Go!

You hear the command, “Runners to your mark.” Your heart rate increases, and you try to relax as you step in front of the blocks, staying behind the line, while try to keep limbering up as all the other runners make their way to their positions. You focus your being on the run to come, carefully place your thumbs and index fingers just behind the starting line, you take deep calming breaths.

“Ready!”

You immediately shift your weight forward towards your fingers, loading your leg muscles for an explosive push out of the blocks and remain there, poised and completely still. With disciplined focus you push out the cheering and distractions to focus all of your being, ready for action, awaiting the signal. Wait… adrenaline flooding your system, wait… an eternity – a second, wait… for the gun blast.


Starting Blocks at Vacant Starting Line Before Event
Base image credit: https://www.flickr.com/photos/53370644@N06/4976494944

Bethany and I are getting into the starting blocks. We are selling and giving away our things, packing and storing what we must. Our family is being vaccinated for tropical diseases, travel plans are being finalized, plane itineraries weighed, my 90 day notice has been submitted. We are on track to go to Honduras this January and then serve the dire medical needs of Honduras in a mission hospital. But honestly, we do not have the funds necessary – we are obediently getting into the blocks – but it feels like our shoes are not tied and the blocks are set up wrong (its a terrible feeling in case you’ve never run track). We are set to take the next step of faith – to run the race set before us – but we need your help to start and run well – financially.

Right now we have $770 in our Samaritan’s Purse account, we have received a total of about $1700 dollar in one time gifts including what was raised with the t-shirts. But we only have one couple that has started giving us monthly gifts, they are giving $30 a month. Bethany and I have not been idle, we are working hard, stewarding our money, and seeking to faithfully present our calling and work to the body of Christ. With lean living, extra shifts, and the support of our family we have paid off school loans and are debt free – praise be to God. We similarly commit to stewarding your money well. We need you to commit to supporting us on a monthly basis. At a minimum, we need a total of $3,000 each month in support to meet our family expenses for this first year. (See detailed expenses break down)

If you can give $5 a month – please do so, we will treasure it. If your children want to donate some portion of their allowance or earned money – awesome. Our first commitment for ongoing support came from two boys who are pooling their lawn work earnings to give us 5 dollars a month for the first year.*

If you can give $50 or $100 a month – Wow, Thank you.

Many of you have committed to giving us support, and are just waiting for the appropriate time to start giving. The time is now. We need to be paying for our vaccines, plane tickets, and paper work out of our Samaritan’s Purse Project account rather than our personal emergency fund.

Please give now by click on the giving icon below, typing in “Gilley,” and marking your donation type monthly.

Give Icon

For more information on our needs and different ways to give, go to our Support>Give page.

The point is this: whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows bountifully will also reap bountifully. Each one must give as he has decided in his heart, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver. (2 Corinthians 9:6-7)

Grace and Peace,

Nathan Gilley

*For those of you who are detail oriented, this sum is not included in our to-date-total because these two are waiting till the end of mowing season before they calculate and give a portion of their total earnings.


The views and opinions expressed in this blog are not the views of Samaritan’s Purse or World Medical Mission.


Enter your email to follow us on our journey

Who is Worthy of Our Fear?

Lydia was crying again, it was 3 o’clock in the morning and her crying broke through the heavy silence of our home rousing me from sleep. I slowly woke up, even as I made my way to her bed, where I knelt tiredly and spoke to my still crying child, “Lydia… Lydia…”

I paused to allow her time to respond but her crying did not calm. So I reached out to pat her back and called out quietly (her sister slept in the upper bunk), “Aravis.”

Aravis is Lydia’s favorite imaginary character to pretend to be (the heroine from The Horse and His Boy, one of the Chronicles of Narnia) and she is almost always motivated to listen and cooperate if we engage her as Aravis.

Suddenly she broke off crying, and began taking a deep calming breath before looking up at me – her lips quirking into a smile – spent tears still on her face.

“What’s going on?” I asked

“I had a bad dream and I was afraid,” she answered in a pitiful little voice.

I stroked her gently as I thought about how to encourage her. I had a similar period in early childhood, lasting about a year where I had regular terrifying nightmares as a child. This came very soon after I felt called to be a missionary (see previous post), and through it my mother taught me, with steadfast love and patience, to pray; in the darkest and most scary places – she taught me that prayer is how we cling to and know God’s presence – even when we feel alone.

