Ever since I was a little kid, I wanted to be a doctor. (Having an Asian mother is good for shaping you that way!)
When I became a Christian, I knew that meant whatever I did in medicine, it was going to involve God. Overseas missions seemed an obvious choice, as well as embedding spiritual care into my family medicine work. So off I went to medical school, planning to train as a GP and then head off overseas on a missionary ship. Little did I know how God was going to use CMDFA to inspire and train me over the next 30 years.
My first contact with other Christians in medicine was through the AFES group on campus. Somewhere along the way, the local CMDFA must have linked up with us (there was probably food involved…) and the rest, as they say, is history.
I remember supper meetings in various doctors’ houses, and Christmas pool parties in (to my poor student eyes) impossibly huge mansions. As a student in 1990, I was mentored by my current boss, returning to the practice for my final GP training rotation. The local CMDFA group had a hiatus around that time, and I fell in the notorious “black hole” postgraduation until I stumbled on IMPACT in 2003 at Phillip Island, pregnant and with a toddler in tow. At the ICDMA conference in 2006 I wrote my first Luke’s Journal article and since then have been drawn into the family web ever more strongly.
Why am I telling you this?
CMDFA is part of my family history. I have shared rooms with people who have helped me through divorce, single motherhood and remarriage. I have heard people’s stories of grief and disappointment. I have been trained in how to respond compassionately, and yet with integrity, to those who have different values than mine. I know now how to weave spiritual threads through standard consultations. I have been inspired to go on short-term mission trips. I have had modelled to me servant leadership, humility and the centrality of Christ in everything. Again and again, I have been brought back to Jesus being the main thing, and to Him be the glory – important stuff for my quick-thinking, sharp-tongued, Type A personality.
This year, there are significant changes to CMDFA. There are new faces on the Board who have grown up in this family. There is an expanding LJ team, some of whom you’ll meet on page 5. We are moving from print to digital, encouraging connection and spiritual sustenance through social media – sharing wisdom and practical tips more widely. We are broadening our authorship. And the Fellowship as a whole is taking a more public role.
Our cover art was created by Kristen Dang, capturing a vision expressed at the National Conference in October. In 2015, we seemed but a pebble in a fast-moving stream of massive social change away from Christian values. Into 2020, as a group, we are standing on firm ground and making a difference that will affect the direction of that stream.
This issue’s title, #CMDFAlyf, is a reference to searching on social media (most notably Twitter), by using hashtags to group common themes. “Lyf” is the abbreviation for “life” and is pronounced as such. “Lyf” characterises what makes up the stuff of daily living for the entity to which it is attached. This issue #CMDFAlyf shows snapshots about CMDFA throughout the year across the nation in broad brush-strokes, highlighting what is happening regionally and corporately. We hope that it will inspire you to join the reunions locally and nationally (at IMPACT and National Conference) as you flick through the family album!
Dr Catherine Hollier is a part-time GP in Newcastle who loves to encourage others to integrate their Christian faith in clinical practice. She also enjoys the power of words and art and helping people express their passion.
Back to issue: #CMDFAlyf