A Different Kind of Mission

One counseling model to describe times of transition is a long arching bridge, a bridge so long that even as you enter the bridge you cannot see where the far side ultimately lands. When we first left Honduras, we entered a very uncertain time of transition. We knew that we would seek and find God’s good plan for us, but we’d left the stable ground of the known and planned future that we’d worked out in Honduras.

We were on the bridge, and where it might land us, God only knew.

Unlike many people our age, Bethany and I had never faced this kind of uncertainty about our next step. Since we were called to medical missions as children, we have simply been putting one foot in front of the other, in deliberate obedience to that call. Every transition has been prayed about, considered, counseled, and then fallen into place clearly and well in advance of getting on the bridge.

So I apologize for not knowing how to respond during the last few months regarding our plans. For the first time in our lives, we weren’t sure what was next. We have been earnestly seeking God’s will for our family. But for a time, we had to wait on the Lord to make his way clear to us.

Thank you for continuing to support us through this uncertainty. Your prayers and financial support have been an immense blessing.

Without further adieu: we think we know what God has for us next. I have applied and been tentatively offered terms to work as a doctor who trains new doctors for their first years out of medical school at the family medicine residency where I was trained. A lot of considerations went into this decision, several which I will mention here:

  • The residency/training program is at Catholic facility that puts special emphasis on Christ-like care and ministry to all, especially the poor and marginalized.
  • As such, it ministers to many immigrant families and a large percentage of Spanish speakers.
  • We hope it will provide a rare opportunity to maintain my obstetric, inpatient, and newborn to elderly clinical skill set without sacrificing too much of our family time.
  • We hope that by working here for a time, near our families and our church homes, that we might create a godly home with good rhythms to be a safe home base for our family, from which we can go out in obedience, and return for rest and security.
  • This work could position us very well to continue engaging in medical missions in the short term, and potentially allow us to return to the field better equipped to train doctors (both local doctors from developing countries and missionary doctors) which is one of the most pressing needs in medical missions.
  • Finally, I love teaching and mentorship/discipleship, both of which I will likely be able to do in this setting.

We are in the early stages of working out contracts, privileges, licenses, and so forth. It is not uncommon for this process to take half a year, but we are trying to expedite this to allow me to start as soon as March first. Pray that if this is God’s will for us that things would once again clearly fall in place.

Your prayers are appreciated because, although almost all the individuals I’ve spoken with are enthusiastic about hiring someone fresh off the mission field, bureaucracy and insurers do not always look so favorably on the many check-boxes that long term mission work makes difficult to answer as desired (i.e. a large gap in my malpractice insurance).

We will let you all know if and when things are finalized.

Our time with Samaritan’s Purse, and its post-residency program, will end at the end of this month. They generously extended our contract for some time to help us through this time of uncertain transition. Thank you so much for your support through them. And a special thanks to awesome crew that run logistics and support for World Medical Missions. It has been an honor to be a Samaritan’s Purse missionary family.

Grace and Peace to you all,
Nathan & Bethany Gilley

One thought on “A Different Kind of Mission”

  1. Praying for you all during this time. I am still living in the ministry transition world and understand all to well the balance it takes of faith, trust, patience and diligence. May God continue to bless you and your beautiful family in this next phase of life. God uses you all everywhere you go so you all will be forever missionaries!


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