Dispatches

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):

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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.

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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.


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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.

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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

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My Family –  Celebrating the Completion of Residency.
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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.

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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.

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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.

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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

St. Patrick’s Shield

This is a prayer I wrote to be prayed when rising for the day. It is based off of an old prayer called St. Patrick’s Breastplate – a prayer that Celtic Christians often use to start their day. I painted this new prayer onto a sheild that I recieved when I was knighted as an eighteen year old (bit of a story there – we’ll save for later). And hung it over our breakfast table to remind us to open our day with prayer.

Here it is:

We bind ourselves today, in life and love, to the Trinity in unity,
By the power of the spirit, and this example:
Christ before me.

We arise today, in the power of Christ’ baptism,
dying to sin and living into Godliness;
Christ when we go down,
Christ when we arise.

We bind ourselves today, in faith and hope, to the Church;
Taking up the obedient disciplines of the faithful;
Christ over us,
and partaking of communion, the body of Christ;
Christ with us.

We arise today, in a world of God’s creation – fallen in sin,
Inspired by the invisible attributes of God in creation;
Christ all around us,
embracing opportunities for laboring in redemption;
Christ on our right,
Christ on our left.

We bind ourselves today, by the love of God for His glory;
Christ in the heart of everyone who thinks of us,
Christ in the mouth of everyone who speaks of us,
Christ in the eye that sees us,
Christ in the ear that hears us.

We arise today, for He is risen,
Christ is risen indeed.

Rites For the Christian Year – From Ashes to Water to Oil

Ash Wednesday

At the conclusion of the Ash Wednesday service, this rite is spoken by the one recieving the imposition of ashes, the two parts are said immediately before and then after the ashes are imposed on the forehead in the form of a cross.

Merciful God,
In humble repentance
We mark ourselves with ashes and dust, a sign of mourning and repentance.
You formed us from the dust of the earth and to it we shall return,
We confess we have sinned against you, our creator, in what we have done and left undone.

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Imposition of ashes

Righteous Lord Jesus
In humble hope,
We are marked with the sign of the cross, a sign of your faith.
You emptied yourself to become a man, and in perfect obedience you went to the cross.
Grant us this Lenten season to take up our cross and follow you, to Jerusalem and through Good Friday.
Amen


Easter Sunday

Upon entering the church on Easter morning, this rite is spoken by the one remembering (or anticipating) their baptism, the two parts are said immediately before and then after the celebrant takes up the baptismal waters and make the sign of a cross over themself.

Faithful God,
In joyful celebration*,
We touch the baptismal waters, a sign of cleansing and resurrection.
You sunder waters and call forth life, you raise the dead to life.
We confess we have been enslaved in sin, dead in our trespasses, buried.

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Remembrance of Baptism

Loving Lord Jesus,
In joyful remembrance*,
We are marked with the sign of the cross, a sign of your faith
You were crucified, dead, and buried, but by the power of the Holy Spirit you were raised to life.

Grant that we may die to sin and live to Christ this Eastertide.
Amen

*For the not yet baptized, “anticipation” should be substituted


Pentecost Sunday

At the conclusion of the Pentecost Sunday service, this rite is spoken by the one being anointed with oil, the two parts are said immediately before and then after the pastor anoints the celebrant’s forehead in the form of a cross.

Gracious God,
In reverent dedication,
We anoint with holy oil, a sign that we are consecrated and baptized by your Spirit,
You are the breath of life in creation, and the pledge and seal of Christ’s redemption.
We confess we have been unfaithfully in loving you with all of our spirit, soul, and body.

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Anointing oil

Holy Lord,
In reverence and boldness
We are marked with the sign of the cross, a sign of your faith.
You poured out your Holy Spirit on the church at Pentecost.
Grant that we may be sanctified through and through, our whole spirit, soul, and body kept blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.
Amen


Purpose of these rites:

I belive our church and especially our children should have tangible ways of worshipping, engaging and understanding the faith. Let’s find ways to allow our children to not just hear, but also see with their eyes, and touch with their hands the proclamation of eternal life that is our fellowship with the Triune God.

2. Mentee and Mentor – Nathan Gilley

Around middle school, by the grace of God, and the diligence of many teachers, I began to make large strides academically (I would later learn that persons with dyslexia who are helped to overcome the difficulties of basic literacy and numeracy- often find more advanced conceptual learning to be relatively easy due to their unique nuero-cognitive design). So in fifth grade I stopped being pulled out of the classroom for special education sessions and by 8th grade I was in all advanced classes. For this remarkable transition I credit the almighty God, who answers prayers and works all things for the good of those who love him.

