Friday, February 24, 2017

Honoring two surgeons during black history month

A Gentle and Humble Leader

Dr. George H. Rawls-c. 2011

Well, another February is almost gone while I have been listening to radio and TV tributes to great American black leaders of the past. It got me thinking of my own past and the black men and women who have impacted my life, both in the US and Kenya.  One influencer in my life was Dr. George H. Rawls, a general surgeon who was on staff at Methodist Hospital of Indianapolis where I trained in general surgery from 1988 to 1993.  Dr. Rawls was a gentleman, through and through, whom I watched closely during my five year career as a surgery resident.  He was always respectful of other surgeon's opinions and was highly loved and revered by his patients.   Now retired, his past achievements included serving a term as the President of the Indiana State Medical Association and then as Assistant Dean at Indiana University School of Medicine.  He has written several books including "Papa, I wanna be a surgeon".  My favorite memory of Dr. Rawls was from a spring meeting of the Indiana chapter of the American College of Surgeons held at Hilton Head, SC.   I made a presentation on a resident research project that I had done and after the presentation Dr. Rawls came up to me and said "Mike, that was some good research and a great about you and I go and play a round of golf?"  So, though I was fairly economically challenged at the time, I got to play a round of golf at Hilton Head, courtesy of a gentle, black American surgeon named George.  Thank you Dr. Rawls for being a great role model in my life professionally and personally.  
Dr. George H. Rawls and Mike in 1993 at Hilton Head, Club Royale

A Missionary with Creativity and Vision

The second black surgeon is an old friend I met in 1988 when visiting Tenwek Hospital in Kenya as a senior medical student at IU.  Visiting Tenwek at the same time was Dr. Michael Johnson and his wife Kaye from Philadelphia.  Little did I know during my two month elective that both Mike and Kaye and Pam and I would be co-workers some day at Tenwek, serving in the surgery department as missionaries with World Gospel Mission.  That happened eight years later when Pam and I landed at Tenwek and found Michael and Kaye in their 6th year as career missionaries in Kenya.  Now over 20 years later, as I look back, I have realized that some really important programs and changes at Tenwek happened because Michael made them a priority.  That includes the medical officer internship program that has impacted over 120 young Kenyan doctors who have spent 12 months at Tenwek during their first year after medical school.  Michael made many trips to Nairobi with a medical student leader, humbly requesting the Ministry of Health to consider allowing mission hospitals to train these med school grads. Without question this program has had an incredible impact on many different mission hospitals, not just Tenwek over the years.  Michael taught me something very important about leadership,  shortly after I was asked to be the Medical Superintendent at Tenwek in 1997.  "Mike, as you interact and guide the national and missionary staff at Tenwek, don't forget that perception is 90% of reality."  That nugget has been a very important gem for me in leadership, remembering that what people think is true is VERY important, even if it isn't true.  Mike and his wife Kaye served for many years in Kenya at Tenwek Hospital, Kijabe Mission Hospital and then started the "Least of These" ministry in Nairobi, reaching out to street children.  A few years back they returned to the US and started an inner city ministry in Philadelphia, serving the poor and lonely and destitute in Jesus' name.  Mike and Kaye: thank you for serving the Lord Jesus so faithfully over decades with passion, vision, and creativity.  You are my heroes.
Dr. Michael and Kaye Johnson at WGM Celebration, June 2015

I'll close this blog with a verse from Isaiah 49:4 as a tribute to these black American servants: "Yet what is due me is in the Lord's hand and my reward is with my God."

Challenged and encouraged by these memories of my black American heroes,

Mike Chupp
CMDA Headquarters
Bristol, TN

Sunday, January 29, 2017

Transformed Doctors, Transforming the World!

Getting behind a great vision

"Transformed Doctors, transforming the world!"

