Thursday, 25 December 2008

The greatest missionary story ever told

There are so many great missionary stories, some of these have shaped my life.  Amy Carmichael was a single woman who spent her life rescuing young girls in India from a life of temple prostitution.  And there is the story of Jim and Elisabeth Elliott.  Jim and four other missionaries were killed while trying to make contact with a remote and unreached tribe in Ecuador.  Their families later returned to live with that same tribe so that the people could hear about Jesus.

The Bible is full of missionary stories.  Abraham was the very first missionary, called by God to leave his father's household and go to some far off place.  The apostle Paul took the Gospel to half of the known world in his lifetime.  Much of the New Testament is written either by him or about his life and work.

But the greatest missionary story ever told is also the greatest Christmas story.  Jesus, the Son of God and the Prince of Heaven, came into this world as a tiny and helpless baby.  There was no room for him in the comfortable hotel, so his first nursery was a barn and his first crib an animal feed trough.  He was welcomed by humble shepherds and Gentile wise men.  He learned to walk and he learned to talk.  He dressed like the people and ate with them at their homes.    He spoke with them in words they would understand, telling stories of farmers and vineyards.

Jesus left the light to come into this dark world, that we may know how much the Father loves us.  This is the story that we are celebrating today.

John 1: 1

"The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us.  We have seen his glory, the glory of the One and Only, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth."

Philippians 2:6-11

"Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus:

Who being in very nature God,

did not consider equality with God

something to be grasped,

but made himself nothing,

taking the very nature of a servant,

being made in human likeness.

And being found in appearance as a man,

he humbled himself

and became obedient to death--

even death on a cross.

Therefore God exalted him to the highest place

and gave 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 confess that Jesus Christ is Lord

to the glory of God the Father."

Wednesday, 17 December 2008

December praise & prayer

Four weeks from today I will be leaving for PNG.  Lots of praises this month... I finished school and moved back home to Ohio, my PNG visa was approved for 3 years, I had two wonderful sending services, and I am blessed by many precious moments with family and friends!  Prayer requests for December...

* safe travels for my few remaining deputation services

* all the stuff I need to do before leaving the country

* for me as I say goodbye (my least favorite part of going away)

* that my family will have a wonderful vacation together... Mom, Dad, Aim, Darren, Aaron, and I are going to Naples, FL for a week after Christmas :)

Friday, 12 December 2008

Operation Warm Baby

The kids and teachers of Livingston Christian School in Pinckney, Michigan are taking on Operation Warm Baby! They are collecting, packaging, and shipping items for new babies in the nursery at Kudjip Nazarene Hospital. I visited the school in December of 2008, just before I left for PNG. This album contains pictures from my visit and will eventually display some from the receiving end!
LCS... thank you for giving!

Wednesday, 10 December 2008

Operation Warm Baby

"Operation Warm Baby" is a project that was started by the Nazarene Hospital Foundation.  Many moms in PNG have little to clothe or care for their new baby.  Operation Warm Baby is helping to provide much needed items!  Here is what is included in a warm baby pack:  1 onesie, 1 sleeper, 1 hat, 1 pair of socks, 2 cloth diapers and 2 pins, 1 blanket, 1 wash cloth, and 1 bar of ivory soap.

Under the direction of Rachel Bergin, the students and teachers of Livingston Christian School ( in Pinckney, Michigan are taking on Operation Warm Baby!  Rachel is my Dad's cousin and a former teacher at LCS.  The school has already started collecting items for the warm baby packs and will be sending them on to the nursery at Kudjip Hospital.

This past week, "Dr. D" (that's me!) spent a few days at LCS.  I shared with the kids about Papua New Guinea and the work of the hospital.  They learned a few phrases in Pidgin English such as "Hepi Krismas!"  The elementary classes drew some beautiful pictures that will be included in the warm baby packs.  The older grades helped to sort, snap, fold, and package the baby items.  (See photo album "Operation Warm Baby.")

It was a great week.  I was so impressed by the students, and blessed by their excitement about PNG and for Operation Warm Baby.  It was such a privilege for me to be a part of this project as it was initiated.  And this is just the beginning an ongoing partnership between LCS and Kudjip Hospital!

