The 2006 Mexico Short Term Missions Trip has come and gone, yet planning for 2007 is already underway.
If you still haven't checked out the pics from last year, you can see them here. More
news on 2007 to come...
Click here if you are interested in listening to any of my sermons from Preaching Lab.
Although it may seem strange to some, I feel very at home in a Hospital. My father, who died 3/23/1996, was a doctor. I have fond memories of 'hanging out' with dad taking x-rays at work. Also, having had open-heart surgery and various other operations, the hospital, very literally, has become my second home.
As the Lord began to call me into full time ministry, 2 Corinthians 1:3-4 began to pull upon my heart. To summarize the passage, God says that one of the reasons why we suffer is so that after receiving comfort from God, we can then give that same comfort to others who are going through a similar circumstance. Not only was I overwhelmingly grateful for the comfort that I had received, but also felt like I would waste all my suffering if I did pass on the comfort that I had received.
At this point, I obviously needed training. An elder of Grace Community Church referred me to another elder at the church, Chaplain Manly. He has been a Chaplain at LAC-USC Medical Center for 35 years and is a teaching chaplain with HCMA. I was hired that week and began my formal training. Training is 1600 hours plus a full year of internship, which I completed April of 2006.
I now count it a great privilege to serve the Lord at the Hospital. My goal is not to tell people that I understand and want to help, because this is not true, but to introduce them to Someone who does. When I have passed through trials, my friends and family have been at my side, and more than anything, Christ was with me and in me. However, the people who I have the privilege of ministering to most often have no friends nor family around, and they are suffering without God and without hope in the world. What a joy it is to be able to tell them that there is a God who reigns above who died to reconcile suffering sinners to Himself.
-What does a Hospital Chaplain do?
My quick response to people who ask this question is generally that a Hospital Chaplain is the pastor of a Hospital. A Chaplain's responsibilities can be broken up into a couple different categories.
First, they do daily rounds. At LAC-USC where I work, since there are far too many patients for just one chaplain, each chaplain is assigned to 'round' certain sections of the Hospital. We are all supposed to visit each patient in our section at least twice a week. Also, since we are part of the care-team, we must chart our visits so that all personnel can see our work.
Second, Hospital Chaplains are "on call" to respond to emergencies. At any time, day or night, if someone is close to dying, or already deceased and the family desires to see a chaplain, we are paged and expected to be at the Hospital in about 30 minutes.
Third, Hospital Chaplains minister to the staff of the Hospital whenever requested. Weddings, marriage counsel, and funerals are all part of the job. Being a light in a very difficult workplace environment can often be the avenue through which Christ brings men and women to Himself.
In addition to this, at LAC-USC, unlike most Hospitals, we have a weekly Church service where all the patients are invited to come down to the auditorium. Those who desire to come are brought down by volunteers of various local churches in wheel-chairs, or even in their beds!
Another unique aspect of LAC-USC is that we have County prisoners scattered throughout the Hospital. This means that we have the unique opportunity to be Jail Chaplains as well.
-How are Hospital Chaplains paid?
Probably the most common misconception about Chaplains is that all Hospitals pay their Chaplains. This is not the case. Although some private Hospitals employ their Chaplains, most do not. This means that a Hospital Chaplain is supported like any other missionary. Chaplains in most cases are sent out by the local church to minister in an area of desperate need, a Hospital. Therefore, Chaplains rely upon individuals to support them financially.
-What is HCMA?
HCMA (Healthcare Chaplains Ministry Association) is an evangelical organization that certifies Chaplains to work in Hospitals. Hospitals do not hire chaplains unless they have completed their CPE training, or its equivalent. Chaplains, like many other professions, need to do continuing education in order to remain certified. Also, since HCMA Chaplains rely upon individuals to send them support, HCMA is the organization that facilitates all these different aspects.Here is their contact information:
Healthcare Chaplains Ministry Association
377 E. Chapman Ave
Placentia, CA 92870-5094
Phone: (714) 572-3626
-How can you get involved?
Prayer is certainly the way that you can help most. Given the immensity of the task that I feel every day, I feel even more dependant upon the prayers of the righteous.
Financial Support is also a great need. We rely upon the monthly support of people who have a burden for seeing Christ exalted in the hearts of hurting men and women in the hospital. If you would like to find out how you can help in this way, please email us with your phone number (located at the bottom of this page) and we would love to speak with you on a more personal level.It's actually very easy. Any funds can be sent to HCMA (address listed above) with my name and my account number (#461) in the memo line. Of course, since HCMA is a non-profit organization, all gifts are tax deductable.
In May, Lord willing, I will graduate from The Master's Seminary. This semester, I believe I am in my favorite class so far. It is called Preaching Lab. Basically, eight of us men are in a class where we take turns preaching at each other, and then critiquing each other :) It has been an immense blessing, not only in helping me understand how to communicate God's word more clearly, but also in spurring my own soul on toward godliness. One unique aspect of the class is that we are video taped so that we can watch ourselves afterwards and see the many things we do to hinder God's truth from being more clearly communicated. Of course I wish I could change a thousand things in each one of these sermons, but if you'd like to listen, here are the *.mp3's
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