As most of you already know, I've decided to take this year off work to volunteer in a missions hospital in Yei, South Sudan.
Why and how?
It all came about late last year when I found out that I was out of a job...kind of. What happened was I didn't succeed in getting a critical care HMO (house medical officer) post as I had initially hoped. Most residents in my position would then apply for either a medical, surgical or general year instead. I saw it as an opportunity to further explore what I always had in mind when I entered medicine, i.e. missions. Having already been a part of three different mission trips (to India, Thailand and Papua New Guinea), two of which were medical in orientation, I was (I thought) ready for a longer stint!
I set about asking the different missions agencies around Melbourne how I could serve as a relatively new doctor and eventually ended up in Pioneers. I knew they had a good reputation in the field via a couple who were medical missionaries in Central Asia. Among the options given to me was South Sudan. My interest was piqued; I had been following the progress of the Republic of South Sudan through the mainstream news as well as newsletters from organisations such as the Barnabas Fund. Two decades of civil war, oppression, persecution and even slavery (as some claim) naturally marked out the newest country in the world.
To cut a long story short, I prayed and (I believe) God answered. Rather than getting what I wanted, He has given me something even better! The privilege of serving alongside our brothers and sisters in this fledgling nation and the chance of seeing His work among this precious people. God willing, I will be spending two-thirds of the coming year here to the glory of His name. But don't be surprised to see me back home as I will be taking trips back and forth to fulfill various commitments. Just in case you wonder where I've disappeared to, now you know :)
To find out more about Harvesters and His House of Hope, see http://hrtn.org/projects/#his
P.S. Regarding the photo, it's of the choir after service at church this morning. The lady standing at the right is our pastor, who also hails from Malaysia! Such a blessing to have a compatriot in this corner of the world.