A special thanks to Mr. Nast, the administrator at LCS.  I appreciate your passion for teaching the kids about giving, missions, and sharing Jesus.  And to Rachel, who has already given so much to Operation Warm Baby.  May God bless you many times over.

For more information about Operation Warm Baby and other ongoing projects in support of Kudjip Hospital:


Monday, 8 December 2008

Therefore go

On Sunday, December 7, I was commissioned or "sent out" by Lower Lights Community Church of the Nazarene in Columbus.  Here are the words that were shared by Pastor Mike...


The first Bible verse most of us memorized is John 3:16, “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.”  This verse speaks plainly of God’s love for His creation.  He loves each human so much that He sent his only son as a sacrifice so that we would have the opportunity to live forever with Him. 

The prophet Isaiah spoke of the world and our human nature like this:  “The people walking in darkness  have seen a great light; on those living in the land of the shadow of death a light has dawned” (Isaiah 9:2).  The darkness he spoke of is the hopelessness found in our souls caused by being separated from our creator, which is the result of our sinfulness.  Into our darkness, God sent Jesus to be the light of the world.


It has always been God’s desire that we, in spite of our sinfulness be reunited with Him.  The way he has chosen to share the light with the world has been in great part through his children, those who love Him and have discovered that He is a loving God. 


After the resurrection, Jesus made His most direct statements about the role of His disciples in spreading God’s love.  Matthew 28:18-20 says, “18Then Jesus came to them and said, ‘All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. 19Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.’” 

This is a command that was not just given to the apostles but to all Christians then and now.  We are to go and make disciples of all nations.  We are to be the vehicle for sharing the Light of Christ.  

In Acts 1:8, Jesus removes any question that our involvement stops close to home when he says, “But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth."

We are to be involved with carrying the gospel around the world.  As a congregation we do this by being a part of the Church of the Nazarene.  We believe in missions and believe that we are reaching the ends of the earth by supporting our denomination. 

Today we have a special opportunity to invest in missions.  One of ours, Stephanie, has:

1) heard the call of God on her life to go to a distant nation and share the love of God through the talents he has given her. And she has responded by saying, “Yes, Lord, I will go.”

2) Stephanie has prepared herself to go to a distant nation to share the love of God by going to Medical school, completing a residency program, at least one fellowship, she has completed her missions immersion training that the denomination requires and has shipped all of her belongings.

3) Today, we get to bless her, cover her with our prayers, give her a seed offering, and move her one step closer to sharing the love of God with a people who are living in darkness. 

Stephanie, will you affirm that you have heard the call of God in your life to use the talents He has given you to share His love with a distant people who are lost in darkness?

     I will.

Have you prepared to the best of your ability to be a competent physician who ministers to the bodies of the people you will be living amongst?

     I have.

Are you faithfully nurturing your relationship with the Creator whose message of love you will be carrying to a lost people?

     I am.

Is it your intent to rely completely on the power of the Holy Spirit, and the prayers and support of the church as you endeavor to be Christ’s ambassador to Papua, New Guinea?

     It is. 

Church, is it your intent to be people motivated by the love of God to take the life transforming message of the gospel of Jesus to Columbus, all of the United States, and to the ends of the earth?

     It is.

Church, is it your intent to diligently pray for our missionaries around the world and in particular, Dr. Stephanie, as she courageously shares God’s love with the world?

     It is.

If that is your intent, I would invite you to join us here at the altar as we pray a prayer of consecration on Stephanie this morning.


Tuesday, 2 December 2008

Round the world in 80 days

It's too bad that you can't get frequent flier miles for driving your car.  Although I've covered more than a few air miles over the last few months as well!  My travels have taken me from the Florida coast to the tip of Texas, all the way up to Minnesota, and everywhere in between.  I feel as though I have been round the world (a couple of times) in 80 days!

Despite the craziness of being on the road, I have certainly enjoyed deputation.  It has been a time to share with the churches what God is doing in Papua New Guinea.  (Althought I will admit I am getting a bit tired of hearing myself talk!)  I have made many new friends, and had the opportunity to catch up with old ones.

Lurae and I met during my year in California.  We both attended Loma Linda and were in the MPH program there, and shared more than a few adventures... Peru, Eastern Europe, and Disney Land, just to name a few!  I had not seen my friend since we left Cali in 2000.  More than eight years later, and a husband and two kiddos for Lurae, we finally got together!  I detoured up to Minnesota and enjoyed a visit with her family for a couple of days.  Brrrrrr it is cold up there in Minnesota!