     We are approaching the five month mark here in Bristol as of February 1st and wow, are we working with some great folks at CMDA headquarters!   53 staff serve in the Bristol facility, supporting over 40 distinct ministries of this 18,000+ member organization.  As of January 3rd, I (Mike) moved into Dr. Gene Rudd's office and officially took the mantle of the Executive VP of CMDA.  Gene has graciously moved into a different office and continues as my coach and mentor in providing training and encouragement in my new position of leadership. Gene was honored in early December by our VP for Communications, Margie Shealy (see pic below) with the Kindness award, given each month to the CMDA staff who shows Christ-like kind behavior to our other staff in a remarkable way.  Gene's daily life is filled with examples of acts of service and kindness to all of us who serve with him.  He is an incredible role model and challenge to me!
Dr. Gene Rudd (my coach) receives the December "Kindness award" from VP for Communications, Margie Shealy

The last 10 days were very busy and important for the governance of CMDA as the annual winter Board of Trustees meeting took place in St. Petersburg, FL on January 20th/21st. During the two days of meetings, we heard some encouraging statements made by Board members:
"CMDA is about raising the flag of Jesus Christ first and foremost, not our own flag."
"CMDA is looking for the key result of instilling righteousness in medical students and residents across the United States."
"We are about discipleship in this organization.  Any key measurement that indicates that we are doing this better should be of great importance to all of us."

     Stories of transformation....they abound at CMDA.   Medical students and residents making commitments to serve Christ in their careers.   The estimate is that approximately 30,000 health care professionals and their spouses/families are touched regularly by this ministry and then get involved in touching a lost and dying world through compassionate care in Jesus' name through the various CMDA outreach ministries like Global Health Outreach teams,  Medical Education International teaching teams, domestic inner city clinics for the poor and uninsured, and many others.  And the organization's reach continues to increase.  Already national groups of Christian Physician Assistants and Christian Pharmacists have come under the CMDA umbrella and tomorrow a delegation of Nurse Practitioners are visiting with Dave Stevens and myself to explore a collaborative effort of our two organizations.  Please pray with us as we consider this joining of efforts with US NP's.

I wasn't the only newbie to join this 85 year old organization last year.  Also joining the Class of 2016 was a new VP for Campus and Community ministries, Rev. Bill Reichart, formerly the Atlanta area CMDA director.  Bill and I have become prayer partners at HQ for 2017 and we both have young adult daughters to pray over together. Bill has already been of great encouragement to me as well as a seasoned trainer on fully utilizing social media to get out our important messages from CMDA. (He formerly worked for CRU with university students) The CMDA Board was thrilled over the new strategic plan Bill has generated to grow the campus and community ministries across the USA on medical and dental campuses and in dozens of communities across the country, under our four Regional Directors.  The other leader new to the team is Mr. Scott Rimell, new VP for Digital Media and Marketing.  Scott came from Precept Ministries and prior to that had worked for medical publishing giant, Elsevier.  I joked in CMDA chapel the other day that the three new VP's would start a Christian singing group called the "Newboys"!

Praising God for generous friends and answered prayers

In our Christmas Chuppdate we asked you to pray with us and consider helping us erase our first ministry financial deficit in our ministry career, associated with the move to CMDA from WGM.  We are so grateful to Jehovah Jireh that He remained faithful to His character of "meeting all our needs according to His glorious riches in Christ Jesus" (Phil 4:19).   We had set a goal of year end donations of $25,000 for December to help erase our deficit and we saw God's people give $24,698, just $302 shy of our hoped for goal.  As a result we are now slightly ahead of our monthly goal for support and entering 2017 encouraged by the generosity of so many who have trusted us to be following God's leading in our lives in this move to a Stateside ministry of raising up the next generation of Jesus' followers in medicine and dentistry. If any of you did not receive our hard copy Chuppdate in December, please drop us a short note at with your mailing address and we will add you to our list for the next Chuppdate. 
Dr. David Stevens showing Mike the TV interview "ropes"