As I tried to decide how to respond, I reminded myself that I want my own child to look back and remember the same steadfast love, patience, and power of prayer that I learned from my mother (but I also want to sleep and need to leave for work in 3 hours). We have tried Bible memory (Joshua 1:9), singing songs (Jesus Love Me), saying prayers, and all of those seem are hit-or-miss regarding whether or not she’s able to sleep well thereafter. Reflecting on a conversation Bethany and I recently had about anxiety being misplaced fear, and that our fear should be directed to God, I turned to my daughter and asked, “Aravis who is worthy of your fear?”

-No answer.

I elaborated, “Who should you fear most of all? Dragons, or Jackals, or bad men, or Aslan?”

“Aslan,” she said hesitantly.

“That’s right, Aslan is fearsome, he has sharp claws and a terrible roar, you have heard his roar and even felt his claws before, haven’t you Aravis?”

Lydia’s Wide-eyed little face, remembers, and slowly shakes her head to signal yes.

“Remember, ‘he is not safe – but he is good.’ So what should you fear: scary dreams, loneliness, darkness, or Aslan?”

“Aslan!” she said with fierce excitement.

“And in this world, when you are Lydia, and you awake from a scary dream, who is worthy of your fear here?”

A contempative pause then, in a solemn whisper, “God.”

“That’s right. Now lets pray to Him, because he worthy of our fear but he is also good and loves us…”

Good God,
Guard us in your will – in fear.
Keep us in your will – in love.
Till our love is your love,
and every fear abolished.
Amen


As my family prepares to abandon our positions of financial and physical security – and follow God’s calling on our lives to move to Honduras in a few short months. I have found myself reflecting on my own question, “Who is worthy of our fear?”

Luke 12:4-5 tell us what Jesus told his disciples – in regards to the danger and death they might face for proclaiming the gospel, “I tell you, my friends, do not fear those who kill the body, and after that have nothing more that they can do. But I will warn you whom to fear: fear him who, after he has killed, has authority to cast into hell. Yes, I tell you, fear him!” Jesus goes on to assure his friends that though God should be feared- He is a good and caring God who values and watches over them.

When a perfect, holy, all powerful God chooses to love and redeem insignificant sinners like you and me – the right response is both love and fear. The love part is palatable, but our culture rejects fear and its Biblical relationship to love (and so do we if we are not careful).

‘Fear of God’ expresses the depth of caution, respect, responsibility and carefulness for which our relationship with Almighty God calls. God’s forgiveness and intimacy should not abolish fear, it should enhance both love of the forgiver and fear of the forgiver – a holy God whose nature demands and extends such a costly grace.

Remember Jesus’s parable of the debtor who was forgiven so much by the King, and afterward went out and fearlessly ordered another man who owed him a small sum to be thrown into prison (Luke 7:36-50). It did not, and will not, end well for any man who is not moved to awe, loyalty, worship, and a desire to never disappoint the King. The German martyr Dietrich Bonhoeffer expressed a similar fatal disconnect, in The Cost of Discipleship:

Cheap grace is the preaching of forgiveness without requiring repentance, baptism without church discipline, Communion without confession, absolution without personal confession. Cheap grace is grace without discipleship, grace without the cross, grace without Jesus Christ, living and incarnate… Such grace is costly because it calls us to follow, and it is grace because it calls us to follow Jesus Christ. It is costly because it costs a man his life, and it is grace because it gives a man the only true life. It is costly because it condemns sin, and grace because it justifies the sinner. Above all, it is costly because it cost God the life of his Son: “ye were bought at a price,” and what has cost God much cannot be cheap for us. Above all, it is grace because God did not reckon his Son too dear a price to pay for our life, but delivered him up for us. Costly grace is the Incarnation of God.

So, fear has a good and appropriate place, it is a place holder in the seeker or maturing believer, it takes the place of displacing all other fears and reminding us of the cost of God’s love (for God and ourselves). In view of our fearsome God our earthly fears become weightless. When we fear and love God rightly our lives should beg these questions for others: ‘Towards what are they living? Where is their fear? Why do they love so vulnerably and recklessly?’ Christian hopes and fears are outside of the watching world’s purview, so they cannot quiet make sense of why we do what we do.

As an example, Samaritan’s Purse is one of only 2 organizations in the world that will respond to the Ebola pandemics. Franklin Graham, the president of Samaritan’s Purse, says, “We run to the fire.” Who but a follower of Jesus would volunteer, go to an epidemic hot zone – to work on quarantining an evil with unmatched virulence and a 50% mortality rate? To be Christ ministering to children and adults facing horrific death and disease? The movie trailer below previews the story of another Post-Resident Medical Missionary, Dr. Brantly who responded to God’s call on his life and contracted Ebola while ministering in Africa.

