Choosing the Road Less Traveled

Bet you can’t eat just one!” was a well-known catch phrase of an advertisement of Lay’s potato chips in the 1980s. Being involved with over 200 medical mission trips in scores of countries I often challenged newcomers and those considering joining a mission trip with the quip, “I betcha can’t just go on one!

Mission trips are addictive!” I warned. Few things in my life have been as rewarding as touching the lives of hurting people around the world, whether due to extreme poverty or natural or manmade disasters. My decision to enter the field of medicine and follow the path of medical missions has been the God-directed destiny for my life.

It has been a “road less traveled,” yet I cannot imagine a more fulfilling path for my life. I have chronicled my journey in my book Decisions Determine Destiny. At age sixteen I prayed, “I want some excitement in my life!” God answered my prayer beyond all expectations when I obeyed the leading of the Holy Spirit.

In Decisions Determine Destiny I wrote, “Nothing can replace the adventure of following God’s leading. Nothing comes close. Taking the narrow road, as spoken by Jesus, or the road less traveled, as Robert Frost wrote, ‘makes all the difference.’”

I have met many healthcare professionals who have expressed a desire to do medical missions “someday,” but comparatively few actually follow through.

In my book I wrote: My father used to tell me, “The price of spiritual progress is obedience to the known will of God.” He explained, “If you know at least the next step God wants you to take – then take it. Don’t wait for the complete picture to come into view!”

I challenge you to obey the inner desire you may have to step out and “take the plunge.” Join a JVMI Medical Outreach if you sense the leading of the Holy Spirit.

One nurse, following a Medical Outreach in Kechene, Ethiopia, wrote, “It was such an awe-inspiring experience that at times I still have trouble processing in my mind that God chose me…to go to Africa. I now understand what it really means when people say that something for them was life changing.”

In 1997 the Lord directed me to reach out to the Jewish Diaspora. I share this life transforming juncture in Decisions Determine Destiny. A year later I was leading the first medical team to the Diaspora joining a Hear O’ Israel! Festival of Jewish Music & Dance Outreach with Jonathan Bernis in Budapest, Hungary: Decisions do determine destiny!

One of my most memorable trips with Jonathan Bernis was the outreach to the Jewish Diaspora in Gondar, Ethiopia. The needs were so great. The crowds bent the metal gates pushing to get inside the compound for medical treatment!

There were about 5,000 Beta Israel refugees living nearby. We were denied permission to work directly in the refugee camp. Some of the refugees were afraid to come to the Medical Clinic concerned it might jeopardize their opportunity to make aliyah (Jewish people returning to their homeland of Israel). However, many Jewish refugees did make their way into the Clinic and some received Yeshua!

One beautiful Jewish woman with striking features and a very unusual hair color that was more purplish than auburn came to the Clinic. She proudly showed me her documents proving her Jewish identity. She received Yeshua!

If you know at least the next step God wants you to take – then take it. Don’t wait for the complete picture to come into view!

The Gondar Medical Outreach was the first of many transformative Jewish Voice Outreaches to Ethiopia. There are three distinct Jewish communities in Addis Abba. The Beta Israel (House of Israel) and Beta Abraham (House of Abraham) and the Gefat (also known as Fuga or “blowers of the shofar”). Each community received medical care in the name of Yeshua.

On a separate Medical Outreach to Addis Abba, we held a Clinic among the Beta Israel community, estimated to be around 15,000. Hanging on the walls of their synagogue were banners with the list of community members who had died, waiting years for Israel to recognize them as Jews and permit them to make aliyah to Israel! Recently many of them were granted permission to emigrate to Israel. God’s purposes were intersecting in the poorest and most desolate of places.

Descendants of the tribe of Levi have been discovered in Zimbabwe, prompting JVMI to bring medical teams there to reach this “Lost Tribe of Israel.”

I have led four medical teams to Zimbabwe (not with JVMI) and the thought occurred to me that our medical teams might have been ministering to some of these descendants of Levi. I distinctly remember sensing the Spirit of the Lord in a very unusual way in the humble congregation where we held our clinics. I remember thinking, God, your presence is so strong in this very remote area! You are amazing! Thank you for your presence!

Jewish Voice has also reached out to the Diaspora with medical teams to Russia (including Siberia), Ukraine, India, Moldova and other nations.

In Decisions Determine Destiny, I share the stories of thousands of people receiving not only medical care but also medicine for the soul. In my experience many of the medical team members have not shared their faith with their patients at home and actually feel awkward in doing so in these outreach settings. But, JVMI Outreach Partners are taught the joy of sharing their faith with the patients and having them receive Yeshua.

Partners return home with a renewed desire to share Yeshua in their community and at work. Most become more active in their church or congregation outreaches and increase their giving to missions!

Is it possible that your destiny includes a Medical Outreach with Jewish Voice Ministries?

A person does not need to have a medical background to join the teams. Assisting doctors and nurses examining patients, crowd control, cleaning dental instruments, assisting eye doctors dispensing reading glasses, assisting in the pharmacy or praying with patients in the counseling area are all opportunities for Outreach Partners without a medical background.

You may not be able to join a medical team, but you can pray and give to make these trips possible. Together we can make an eternal difference.

Ask the Lord if you should join one of the Jewish Voice Medical Outreaches. Your decision may well not only determine the destiny of those you serve, but your own destiny as well! Prayerfully consider joining a JVMI medical team. Your life will never be the same.

“I betcha can’t just go on one! Mission trips are addictive!” You can’t say I didn’t warn you!

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