Yet God did not work this change in my life directly. Rather, as He so often does, God chose to do his good work to me through willing members of the body of Christ. And he continued to bless me throughout middle school and high school with many relationships that formed me into Christ-likeness and began my formation into a missional family doctor:

Dr. David Redd

I had the rare privilege of being taught advanced freshmen biology, and later AP biology by Dr. Redd, a medical doctor, board certified in general surgery and a devoted Christian. He shared a beautiful portion of his testimony with us when asked why he was teaching high school biology when he was a doctor: after completing his general surgery residency he had been working full time as a surgeon while raising his family, but one night he had a terrible dream. In his dream he saw his daughter come to him crying after he had missed her kindergarten graduation due to work. He reached down to comfort her saying, “Sweety, Daddy is so sorry he couldn’t come to your kindergarten graduation…” But as she turned into his embrace she grew into a young woman and sadly said, “Dad, it wasn’t my kindergarten graduation you missed- it was my High school graduation – you’ve missed my life.” When he awoke, he began to pray and discussed with his family about what radical changes they needed to make to heed the providential warning he had received. Ultimately, he chose to cut his practice of medicine back to part time, live more modestly, and start teaching and coaching part time at his daughter’s school.

I was in the first biology class that Dr. Redd taught after his paradigm shift. My classmates and I remember well those first weeks of advanced biology. Dr. Redd was an engaging teacher, a gifted medical artist, and a wealth of first hand knowledge with stories that brought biology to life in unmatched depth and detail. But the depth and bredth we covered was like trying to drink water from a fire hydrant. I remember working with my friend Carter late into the evenings struggling to pack all the molecule names, processes and equations into our memories- after only week of classes. Despite our whole hearted efforts I think we all failed the first quiz (excluding Katherine). But the lessons we mastered were well the worth the struggle. Dr. Redd, taught me several lessons that have stuck with me. Firstly, a lesson about lessons – the most life changing lessons are those our teachers and mentors embody for us rather than teach to us. Secondly, the Christian call is to a counter-cultural value system and way of life that balances family, finances, vocation, and discipleship in a way that the watching world finds at least curious if not unsettling. Thirdly, people can often rise to the expectations applied to them- no matter how high – if given a patient and supportive teacher. Finally, Dr. Redd furthered my passion for science and was the first of many exemplary Christian physicians that God would use to light my own path to becoming a physician while maintaining the primacy of Christ in my life.

Chaplain Matthew Atkins

Matthew Atkins came to be the associate pastor at the Church where I grew up, Chattanooga Valley Church of the Nazarene, when I was finishing middle school and starting high school. He served our church in many ways, but most prominent in my recollection was his service as our youth pastor. He was and remains one of my foremost mentors in the faith. Prior to coming to our church he had been an Army Ranger. And while serving at our church he continued to serve in the U.S. military as an army reserve chaplain, he openly anticipated that God would call him back to full time chaplaincy, but for a few years in transition, he and his family made their home in Chattanooga Valley and shared their lives and hearts with us. Matt has taught me several lessons about Christ-likeness (and probably has a few more to teach me yet):

First, Matt taught me about the holiness of play, that we can and should glorify God in all of our activities (especially ultimate frisbee). And to look forward to times of play as an opportunity to disciple and build each other up. For children and teens especially, play creates an incredibly formative opportunity to create patterns of excellence and virtue- to work out being Christ-like under the pressure and adversity of a game. Second, Matt showed me by example the freedom and favor that an attitude of repentance and ready confession brings a leader. In the Wesleyan tradition and American culture a man who is quick to apologize and confesses his sins, shortcomings, and mistakes is a rare and refreshing witness to a God who freely gives a costly grace. Ironically, after Matt left our church to be an active duty chaplain, the faults and flaws that he readily owned up to were quickly forgotten, and the legacy of humble Christ-likeness remained entrenched in our minds. Finally, Matt built on the solid foundation of my childhood to cultivate a passion for Christian service. As a man who grew up in the Salvation Army denomination (yes, they are a Christian denomination), Matt led us to show our faith by our works- regularly finding opportunities to have the youth serve the church and the least of these: the homeless, the elderly, the HIV positive outcast, the person trapped by addiction, or trapped in cyclical poverty. He led us on mission trips locally and abroad. It was one such trip that sparked my passion and love for the Mesoamerican people, culture, and language. A passion that would grow and eventually give geographic direction to my call to missional ministry.

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Under Matthew’s leadership, I was inspired to take up a mentoring and discipling role within our youth group. It began out of a confession to my peers, who already looked to me as a leader because of my calling and because I was a few years older than most of them. I confessed that I had grown complacent in my walk of faith, that I had taken for granted the grace of a loving savior and settled into a faith that went no deeper than regular church and bible class attendance. Particularly, I was convicted by Jesus’ difficult words: “You will know them by their fruit,” (Matt 7:16) and I felt like my life had produced very little that evidenced my faith in my teenage years. That confession, as many confessions will, domino-ed into others making similar confessions and grew into a peer accountability and Bible study group for the core guys in our youth group: Kaiser, Josh, Logan, Corey G., and whenever possible Kenny and Daryl. The depth of vulnerable confession, genuine love, and mutual challenging that we had was unique and blessed. It catalyzed my formation into a mature Christian, and helped me to understand and value the Christian community. I learned many lessons from those years together, but my biggest take away from our small group was that biblical discipleship requires elements of living life together: more than just a once weekly meeting for confession and study, discipleship needs opportunities to live and shape life together: breaking bread, sweating together, facing adversity, and sharing spaces. It is my hope that missional family medicine can be part of creating a community that is knit together in a similarly deep and intimate way.

