Reflections on VISION 2023 – Dr Theodorus Hedwin Kadrianto

Our ICMDA Oceania representative shares his experience at the recent student leadership conference


From Luke’s Journal May 2023  |  Vol.28 No.2  |  Unity in Diversity 

I first learned about the VISION Conference at the 2018 International Christian Medical and Dental Association (ICMDA) World Congress in Hyderabad, India from Dr Teem-Wing Yip. Teem-Wing was the previous regional representative of the student and junior doctors’ ministry in the Oceania region.

At that time, the ministry was trying its best to send Southeast Asian students to the United Kingdom (UK) to attend the annual Sydenham Conference that equips young leaders with various ministry skills and experiences. Hearing about the VISION conference was exciting since this was a new opportunity to bring Southeast Asian students to Australia, which was much closer to us compared to the UK.

I attended VISION Conference for the first time in January 2020, just before the COVID-19 global pandemic. I still remember how meaningful it was for me.  It was my first ever trip to Australia after being assigned to oversee the Oceania students and juniors’ ministry in late 2019 by Dr Peter Saunders, CEO of ICMDA. I came with two Singaporean and three Indonesian students and joined with Australian student leaders from various backgrounds and different states. I still remember the lessons I learned from great speakers, and, of course, great friendships!

In 2021 and 2022, I was able to attend VISION Conferences virtually, but eagerly waited for the chance to attend in person again. Thanks be to God, it happened this year in January 2023. I was very excited to come and learn about “Rebuilding and Restoration” from the book of Nehemiah, and to meet many more new friends.

“I was very excited to come and learn about ‘Rebuilding and Restoration’ from the book of Nehemiah, and to meet many more new friends.”

This time, we were pleased and grateful to bring Ledua Ravatu, a pharmacist from Fiji, who was recommended by Pacific Students for Christ (PSFS), a ministry of the International Fellowship of Evangelical Students (IFES). We had also planned to bring three medical students from Papua New Guinea and three friends from Southeast Asia. Unfortunately, various barriers prevented them from being at VISION 2023.

Apart from our new Fiji network, I was so grateful to meet two students from Otago University in New Zealand, Luke and George, who were very friendly. George, in particular, was a very funny guy with a long beard, a faithful heart, and wisdom as well! He kindly offered a piece of his beard for anyone who did not bring dental floss to the conference.

“He kindly offered a piece of his beard for anyone who did not bring dental floss to the conference.”

Even apart from international friends from Fiji and New Zealand, the VISION Conference was like a mini-World Congress. There was a huge variety of international backgrounds of each of the Australian student leaders, including Chinese, Malaysian, Hongkongese, Egyptian, Romanian, Sri Lankan, and more. We were also joined by our experienced mentors. Praise the Lord for the wonderful diversity united in the love and vision to build His Kingdom.

“Here there is no Gentile or Jew, circumcised or uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave or free, but Christ is all, and is in all.

Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity.” (Colossians 3:11-14)

As a non-Australian, I felt so welcomed and that there were no barriers in the diverse Christian community at VISION. Can we say that this is also a vision for the last days, where we will enjoy worshipping Christ with people from all tribes and tongues?

We were also united with a vision to build – or, rather, rebuild and restore – His Kingdom wherever He called us. During the three-day event, I heard repeatedly that many people felt lonely in the secular context of their daily lives either at university or the hospital.

“One roommate mentioned that sometimes it was very discouraging to work in a hospital with almost no visible Christians around! “

One roommate mentioned that sometimes it was very discouraging to work in a hospital with almost no visible Christians around! He shared how uncomfortable it was to have so many conflicting values and how at times it was hard to persevere in being the salt and light in such an environment. He shared with me how inspiring he had found the VISION Conference and was encouraged to be united in the zeal, love, and maturity in Christ with other believers. He felt refreshed by the teaching and the community and he felt ready to go back to trying his best to glorify God in the ‘Babylon’ of his workplace.

From the book of Nehemiah, we learned how important unity was. In his first talk, Professor Andrew Cole reminded us from Nehemiah 3, that Nehemiah mobilised people from many different occupations with a united vision to rebuild the wall of Jerusalem – from priests, goldsmiths and local administrators, to perfume-makers.

As doctors and dentists, we understand how important it is that all body parts function harmoniously in unity. In the same way, we can understand how it works for all of us as the body of Christ. We are different, not just by ethnicity or demographic background, but also different in our giftings, resources, experiences, and callings. But when we come together, we share one common unified vision – that of building His Kingdom.

Dr Natasha Yates shared how COVID-19, amongst other things, can break many walls in our life, causing fear and fragmentation in the community. She reminded us about the selflessness of Nehemiah and all the people that he mobilised. They left their personal ambitions to build each own name or to seek their own security to seek first the vision of His Kingdom. Love casts out fear and results in unity, not uniformity.

Finally, Dr Jacki Dunning reminded us with 5 Ps: Purpose, Process, Plan, Picture, and imPact to achieve our vision in transforming healthcare for the Lord. We left the conference to our respective places, countries, and contexts, but knowing that we are united with the same vision  of building the walls of His Kingdom wherever we are placed. Let us keep praying and encouraging one another as we walk this journey together.

Dr Theodorus Hedwin Kadrianto
Dr Theodorus Hedwin Kadrianto is currently an Associate Executive Officer for ICMDA East Asia, Southeast Asia, and Oceania. He is a dentist specialising in oral medicine, and based in Surabaya, Indonesia. His areas of interest are dentistry for HIV, medical missions, politics and advocacy.


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