More than 100 medical students and professionals gathered in Adelaide last weekend (November 23-25) for the annual Adventist Medical Evangelism Network (AMEN) conference.
The three-day meeting aimed to equip Adventist medical professionals to “heal, survive and thrive” in their various workplaces. Speakers addressed issues facing medical practitioners, including rising depression and anxiety rates among medical workers, and successfully implementing health programs in local churches and cities.
Joy Akrawi, board member for AMEN and presenter on maintaining social connectedness, outlined how personal experiences with tragedy urged her to form networks within her medicine degree.
“I did have this experience where I saw my first patient die,” she said. “It’s hard for people to experience that outside of hospital, let alone inside the hospital when . . . it’s all new to you as a student . . . I had to call up one of my friends from uni because she gets it. Because she’s gone through it as well. I try to emphasise that fact with the other [student AMEN delegates], that it’s important to have friends in the Church, but it’s also important to have them in your own courses.”
With local, national and overseas delegates, the conference was headlined by Dr Neil Nedley, visiting from the United States. A practising physician and director of Nedley Health Solutions, Dr Nedley’s programs and presentations centred around healing from depression and anxiety. Speaking of the vibe at the conference, Dr Nedley said he was inspired by the connection made between health and spirituality.
“The different scientific presentations as well as the spiritual presentations were a blessing,” he said. “I think anyone could benefit from them.”
Addressing challenges in workplace evangelism, Dr Nedley called for people to take the initiative.
“The biggest challenge is for them to recognise the opportunity, to seize upon that opportunity,” he said. “Be bold but appropriate—in representing the Lord and opening up in a spiritual way. There were some good suggestions given by some Australian physicians here yesterday in their own practice and how that can help.”
The weekend also saw inspiring addresses about successful medical ministries. Dr Robert Granger, a dermatologist from Western Australia, shared about his recent mission trip, involving healing skin issues in the Philippines. Dr Trevor Hurlow, a GP from Cooranbong (NSW), also presented on “Sonship”—an initiative by doctors and a fleet of four Medisonships serving health needs in Solomon Islands.
Dr Hurlow highlighted how the conference was an effective platform to share success stories.
“It has been incredibly inspiring to hear the different medical professionals . . . and to just hear about the commitment they have to the health message,” he said. “Looking for ways wherever they are to be able to share the good news of the gospel . . . we all know initially it’s all about caring for the needs of others . . . and then trying to point them to a better way. That is to get to know Christ.”
Pr Paul Rankin from the South Pacific Division’s health department also presented on the 10,000 Toes campaign, while Geraldine Przybylko shared the Division’s future health strategy—including the launch of a new app.
Addresses from a variety of doctors, students and professionals were also supported by numerous breakout sessions, where delegates were able to discuss strategies to better evangelise in their churches and workplaces.
The AMEN conference will be held in Adelaide again next year.