The Christian Medical and Dental Association holds an international meeting every year, alternating between somewhere in Africa and Asia. It is a ministry to the medical missionaries in those areas. For doctors who live and work overseas, it is difficult to get enough continuing education credits to keep up with licenses and certifications. The conference basically works as one big CME cram session. But it is so much more than that: there are worship services and sermons in ENGLISH, time for reflection and spiritual renewal, fellowship with other missionaries from around the region. And of course... a bit of fun.
I think I first heard about the "Thailand conference" when I was a resident. I came to PNG and volunteered for a month, to help cover the hospital so that some of the missionary docs could go to the meeting. When they returned, I heard such wonderful things about their trip. I have long anticipated being able to attend myself. This is the year!
On Thursday morning, we will be loading up two mission vehicles with the Dooleys, Bennetts, Myers, me and Beck, and all of our luggage--13 travelers in all. Our journey will take us from Kudjip to Mt. Hagen, to Port Moresby, through Singapore and on to Kuala Lumpur, Malasia. We will stay the night at a hotel in KL and head on to Chiang Mai, Thailand early Friday morning. Lucky for us FOB (fresh out of the bush) missionaries, Air Niugini's limited flight schedule requires us to go a few days early. We will be staying in downtown Chiang Mai for two nights, enjoying sites and shopping. Sunday afternoon, our group will move out to the Suan Bua resort to participate in the two-day pre-conference. I am reuniting with some of my former colleagues from JPS to help teach the ALSO course. The actual conference starts that Wednesday and will end 8 days later.
As we say goodbye to Thailand and make our way back to PNG, the rest of the group will be leaving me in Singapore. I am spending a few extra holidays with my friends Sarah and David. I recently learned that Behzad, one of my good friends from Texas, will be in Singapore for a medical conference. Wow... what a small, small world!
I am hoping to blog about our trip along the way (depending on internet access). And if not, I will definitely make up for it when I get home. I am sure there will be lots to tell. In the mean time, we would all appreciate your prayers for this trip: for safe travels, flight connections, for the conference, for God's presence, and that we will all be refreshed and renewed.