FMHF Lives on with a Purpose

by: Tim Kratzer, M.D.

Hearing Drs. Eric & Rachel McLaughlin speak at our annual meeting in Warm Beach, WA brought to mind the reason why I am a member of the Free Methodist Healthcare fellowship. We often get into our routines and keep on doing what we do without thought or purpose. The Fellowship challenges us to live our lives with purpose and meaning.

We began meeting as a Fellowship more than 50 years ago, young and middle-aged professionals looking for meaning and purpose, and in so doing encouraging one another. And yes, we would also question and probe into the basis for our faith. Why do we do what we do? We experienced new energy as we met together.

How is this energy and purpose passed on from generation to generation? I have heard this said about the Free Methodist Fellowship, “Now why is it that we are meeting?” We look around and see more folks in our age group – old, slow and gray. Where are the young folks asking the questions we posed back in the day Why are we spending all this time and money to gather for these annual meetings?

Then there comes the moment when our vision is renewed. Eric and Rachel are a young medical couple who have followed God’s call into medical missions. They met in medical school as they were following God’s call and now they are raising their family as they are following God’s call. They are at Kibuye Hope Hospital as part of the Serge group, a group of young medical missionaries who have committed themselves to one another and God. They are committed to serving the poorest of the poor. Eric and Rachel spoke of the reality of providing medical care for the under-served in Burundi. They spoke of how poverty and neglected medical conditions often exceed their human resources, “Walking with Those in Need without Losing Heart” as they so aptly described it.

As they spoke I felt my heart drawn back to our days in medical school, a time when our call to medical missions was taking us on a path not understood or embraced by many in our circle of friendships. What an encouragement it was to have a medical missionary couple, Dr. and Mrs. Yardy, invite us to come to our first fall meeting of the Fellowship. We met medical professionals who were living their lives with meaning and purpose. When these folks heard our story, they affirmed the choices we were making to follow God’s call into medical missions.

The story that Eric and Rachel must be shared with our young people. We will again have the opportunity to reach the medical professionals of today as we meet this year at Essenhaus in Middlebury, IN. Our guest speaker, Dr. Bill Morehouse, has written how he followed God’s call in medicine as a ministry to the medically under-served here in America. He has spoken often locally and at the Christian Community Health Fellowship National Meetings. Through his talks and in our group discussions, we will explore the Christian calling of students, residents, practicing health professionals and even those who are retired.

So the challenge comes to us: Invite a student, resident, young doctor, dentist, nurse or other healthcare professional. Or you might even invite someone older or who is approaching retirement. The reason we meet ever year is to look at our careers in the medical field as an opportunity to serve and preach the gospel with acts of compassion, and sometimes with words. Peter said to the paralytic, “I have no silver and gold, but what I do have I give to you. In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, rise up and walk!” (Acts 3:6)