IMPACT Reflections – Dr Justin Lam, Mitchell Wong, Dr Patricia Kijvanit


from Luke’s Journal 2020 | #CMDFAlyf | Vol. 25 No. 1

Staying Christ-centered with our time, resources and relationships

Dr Justin Lam


Gathering together with other Christians at a conference is always a joy!

IMPACT is a time where we meet new faces, share in fellowship over God’s Word, and catch up with old friends from other CMDFA events. This year we heard from Dr Jeremy Beckett on the topic of Gratitude. Jeremy shared about his experience working as a doctor in Timor-Leste (aka East Timor) along with his wife, Bethany. It was humbling to hear about their time there and the many small challenges they faced. I remember him sharing that it’s the small things which can make things difficult, for example having to renew his visa each month, or his car breaking down. Then there’s the busyness of raising his four kids. Hearing him share about this reminded me that it’s not easy serving as a medical missionary in a foreign environment. At the end of the day, it’s God that sustains and without Him, our labour is in vain.

Being one of very few dentists there, it was actually nice this year that there was a seminar run by a dentist (Dr Ken Soh). Ken shared about some struggles commonly faced working as a full-time dentist. As a new grad this year, I know it can be easy for me to go straight into work without reflecting on my motives of what work is, who I’m working for, and how I relate to people in that work environment. The daily grind of work can make me narrow-minded and I become so fixated on my job that I lose sight of who my real employer is. It was refreshing to hear Ken share and give advice in staying Christ-centered with my time, my resources, and my relationships with colleagues and patients. What does it look like to be a Christian first in the workplace (as opposed to a dentist or doctor)? That is something I grapple with every day.

Overall, the talks, the fellowship, the seminars, and my discussion group all contribute to making IMPACT what it is! Journeying together with fellow doctors and dentists within CMDFA is a helpful reminder that we’re supported by a group of people who share similar struggles, whether that be in the workplace or life. I hope that when we meet together each year at an event like IMPACT, we can continue to spur each other on to be a Christian first in the workplace, and to serve God diligently with what He has given us.

A great place to step back, recalibrate

Mitchell Wong

Intern, Prince of Wales Hospital

In a flurry of final year action and the imminent reality of employment, I finally (after years of procrastinating) accepted an invitation to IMPACT.


I wanted to be firmly grounded in God’s plan and on a gospel platform in the run up to a change in life stage. I also deeply desired fellowship with Christian brothers and sisters who are walking through the similar experiences, with the intention to encourage one another in the faith and to be missional in all facets of life.
I enjoyed:

  • Hearing and seeing the ins and outs of students who have walked before
    me in faith, and have made bold decisions to follow God. It was helpful and encouraging to hear about the convictions that underpinned those choices, but also the practicalities that influenced the timing, places, and ministries that our missionary friends have chosen. It really clarified a lot of previously nebulous thinking about the enigmatic concept of ‘missions’
  • Hanging out with, getting to know, encourage and be encouraged by, my fellow Newcastle students. We had the space to discuss student life, and ways in which we can be supporting each other, primarily as God’s people, through medical work and study. I also loved reconnecting with former students, now doctors, being able to rekindle relationships, and hearing their experiences of life and work.
  • Worshipping our heavenly father in song was a spectacular highlight. Conference singing is always a highlight for me, and IMPACT’s was top tier. It was consistently fantastic to be in a small space to pour out praise to God with God’s people.

There isn’t a medical student or junior doctor who would regret coming to IMPACT. I haven’t had the space to reflect on Dr Beckett’s profoundly inspiring preaching, nor the rich fellowship I experienced in my little strand group. IMPACT 2019 was a great place to step back, recalibrate according to scripture, and go on to live a gospel-shaped life in medicine.

A weekend with the future of the CMDFA family

Dr Patricia Kijvanit

Retired Emergency Physician


I was at the IMPACT April 2019 Gratitude Conference at Elanora Heights.

What a way to spend an ANZAC long weekend in Sydney’s bushy northern beaches! It was a spiritually and physically refreshing time. As a retired participant, I was inspired by the passion to serve Christ in our younger generation of student and healthcare workers.
Arriving on Thursday night, I was warmly greeted by an enthusiastic group of students. They directed me to my room which I shared with four other senior doctors – sounds crowded, but it was actually quite comfortable. We were given the deluxe room with two bathrooms in the ensuite! What a way to get to know each other better.

Dr Jeremy Beckett spoke on Colossians every morning and encouraged us all in our faith. He is a very gifted and passionate speaker. The mentor groups afterwards focussed on how we could apply what we learnt at work and in our daily lives. Older participants are often asked to be mentors. I preferred to help by minding the bookshop and I was only asked to facilitate one session.

“I was inspired by the passion to serve Christ in our younger generation of students and healthcare workers.”

As always, there was free time and a range of workshops in the afternoon. The End of Life Care and Aboriginal Culture workshops were very illuminating. It was wonderful to hear from a Christian Aboriginal the unique pressures they face and how we can better connect with them.

The best mission talk and expo was held one evening. Many mission agencies were present to encourage us to consider mission.
On the last night, after the celebration dinner we had the surreal experience of gathering at the cross in candlelight in the oval, singing to the Lord, worshipping Him and recommitting ourselves to Him. I have attended a few IMPACTs in the past and the last night had always been a very moving experience. This time it was taken to the next level with the outdoor setting.

The big joy in attending IMPACT is seeing and catching up with Christian health professionals and students that I have come to know over the years. I have had a long connection with CMDFA since I was a medical student. It was very encouraging to see others grow and the roles they and their kids now play in God’s kingdom. I am always surprised too by how my attendance was valued.

It was a great privilege to spend the weekend with all the young enthusiastic Christian health workers; the future of CMDFA family.

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