Family Update

December was a rather remarkable month for our family as just 5 days after moving into a new home here in Bristol, Pam slipped and fell and broke her left (dominant) wrist.   This required an anesthetic in the Bristol Regional Medical Center for reduction and pinning by our new friend and CMDA Board member, Dr. Lisle Whitman.  For my very independent and self-sufficient wife and friend, being out of commission for the holidays was a bit of a bummer.  Christmas in a cast....these memories will be with us for some time!  She and we survived the ordeal and she is now minus the pins and cast and well on her way to getting normal function back again in her left wrist.  All three of our daughters are now together here in our home in Bristol with Kayla (senior) and Ashley (freshman) attending Tennessee on-line school and Melody having moved up from Spartanburg, SC with plans to transfer this year to ETSU in Johnson City, TN, continuing her exercise science major.  Our son Steven continues to live outside of Indy and is working nearly full time at O'Charley's restaurant, not far from his girlfriend's family in Greenfield, IN.  
Our family the week after Christmas with amazing mild temps!

Prayer with Praise

We celebrate an incredible year in 2016 with successful transition to ministry with CMDA in August and now I have fully moved into the role that Dr. Stevens invited me to consider in May 2015.  The CMDA staff are great encouragers who are passionate about being part of a ministry to Christian healthcare providers positioned all over the world.  We thank the Father for a successful winter Board meeting last weekend in St. Petersburg and then a very fun opportunity to talk about medical missions this week (Tuesday) at Quillen Medical School in Johnson City, TN, with the 20+ students in the CMDA student chapter there. They listened and thanked us repeatedly afterward for giving them a fresh perspective from the field on what it looks like to serve Jesus Christ as a cross-cultural health care missionary. Many of the students are very interested in serving in mission overseas in coming years.

Please pray with us over the following opportunities to serve:
1. Mike travels to southeast Asia on Feb 9th for about 10 days to represent CMDA at the biannual CMDE event for missionary continuing medical and dental education.  He has two talks he is preparing for leaders and missionary managers on "Leadership from the Second Cultural Chair" and "Burnout Prevention and Management for Team Leaders".  
2. This is the time of year for budget preparation at CMDA.  Our experienced auditors report that the organization is either the most or second-most complicated not for profit they work for in America.  Please pray for patience for Gene Rudd as he trains Mike and for Mike to be a quick financial study!
3. Just finished course #6 (Strategic Planning) of 14 total toward an MBA at Crown University.  With many travels in the next two months have decided to delay my next class til May.  I still have a ways to go but have received many encouragements from friends, Dave and Gene, and CMDA Board members that this is "the right thing to do at the right time."
4. Meetings this week with Christian nurse practitioners reps, leaders at Samaritan's Purse in Boone, NC, and leadership of Project MedSend here in Bristol about future projects and priorities.

Thanks so much for standing with us! We covet your prayers dear friends!

Fanning the flame until He comes to get us,

Mike for Pam, Melody, Kayla, and Ashley.

Tuesday, November 1, 2016!

Wearing the new hat...on the road.

October has been a very exciting month for us as we had some golden opportunities to meet with groups of medical students, residents, and doctors/dentists in both Orlando, FL and Greenville, SC.  We survived hurricane Matthew and its 70-80 mph winds but we experienced our first ever curfew in the land of the free on Friday, Oct 7th, due to the dangerous conditions.  Two of the three meetings that we had scheduled were cancelled on that day, but we were so glad that Saturday was a beautiful day and over 60 people came out of their shelters to attend the fall CMDA banquet that evening.  Medical students came from as far as Tampa to hear me speak, which was quite encouraging!  A little over a week later I traveled to Greenville, SC to share with both students and the graduate chapter of CMDA in the Upstate area.  This student group is BIG with nearly 50 out of the 200 first and second year medical students attending weekly Bible studies in this state run medical school. The graduate group and students held their fall banquet on Oct 17th and I was their guest speaker.  It was such a blessing to be a part of motivating, educating, and equipping Christian healthcare professionals to focus on glorifying God in a career in medicine or dentistry or other healthcare related practice (this is the heart of the CMDA mission statement). The President of the student group emailed me after I had shared:
"Dr. Chupp,  we are so grateful for the time that we were able to spend with you yesterday and for the words you shared with us.  It was refreshing and rejuvenating for my faith to remember who we are ultimately serving and the ultimate purpose of medical school.  I am grateful for your prayers, and I hope that our testimony is clear not only to the classmate we told you about but also to many others.....Your words are incredible encouragement in a time when it often feels that I am not serving the Lord much in what I am doing.  In Christ alone,  Ben"

