“I don’t think you should go to medical school. All the young guys I knew who pursued medicine ended up leaving their faith” – this was genuine advice given to me by an older Christian leader whom I respected while I was still doing pre-med back in college. I was torn when I heard it. I was in my early twenties, young, idealistic and very much gung-ho for Jesus. I loved my college Christian fellowship. They were family to me and I spent a majority of my time involved in Christian activities with them.
At the same time, I was taking classes that were preparing me for a career in medicine. This career path seemed almost preordained for me, coming from an Asian family background. Although stereotypical, my parents genuinely had my best interest in mind. I have to admit, however, that at the time I was never completely enthused with the idea of medicine for the rest of my life.
Back to the advice. It made sense, right? Imagine how much time you have to put into your studies night in and night out. Then there’s the endless amount of medical knowledge you’re meant to know by heart before the next quiz or exam. On top of that, you have your performance to worry about if you want to get into a good residency or internship. After school Christian activities? Living out your faith? Discipleship? Forget it. I was counting it a good day if I managed to squeeze in a balanced diet!
Eventually, God did lead me to medical school. I was so afraid. Was the advice going to come true? Would my faith slowly take a back seat due to the demands of medicine? How would I even live out my faith in the medical field? Is it possible to be a Christian and a doctor at the same time?
These may sound like silly questions to some of you, but they were real questions that I struggled with in medical school, and continue to ask today whilst training in the Emergency Department. I didn’t have anyone who had the experience in this specific arena of faith and medicine at the time to guide me. It was all trial and error. And believe me, I’ve made tons and tons of mistakes along the way.
But there are victories too. And they are worth sharing. In Hebrews 10:24-25a, it says “let us consider how to encourage one another to love and good deeds, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another”. My hope is that through this seminar, we can create a space where different topics can be discussed to encourage one another.
Here are some topics that we will touch upon:
- Trusting God with your future
- Honouring God with your time
- Building integrity early: the temptations of cheating
- Burnout and how to rest
- How to deal with failures
There are plenty more that can be discussed, but I think this is a good place to start. If somehow this introductory blog speaks to you, I invite you to come to the seminar. I would love to meet you all!
Christian Medics’ Seminar will take place at 6.15 – 7.45pm on 5th November 2017 in Synge Street after the Sunday service.
By: Andrew Ngaditono (Emergency Medicine Senior House Officer)