the same one as in 2009!) who cheerfully provided sleeping quarters (indoors and out!) for 33 of us!  The Philadelphia Group truly became the group of brotherly love – in addition to Pennsylvania, group members (who were all friends of true Philly people) came from New York, New Jersey, Massachusetts, Maryland, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, and California.  (Phew!)  I can’t even begin to count the things I have learned at GMHC – or how God has chosen to deepen those lessons using “normal” life.  I came away from this year’s conference with a deep sense of awe and gratitude that the Lord would count me worthy to meet with Him again and again – in Louisville, KY.  He is so faithful.  How great is our God!

[More awesome pics are posted elsewhere on the internet – check out the escalators, fireman’s pole, and other assorted coolness here.  Random pics from 2005-2007.  Pics from 2008.  Janine’s pics from 2009.  Dave’s pics from 2010.]

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2 Responses to “Grateful for GMHC”


  1. 1 Plans, Proverbs, and Scary Stuff « musings along the way
  2. 2 The Bulletin Board (and other motivational topics) « musings along the way

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