Lurae is only one of the many friends I have been able to visit with during this time!  My other reunions have included Jake (from residency) and Lisa in South Texas, the docs where I trained in Austin, Camela and Bryan and family in Indiana, Todd and Christie and fam in Ohio, Jeff and Laura and fam in Indiana, and Heather who visited me here in KC!  It has been such a blessing to reconnect with these old friends over the past couple of months.


Thursday, 27 November 2008

Giving thanks

I am sitting here at my brother's place in Nashville... Mom is napping in the corner, Dad is watching football, Aaron studying on the couch.  The turkey baking in the oven with smells of dinner starting to fill the air.  Our day has already been filled with holiday traditions, such as watching the Macy's parade, leafing through the sale adds, and making sweet potato casserole.

Ami and Darren are celebrating a time zone away in Phoenix.  Wish they could be with us today; I am happy that we will all be spending a week together over Christmas!

As I think about this being my last Thanksgiving in the States for who knows how long, it is quite a mosaic of emotions.  Funny?  Sad?  Strange?  Excited?  Certainly being far away from friends and family will be the most difficult during holidays and other special times.  But I am also looking forward to becoming part of a new family and adopting new traditions, PNG style!

So here is what I am thankful for today:  my family and the time we have gotten to spend together over the past couple of years, the blessing of forever friends and opportunities to catch up with them during deputation travels, my "sabbatical," for my call and it's fulfillment, for the invitation to serve in PNG and for the great team I will work with, for God's provision.  And most of all for the Lord Jesus.  He, too, left home and all that was familiar to go to a far off place and new culture!  All because of God's love for us.

Happy Thanksgiving to all.

Monday, 24 November 2008

Doenges Family Vacation

Start:     Dec 26, '08
End:     Jan 1, '09
Location:     Florida

Livingston Christian Schools

Start:     Dec 10, '08
End:     Dec 11, '08
Location:     Pinckney, MI
The kids from LCS are taking part in Operation Warm Baby, collecting blankets and clothes and other items for the new moms and babies at Kudjip Hospital. I will share about PNG and the hospital during the elementary and secondary chapels.

Tuesday, 18 November 2008

One last quick trip to Fort Worth!

Start:     Dec 15, '08
End:     Dec 17, '08
Location:     Fort Worth, TX

Tuesday, 11 November 2008

November praise & prayer

God is good...  Deputation travels have been such a blessing as I make new friends and catch up with old ones :).  My work permit for PNG has gone through, now waiting on the entry permit.  Here are some requests for November...

* two intern couples are still waiting for houses to sell
* awaiting entry permit for PNG... Please pray that this comes through quickly!
* this week is the semester crunch for school
* continued travel safeties, deputation services

Tuesday, 28 October 2008

Antioch COTN

Start:     Nov 16, '08
Location:     Shawnee Mission, KS
evening service

Thursday, 23 October 2008

Steph travels to PNG

Start:     Jan 14, '09
End:     Jan 20, '09
Location:     Columbus OH Airport --> Singapore --> PNG (and a few stops in between)
Ready or not... here I come!
My trip includes a weekend stopover and visit with my good friend Sarah in Singapore :).

Moundsville COTN

Start:     Jan 7, '09
Location:     Moundsville, WV
Wednesday evening service

Friday, 17 October 2008

One way

As of today, I have a one way ticket to PNG.  I leave the U.S. on Wednesday, January 14, 2009.  The trip will include a weekend stopover in Singapore so that I can spend a few days with Sarah, my oldest friend (to whom I am not related).  God is so awesome to have worked this out as the cheapest route to PNG, and it is truly a miracle.

One way ticket... how weird is that?

Tuesday, 14 October 2008

Trinity COTN

Start:     Nov 16, '08
Location:     Kansas City, MO
morning service

Life on an experimental global farm

This past week I had the opportunity to live on a experimental global farm!  Here is the story...

