ROCKVILLE, Va.—Healthcare missions is considered to be one of the most effective forms of mission work. According to Rebekah Naylor, it is “extremely strategic,” and those who serve in healthcare missions can go to places other missionaries cannot.
“When you consider that there are places in the world where access is restricted or impossible, a healthcare professional, very often, is able to access that area,” said Naylor, a decorated surgeon and longtime missionary with the International Mission Board (IMB). “The healthcare professional, I feel, is unique compared to any other professional, of any kind. For one thing, the healthcare professional can cross every geographic barrier. They can cross every cultural barrier. They can cross every economic barrier—rich or poor or whatever. But even most important is they can get to a spiritual conversation in minutes, whereas others may take days, weeks or months.”
Naylor’s passion of healthcare missions is what drives her to organize the MedAdvance Conference, June 28-30, in Rockville, Va. Hance Dilbeck, executive director-treasurer of the Baptist General Convention of Oklahoma, will be preaching at the conference.
“We are quite excited that he is coming,” Naylor said about Dilbeck. “He was still a pastor when we made this commitment almost a year ago.”
Clyde Meador, who served 41 years with the IMB, most recently as an executive advisor to the IMB president, also will be speaking at the conference. “Clyde is well known in the IMB after serving many years,” Naylor said. “We always appreciate hearing from him.”
The MedAdvance Conference is open to any healthcare professional or healthcare student, Naylor said, as well as to pastors, mission pastors or anybody who has an interest in healthcare missions. The conference serves as a time to meet those who are involved full-time in healthcare missions, and Naylor said more than 30 healthcare missionaries from around the world will be in attendance.
“Our purpose in the meeting is to basically inspire, to give information about what’s happening in IMB healthcare missions, to equip people to go, to be sure that they leave knowing how they can get connected if God directs them to do so,” Naylor said. “The networking opportunities are tremendous.”
A significant feature during the conference is called the “Affinity Marathon.” Naylor said the attendees will be divided into eight groups and will spend 20-minute sessions each with the eight different affinities that make up IMB healthcare missions.
“They can ask questions. They learn what’s happening everywhere in the world, and needs are presented,” Naylor said about the time spent during the Affinity Marathon. This will happen on the second day of the conference, and those who want to know more about specific affinities will have the final day of the conference for follow-up.
Naylor said the MedAdvance Conference, which started in 2009, has been a springboard for numerous healthcare missionaries. Two she mentioned are currently serving as journeymen in the Middle East, and a husband-wife team who are both doctors are serving in South Asia, as a result of attending this conference. There is also a “high rate of results” for those who serve on short-term mission work.
Limited scholarship opportunities are available. To register, visit regonline.com/MedAdvance.