We call ourselves followers of Jesus. Jesus, who did not hold onto power or security, rather he gave it up and became a weak and vulnerable human – the incarnation of God (Philippians 2:6-8). When we follow Christ we may look like fools to the world, but the Bible tells us the proper placement of fear results not only in the displacement of earthly fears, but also in wisdom (Psalm 111:10). Incorrectly placed fear is paralyzing and stupefying. But when our earthly fears are displaced by the awe and fear we have for almighty God, and that fear is balanced with the knowledge that God is good and loves us, we will have the ability to gain true wisdom. Wisdom can flourish when we are equipped to face trials with discernment and peace – making decisions that draw from the precepts of God’s word, are guided by his Spirit, and rooted in the security of his providence.

As our fear of God displaces earthly fears, our obedience and love for God can grow, this allows development of our wisdom and maturity until the love of God grows perfect in us, in perfect love we know perfect peace and every fear is abolished (1 John 4:18).

Almighty God,

Displace our fears
By filling us with fear of You,

Conquer our loves
By binding us with love for You,

Disrupt our peace
By giving us peace with You,

Overwhelm us Lord,
By making us holy to you,

Amen.


The views and opinions expressed in this blog are not the views of Samaritan’s Purse or World Medical Mission.


Enter your email to follow us on our journey

 

 

 

Chattanooga Adios & Fellowship Weekend

ChattAdios

Dear friends from, in, or near Chattanooga,

I would like to invite you to Chattanooga Valley for any or all events during the weekend of September 14th and 15th.  All events are free. My family and I are preparing to leave the country at the end of the year to follow our calling towards underserved medical missions (more info here). Come and celebrate with us the great things that God has done for all of us, and the good plans he has for our future. Whether we know each other from school, through family, work, or church – we invite you to come over.  RSVP is required for the Sept 14th supper.

We plan to bring all the pre-ordered T-shirts and have some extras available.

Schedule:

September 14th:   5pm – 8pm   Supper and Fellowship at Barry’s House
-Location: 7110 Hwy. 193 Flintstone GA 30725
RSVP Required, (or if you’d prefer you may email: nathangilley@gmail.com)

September 15th:   11am   Sunday Morning Service – Nathan Gilley Preaching
-Location: Chattanooga Valley Church of the Nazarene – Sanctuary,
2853 Chattanooga Valley Rd, Flintstone, GA 30725

September 15th:   4pm – 6pm  Ultimate Frisbee
-Location: Chattanooga Valley Church of the Nazarene – the Field,
2853 Chattanooga Valley Rd, Flintstone, GA 30725

September 15th:   7pm-8pm   Sunday Evening Service – Q&A with the Gilleys
-Location: Chattanooga Valley Church of the Nazarene – Fellowship Hall,
2853 Chattanooga Valley Rd, Flintstone, GA 30725

 

Hoping to see you all soon,
Nathan & Bethany Gilley

T-Shirt Promotion

Ready… Set… Begin preparing for launch!

To help raise support for our mission work in Honduras, we have designed an awesome T-shirt for all of you! By ordering it you can help us financially, and by wearing it you can remember to lift us up in prayer, check our blog, and share our story with your friends. (While you are on our blog, subscribe)

This is the t-shirt design that we created (10 inch diameter – centered on the front of the shirt):

tshirtlogoLDL

The design looks on the coastal mountains of Honduras where we will be working,  with the hospital nestled in the mountain’s foothills over the ocean. The hospital we will be serving at is called Hospital Loma De Luz which means “Light on a Hill,” an allusion to Jesus’ call in the Sermon on the Mount for his followers to be light in a dark world (thus the light rays and reflected cross). Arching over this design is the beginning of the Lord’s prayer – a reminder and request to cover us in prayer as often as you think of us. And at the bottom of the design, our web-page and goal, to be a family that embodies the kingdom of heaven on earth.

Bethany and I love a good T-shirt, so we have gone to the local t-shirt printing store to ensure we will receive soft, and comfy t-shirts that you will want to wear all the time.  We will be offering these shirts in the 2 colors as below.

Front Tshirt Proof

We are asking for a donation of $20 per shirt. We are not planning on shipping these shirts individually but would be happy to figure out how to get your shirt to you. If you would like to tell us what you and your family want we can settle up when we get the shirt or shirts to you.

 

 


 

The views and opinions expressed in this blog are not the views of Samaritan’s Purse or World Medical Mission.


Enter your email to follow us on our journey

A Blessing – Graduating Residency

Last night my family medicine residency came to its completion. My formal training as a physcian is done (at long last – praise be to God). It still feels surreal. I offered this blessing last night at the beginning of our graduation dinner and ceremony.

DSC_5526

Father God,
We give you thanks:
For long hours, hard work, difficult patients, and demanding training,
For by them you have refined us into ready and resilient physicians.