Project MedSend ( is an organization that provides grants to help with educational loans for health care professionals who are serving as missionaries.  I am blessed to be a MedSend grant recipient!  One of the requirements of the grant was that I attend a community development conference.  So this last week I traveled to the Fort Myers, Florida area to participate in the "Health, Agriculture, Culture, and Community" workshop that was sponsored by CMDA, King College, and ECHO.  There were 12 participants coming from Alaska to Texas to New Hampshire.  Six of us were health care professionals, and the others were training to work in community development projects.  All but one are headed overseas for full time service.  It was amazing to be with this group for the week, and to build new friendships.  The conference itself exceeded all of my expectations as we learned about the Biblical approach to health and development.

The course was held at ECHO (Educational Concerns for Hunger Solutions), which is a non-profit Christian organization that partners with missions around the world.  ECHO basically serves as an experimental global farm where they research techniques to improve farming methods in developing countries.  They have a seed bank to supply seeds for experimentation and cultivation.  ECHO also provides educational programs and consultations in the US and around the world.  For more info:

Saturday, 11 October 2008

Belton COTN

Start:     Nov 2, '08
Location:     Belton, TX
evening service


Start:     Nov 1, '08
End:     Nov 2, '08
Location:     Copperas Cove, TX
Saturday evening dinner, Sunday morning service

Tuesday, 7 October 2008

"See Spot run."

Papua New Guinea has more than 800 distinct languages, representing more than 10% of all the languages in the world.  Luckily I only have to start with one of them:  Pidgin English or "Tok Pisin."  Pidgin was originally developed from Dutch, German, and English to serve as a trade language for PNG and the surrounding islands.  It is now recognized as one of the official languages of PNG.

I finally began my Pidgin studies in October.  Or perhaps I should say I resumed my studies, as I had picked up a bit of the language on my previous trips to PNG.  My companion is "An Introductory Programmed Course in Tok Pisin" which is a book and cassette tape converted to CD that was put out by the Summer Institute of Linguistics (SIL).  I have learned about 20 words and the Pidgin equivalent of "See Spot run" which in PNG is "See the pig run!"  So far I am having fun learning a new language, and it seems to be coming along reasonably O.K. 

Are there any native speakers out there who are willing to let me practice?

October praise & prayer

Thank you so much for your prayer support.  God is answering:  my deputation schedule has filled up and Pidgin English studies are now underway!  Here are a few requests for October...

* three intern couples are trying to sell their homes --> please pray for God to work miracles!

* my upcoming deputation travels, for safety and rest and for the services

* PNG paperwork (medical license, visa, etc.)

* Kudjip Hospital and the team in PNG

Thursday, 2 October 2008

Visit to Lurae & family :).

Start:     Nov 20, '08
End:     Nov 22, '08
Location:     St. Cloud, MN
Eight years after leaving Cali, we are finally getting together! WAHOO!!!

Wednesday, 24 September 2008

New Carlisle COTN

Start:     Jan 4, '09
Location:     New Carlisle, OH
morning service

Bethel Community COTN

Start:     Nov 30, '08
Location:     Medway, OH
morning service

Clifton Avenue COTN

Start:     Dec 21, '08
Location:     Cincinnati, OH
morning service


Start:     Nov 23, '08
Location:     Ankeny, Iowa
morning service

Visit with the Margos :).

Start:     Oct 31, '08
End:     Nov 1, '08
Location:     Rio Grande City, TX

Heather comes to KC!!!

Start:     Nov 15, '08
End:     Nov 16, '08
Location:     Kansas City, MO

Eaton 1st COTN Faith Promise

Start:     Nov 8, '08
End:     Nov 9, '08
Location:     Eaton, OH
Saturday evening and Sunday morning services

Tuesday, 23 September 2008

Shepherd's House COTN

Start:     Oct 19, '08 10:00a
Location:     Mt. Vernon, OH
morning service

Tuesday, 16 September 2008

Fowlerville COTN

Start:     Jan 11, '09
Location:     Fowlerville, MI
morning service

Ashtabula 1st COTN

Start:     Oct 26, '08
Location:     Ashtabula, OH
morning service

Tuesday, 9 September 2008

Commissioning service @ Lakeholm

Start:     Dec 14, '08
Location:     Mount Vernon, OH
evening service

Papua New Guinea

This is the view from Kudjip station.

I visited PNG for 3 months in 2002, and another month in 2005. Here are a few pictures from those trips.