The top two pics below were taken from Greenville banquet and the medical school lunch presentation.  The third pic is Pam and I sharing a duet at the Orlando banquet.

Media training at CMDA National HQ

Dr. Stevens doing mock interview with Mike on "Rights of Conscience" for US healthcare professionals
Twice a year CMDA puts on the "Voice of Christian Doctors Media Training" here in Bristol.  This training has prepared hundreds of Christian doctors and dentists over many years to go before journalists in TV or radio interviews and be better prepared to articulate their views and represent our Lord Jesus well.  Some of you will remember Dr. Kent Brantley, who survived Ebola in 2014,...he went through this training immediately after his recovery from Ebola and it made a difference in his presentations for his nationally televised interviews and presentations.  The training was intense but practical and several of the trainees told me "Hey, you've got a good radio voice, Mike!"  (Maybe they were telling me I should avoid television????)  Dr. David Stevens has done hundreds of these interviews on CNN, Fox News, NPR, etc and is quite gifted in this role.  Dr. Stevens promised the 12 of us attending the training that we would be a whole lot better at the end of the two days than were we started the weekend.   I believe the dozen of us docs and dentists saw his prophecy/promise come true!  I would greatly appreciate your prayers that in God's timing, the right opportunities to go before the Christian and secular media will come AND that I will be willing to step out in faith, depending upon the Holy Spirit to guide my words and presentation.  
Trainers and trainees in the fall 2016 "Voice of Christian doctors" media training weekend

Medical Missions conference next week

Every November over 3,000 health care professionals and mission organizations flock to Southeast Christian Church in Louisville, KY for the annual Global Missions Health Conference.  In the past, we have had an exhibit booth for both Tenwek Hospital and World Gospel Mission to share with attendees what God is doing in and through medical ministries in Kenya.  Now, we will be attending the three day conference along with a large group of CMDA staff from Bristol and I have been asked to work with Susan Carter at the Center for Medical Missions booth, in the heart of the CMDA exhibit.  Will be an incredible opportunity to share with hundreds of conference goers who are thinking and praying about their response to the Great Commission and to the challenges that dozens of speakers will be giving at the conference.  Speaking of speakers, I'll be giving my first talk at the conference on "Staying Mission True in Changing Times".  This is a topic that has been on my heart and mind for my entire missionary career as I have heard of and seen many a mission hospital become lukewarm in its gospel witness b/c of a drift or shift from its founding vision.  Please join us in prayer that God will call out hundreds of harvest workers during this VERY important call to serve conference from Nov 10th to 12th.

Sharing in devotions here at CMDA on Tuesday as well, right before GMHC.  Will be sharing a message "Do you believe in miracles?"   Since the signature book about Tenwek Hospital and Dr. Steury's life was entitled "Miracle at Tenwek", you know that I DO!    The water tower at Tenwek proclaims the simple but powerful message "We treat - Jesus heals"!  It's a great battle cry!
Fanning the flames until He comes to get us and take us home,

Dr. Mike and Pam Chupp
Serving with the Christian Medical and Dental Associations
cell:  423-366-6005
Box 7500
Bristol, TN. 37621