We give you thanks:
For short days, simple tasks, grateful patients, and gracious teachers,
For by them you have freed us to be refreshed, faithful, and fun.

We give you thanks:
For 3 years of hospital food – that we may have neglected to bless,
For 3 step exams – we’ll never have to sit again,
For 3 years of family medicine residency – completed.

And now we ask your blessing:
On tonight’s food and friends –
may the calories be short-lived and the friendships eternal.
And on tonight’s graduates –
May the Lord bless us and keep us,
With grace, guide our service and attitudes,
With peace, guide our actions and our stillness,
With joy, guide our hopes and dreams,
With love, guide our hearts aright,
Send us forth in your spirit of healing and love.

In Jesus’s name,
Amen.

-Nathan Gilley, Murfreesboro TN, June 29th 2019

DSC_5568a
My Family –  Celebrating the Completion of Residency.
DSC_5701
The faculty and graduates of UT – St. Thomas Family Medicine Residency, Murfreesboro, 2019

 

Reflections – At the End of Residency

I come to the end of my residency very soon now (June 28th). You see, after graduating from medical school I, like most newly minted doctors, committed myself to a residency. For me it was a three year Family Medicine residency where I hoped to see numerous patients, treat diverse diseases, and learn essential procedures under the guidance and direction of more experienced doctors called attending physicians (attendings, for short). And, like the doctors that make them up, there are good and bad residencies, and I thank my God that I have had the privilege of being trained in a great residency.

Saint-thomas-rutherford[1]

I was excited but nervous when I interviewed at the Family Medicine program in Murfreesboro. It was one of my last interviews, but also one of my most eagerly anticipated. Before we even interviewed it seemed like the best place for our young family to get the support we knew our burgeoning family would need. Bethany’s parents live about thirty minutes from Murfreesboro, and my dad lived one and a half hours the other way. At that time we had a toddler Elizabeth an infant Lydia, and we knew that despite my plan to spend every spare minute with my family, the majority of my time and energy would be dedicated to my residency training.

After visiting and interviewing in Murfreesboro, Bethany and I knew we were going to rank it as our first choice. The clinic was devoted to helping the underserved and marginalized, including refugees, homeless, and uninsured persons. The hospital was run as a ministry of the Catholic church, with prayer and spiritual care offered daily for patients, and this mission statement: “Rooted in the loving ministry of Jesus as healer, we commit ourselves to serving all persons with special attention to those who are poor and vulnerable…” And the faculty were committed to a residency that maintained the breadth of family medicine training, including obstetrics, pediatrics, adult medicine, and geriatrics. Then we waited, trying to express our interest without seeming desperate.

PrayerChapel

Finally, by the grace of God, and the inscrutable match algorithm (a computer program that accepts all the ranked preferences of applicants as well as the ranked preferences of all the US residency programs – and outputs the fate of those doctors and programs) I found myself matched and moving our family to Murfreesboro.

And now, three years later, I look at it from the other side. The UT-St. Thomas Family Medicine Residency Program in Murfreesboro has been all I hoped for and more. Where many programs chew up idealistic doctors and spit out (or defecate) cynical and selfish graduates, my program has cultivated my compassion and joy in medicine. I have felt valued by our faculty, and together we have promoted the dignity of the work we do and the people we serve in our hospital and clinic. Finally, my attendings have encouraged and supported the value and priority I give my faith and family.

IMG_3559

Although I have much to learn, I feel ready to step forth as a family physician. I have been equipped with a solid clinical framework, a repertoire of procedural skills, a healthy respect for what I don’t know, and an awareness of some of the obstacles and work-arounds for providing care to the undeserved.

Thank you,
Dr. Glass – for pointing out my knowledge gaps and encouraging me to always ask at least one more question of myself and my patients.
Dr. Singer – for loving us like your children, and spurring us on in research and comprehensive patient care (even if I occasionally bucked).
Dr. Banker – for being candid about life and medicine and always ready to supervise or teach any procedure.
Dr. Garg – for your keen ability to give feedback, see multiple perspectives and solutions, and help us to see them also.
Dr. Reno – for carefully placed words of encouragement and reassurance that have given me confidence and hope.
Dr. McRay – for encouraging me to take the time for existential moments with my patients, and for delivering my third child into this world with grace and peace.
Dr. Streicher – for helping me learn from my mistakes and then helping me move forward again by sharing your own mistakes and giving me a clean slate.
Dr. Dunlap – for making our residency possible by pouring yourself out, and trusting us enough to graduate us (hopefully).

Sincerely,
Nathan Gilley