Sunday, 7 September 2008

September praise & prayer

Missionaires could not do their jobs without the support of prayer partners back home.  I will try to keep you updated on prayer requests at least once a month.  Here are a few for September...

* missionary interns during this time of transition (packing, school, goodbyes, etc.)

* Pidgin English studies

* fall deputation, for scheduling and safe travels

* Kudjip Hospital and construction of the new building

* the team in PNG

Saturday, 6 September 2008

MIT = Missionary Intern Training

(minus our "creative access" missionaries --> see next picture)

Pre-Field training took place fall of 2008 in Kansas City. There are 12 missionary interns, representing every corner of the globe: Russia, Peru, South Africa, Switzerland, USA (Jesus Film Harvest Partners), and Papua New Guinea!

Friday, 5 September 2008

ECHO Conference

Start:     Oct 13, '08
End:     Oct 17, '08
Location:     N. Ft. Myers, FL

Thursday, 4 September 2008

Tuesday, 2 September 2008

Back to school... again!

August began with two furious weeks of sorting and building and packing my crate.  And the month has now ended with two furious weeks of seminary modules!  (Thus the reason for my virtual silence.)  It has been a bit strange to be back in school again after more than a couple of years of being on the job.  And a bit of a challenge to sit still for eight hours a day!  The courses have been excellent... covering the A to Zs of living and serving overseas:  culture, money, leadership, language acquisition, and spirituality.  After so many years of preparing for the medicine side of my ministry, I am enjoying the opportunity to reflect on God's mission to the world.  I have truly been inspired!

(Robyn and Josh in MIT.)

Monday, 1 September 2008

KC ALSO Course

Start:     Sep 25, '08
End:     Sep 26, '08
Location:     Kansas City, MO

Thursday, 21 August 2008

Aim comes to visit!!!

Start:     Oct 4, '08
End:     Oct 6, '08
Location:     Kansas City, MO
Counting down the days :).

Wednesday, 20 August 2008

Saturday, 16 August 2008

Packing for PNG

Packed, addressed, and ready to go.

I had 120 cubic feet of space to pack and send all of my earthly possessions to PNG.

Going "home" to PNG

Wow, this thing called life is one crazy adventure.

I was 15 years old when I first felt God's call to medical missions. After many years of preparation, the dream is coming true! I have been invited by World Mission to serve at Kudjip Nazarene Hospital, in Papua New Guinea.  After much prayer and consideration (and a trip to Afghanistan), I knew in my heart that PNG was home for me!  In January 2009, I will join a team of 5 missionary doctors and national staff who are providing medical and spiritual care to the people of PNG.

So the end of July I said "adios" to my Texas home and friends of six years.  I squeezed all of my earthly possessions in my car and headed to Ohio for some time with the fam.  The last three weeks were filled with sorting, building (well, Dad actually did the building) and packing my crate for PNG, and reading books and writing papers in preparation for seminary classes that I start on Monday.  What a whirlwind!

On Tuesday I made yet another move to Kansas City, "City of Fountains" and home to headquarters for Church of the Nazarene.  Ten new missionary interns gathered for orientation on Thursday an Friday.  What a neat group, representing work in almost every continent... South Africa, Peru, Russia, Switzerland, PNG.  It will be wonderful to journey with this group over the fall.

Love from KC.

Friday, 15 August 2008

Where in the world is Papua New Guinea?
PNG is the eastern half of a big island, just north of Australia. Follow this link for more info from Wikipedia.

Project MedSend
Project MedSend provides grants to help with educational loans for healthcare professionals who are serving as missionaries. What a wonderful organization!

Pre-Field Orientation

Start:     Aug 14, '08
End:     Dec 5, '08
Location:     Kansas City, MO

Steph's Deputation Fund --> click here to support my ministry
Some of you have asked, "Steph, how can I support your work in Papua New Guinea?" I can use funds from my deputation account for special projects or extra costs on the field. Examples include medical license, mission trip to Vanuatu, a new fetal doppler for D-ward. Donations are tax-deductible. Follow this link for more information on giving to my deputation account.

And for lots of other ideas, see my blog entry about "How to give."

Nazarene Hospital Foundation
Nazarene Hospital Foundation was founded to support the work of Kudjip Hospital in Papua New Guinea. The site lists current needs such as medications, medical supplies, and maintenance needs. These items can be donated through the Foundation.