One particular church mentoring relationship was a peculiar answer to a specific prayer. After learning so much about the Spanish language and Mexican culture during my summer stay in Mexico as a fifteen year old (part of a Jesus Film trip under Matt) I regularly prayed for another such immersion opportunity. But my next summer began without a hint of such an opportunity arising. Instead, on the Sunday before our church’s summer Vacation Bible School (VBS) was to start, a mother and her son who spoke very little English came to our church having just moved from Mexico. One of the adult members of our mission trip to Mexico, had met and ultimately married one of our Mexican co-workers from the trip. That Sunday, I invited the son, David, to our VBS and offered to translate and guide him (as well as I could) through our nightly VBS. I requested all the teacher’s lessons and instructions ahead of time each night so I could translate them with the help of a Spanish-English dictionary prior to that evening’s VBS. That was the beginning of lasting relationship. Through David and his family, God gave me the opportunity to regularly immerse myself in the Spanish language, in the context of family life and church life over the course of most of my high school years. As David mastered English, I became more and more conversational in Spanish, and we both grew in our faith together as we regularly dug into the Spanish Bible together.

Chattanooga Christian School Peers-

In addition to the already mentioned relationships, I was also blessed with an exceptional group of friends at school who were everything the book of Proverbs recommends a young man should seek to find in his companions. At the stage where my formation was the most affected by the character of my friends, Carter, Tom, Joseph and Audrey were the iron sharpening my iron. Megan, Katherine, Janel and Ellie were wise counsel and kind words. Jeremy, Beau, Chris, Matthew, and Jacob were faithful and encouraging brothers. God surrounded me with more friends than I can name here, all of us pushing one another towards excellence and Christ-likeness in everything from poll vaulting to ballroom dance, mentoring classes below us, competing for better grades even while helping each other study, and holding one another accountable for personal devotional and righteous conduct. A praying mother could not have asked for a better group of friends – my mother’s words, not mine.

I thank my God for the countless friends, teachers, family members and fellow believers who were the hands of God forming me into the young man I became as I emerged from the cocoon of Chattanooga Valley Church of the Nazarene and Chattanooga Christian School and took flight towards college.

P.S. – If anyone of you have a good picture or two of this period in our lives please consider sending it to me so I can post it above. I seem to have lost most of mine.

Alpha – Omega; A Scripture Compilation for Kingdomtide

“I am the Alpha and the Omega,” says the LORD,

“who is and who was and who is to come, the Almighty.”

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Chi-Ro Alpha Omega – Brompton Cemetery, London, England, UK.

In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth, now the Word was with God, and the Word was God and all things were made through him. And God said, “Let there be light,” and there was light- the true light, which enlightens everyone, was coming into the world. But sin came into the world through one man, and death through sin, and so death spread to all men because all sinned. For we all like sheep have gone astray; we have turned–every one–to his own way.

But when the fullness of time had come the Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us, though he was in the form of God, he did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but made himself nothing, taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. So Mary gave birth to him, her firstborn son, and wrapped him in swaddling cloths and laid him in a manger, because there was no place for them in the inn. He had no form or majesty that we should look at him, and no beauty that we should desire him. He taught, “Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you. Do to others as you would have them do to you.” Yet He was despised and rejected by men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief;

He said to them, “I am the bread of life; whoever comes to me shall not hunger, and whoever believes in me shall never thirst.” So he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was on him, and by his wounds we are healed. He humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. For as in Adam all die, so also in Him shall all be made alive. And when He had been crucified he said, “It is finished.” With that, he bowed his head and gave up his spirit. But three days later he was declared to be the Son of God in power according to the Spirit of holiness by his resurrection from the dead.

After that he was taken up into heaven, and the LORD said to my lord: “Sit at my right hand until I make your enemies a footstool for your feet.” Thereafter, He who is seated on the throne will say, “I am making everything new!” Then he will say these words that are trustworthy and true “It is finished. I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End.” And behold, God has exalted him to the highest place and given him the name that is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue acknowledge that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.

Edited by Nathan Gilley using the English Standard Version (ESV)

Rev 1:8, Gen 1:1, Jn 1:1,3, Gen 1:3, Jn 1:9, Ro 5:12, Isaiah 53:6, Gal 4:4, Jn1:14, Phil 2:5-6, Luke 2:7, Isa 53:2, Luke 6:27,28,31, Isa 53:3, Jn 6:35, Is 53:5, Phil 2:8, 1Cor 15:22, John19:30, Ro 1:4, Mrk 16:19, Ps 110:1, Rev 21:4,5, Phil 2:9

The idea for compiling this reading was inspired by the two divine utterances of “It is finished.” Once on the cross and once at the end of all things.