Hi Family!

My name is Jeff. I was born in Arizona, but raised in Wheaton (a suburb about 40 minutes from Chicago). I lived there all my life. When it came time for college, I finally moved out of my parent’s house… traveled 5 minutes away, and went to Wheaton College.

For undergrad, I double majored in Biology and Biblical and Theological studies. That was the time when the Lord grew my desire to care for people through holistic healing. By the end of my freshman year, I really felt called to medical missions. During my junior year, I met Gracie through Anatomy and Physiology class. We were study buddies, and after realizing that we had similar passions in life, we starting dating and eventually got married in June 2007.

Between then and now, I got my master’s in Intercultural Studies (also at Wheaton) and I am currently a medical student at University of Illinois at Chicago (I’m slowly leaving Wheaton). For now, being a student is my main vocation. Being a third year medical student (or an M3), I am mostly done with the grueling book work and now I spend most of my time in the hospital. Each week is different, but for the next two years, I will be going to different units/departments in the hospital to learn and grow as much as I can.

My desire is to care for people by healing holistically like Jesus did- that means providing physical, emotional, and spiritual care. Jesus would meet people in their felt area of need but would inevitably and graciously care for every part of their humanity. I actually think that for him it would be a contradiction in terms to try to compartmentalize human experience the way we do. This is evident in that throughout the Bible, being ‘saved’ often is referring to a physical redemption in addition to our spiritual one. By his wounds we are healed… holistically. Ultimately, we will not experience this in its fullness until Christ’s return and our bodily resurrection, but it is a joy to be used in some small way to proclaim Christ’s kingdom today on earth as it is in heaven. I praise God that my profession is temporary and but a dim reflection of what healing the Great physician will and is bringing!

But that’s abstract (I like this stuff and would love to talk with you about a theology of Healing), what does that mean for me now? I thrive on the academic, mental side of medicine, but I also I love praying with my patients and encourage them with Scripture. It means I see and direct patients to see God’s providential hand in ‘scientific medicine’ (as if this is somehow not God’s work) as well as trust and pray for healing that we can not explain through ‘science’. Furthermore, I often wondered how my passion for music fits into all of this. I often think of how David would play his harp for Saul and the evil spirit would leave. Music has a power for healing that is remarkable. I have begun to sing often with my patients. One sweet old man recently asked me to sing ‘The Old Rugged Cross’ with him. So I printed out the verses, and there in his room, we sung the hymn at the top of our lungs. It brought joy and healing to both of us.

I also try to share Jesus with my classmates and those I work with in the hospital. The Lord has given me some opportunities to share the Gospel. It is not always easy though. For many people in the medical profession, faith in God is ‘unscientific’ and is often times considered to be offensive. Please pray for boldness for me as I try to minister with those the Lord has placed in my life through words and actions! I want to point people to the Great Physician and bring Him glory!

After medical school is residency, which could be 3-5 years, depending on what I decide to practice. So far, I’m leaning toward becoming a family practice physician. As for the long term future, our hearts are for the poor and orphaned, but Gracie and I do not know exactly what/where the Lord has for us. We are just open and willing to go where He wants us to go. We feel called to long term medical missions work and have spent time doing this in Tanzania, China, and Pakistan. We are excited for the doors that are opened through our medical professions practicing in a context where people have not heard Jesus’ beautiful name. We hope to testify to the holistic healing the Gospel brings through word, deed and sign. Medicine cannot be simply reduced to means to an end, but nor is it sufficient in itself. We all will die, but our prayer is that in Christ many will truly live, forever!

Well, I guess that’s all for now. Feel free to write back with thoughts or questions. Thanks for your time!

Peace of Christ,