It’s a gift (part 2).
On the treadmill you just keeping going, that is the goal, sometimes you get to slow down and catch your breathe, but you don’t stop.
Even recently we have continued to think about this message, bit by bit. For now I think our treadmill is (and has been) the clinic. We always knew that medicine and education were going to be our keys to the “locked door”; that it would take us into something much bigger. And, in this moment I can see that it has.
We love the clinic, the people we get to serve, and the coworkers we get to build up. But, this treadmill has been difficult. Last year, Dan stepped down as sole leader of the clinic and implemented a group leadership model. Like the leaders before him, he needed a break before he reached his point of burnout. It was 4 years of non-stop treadmilling for him, less so physically and more so emotionally. To be honest when he stepped down as the director, the staff (and he) had a hard time adjusting. Often times doctors zero in on patients and caring for the team is easily forgotten. But, it’s not their fault as the clinic is very very busy. With His Grace, discipleship has been brought into the focus of our work. Even though Dan isn’t in a leadership position anymore he is still committed to caring for and walking life with the staff.
Without being able to see patients, many of you wonder what is Dan doing now? What has Dan been doing the last 6 months in HK? Well, the same things he had been doing outside of the patient rooms for the past 4 years. Caring for patients who have reached out virtually, raising up and supporting and equipping local leaders, modeling what it means to be a follower of Christ, giving of himself even if that means showing his vulnerabilities, investing time and money into relationships, living in true community, discipling (and willing to be disciple by) others and doing it all through the Spirit, etc.
This pandemic not only halted Dan’s clinic hours, it has halted Sunday gathering for people nation-wide. These two events made it possible for Dan to take on a new role. Something bigger than medicine. Something he was already doing but now on a much bigger scale. A responsibility so energy consuming that he might not have agreed to such a task if he was wearing his doctor hat. A position that was by invitation only and was extended to him because of his reputation in the community. A potentially longer-term commitment, as a coach and mentor to a group of local leaders who are spread out through the nation and are working to serve local people. We cannot give much detail about this as it is sensitive. But, I want illustrate it this way and I’ll do my best to explain. Many years ago we felt the tug for us to serve children who had no one to call family, children who had no voice, children who not only had no one to really love them but had no one to love for themselves. We found a starting point and very quickly realized that “phase two” was never going to come as we had planned. Because the rules were changing and many doors were closing, especially for foreigners like us. But, the Father’s will was greater and His vision was bigger than our own. He opened doors we didn’t even know existed and He brought us to a place where everything came together for good. Now, this new role for Dan can support and encourage and build up those (local leaders) who are serving the forgotten, the orphans, the widows, the poor and marginalized...and those that are reaching out to every nation, tribe, people and language.
So, this time we have has been a gift. It’s been a time of reflection and has brought clarity to us about Father’s will for us. It has also given us a heart of thanksgiving to see all the things He has done these past five years in us and for us and through us on the field.
What is your treadmill?