Riverside's Stealth Missionary
Rev. John Skanse’s Missions Report 10/2/12
I just realized that as a Hospital Chaplain, endorsed by the North America Missions Board (NAMB) of the Southern Baptists, required to submit quarterly reports to said organization and required to be a member in good standing of a Southern Baptist Church, I am a missionary from Riverside Community Church and as such should be offering you a regular report of my ministry in a more narrative form.
Maybe I should call myself your “stealth missionary” as my calling from God to serve as a hospital chaplain has been recognized by the NAMB but I have not done much to let you know about it as my church. This is especially important because the encouragement I receive from people at church, as well as through the areas I minister in at the church, helps me face the emotionally draining effects of caring for people who are constantly in crisis at the hospital.
If you do not know, I am the Trauma/Emergency Staff Chaplain at Einstein Medical Center Philadelphia, a part of the Einstein Medical Network which the Chaplain’s department cares for, including another hospital in Elkins Park, Belmont behavioral health center, and the most recently opening Einstein Medical Center Montgomery.
I also serve as the liaison to all religious communities for the hospital and supervise the religious volunteers at the hospital.
Something new is that this past summer I was asked to teach a class at Philadelphia University in their Medical Masters Program on “The Psychological Aspects of Disaster”, which is a 12 week on line course that includes bringing everyone together from around the world for a one week, on campus experience. The exciting thing about this is that they wanted me to teach the class as a Chaplain and we had students from Israel, Uganda, Canada and as far away as Japan. One student from Uganda became a overt proclaimer of his faith when he saw the support I was giving to his expression of belief which encouraged others to speak up as well. This summer went well enough that they have me on the budget for next year already.
Yet, the Trauma/Emergency room is my greatest place of calling. I have had people tell me of their need for Christ and receive Him without me having to add anything new to what they were saying… I just supported what is true. I have had people ask for prayer and then taken over the prayer… asking Christ to come into their life. I have had the opportunity to be with people at their saddest hour and help them remember the hope they have in Christ that they had earlier spoken about.
I have had the privilege of seeing God work in the hearts of men and women at their most darkest hour through me and beyond me. Yet, the greatest work has been the opportunity to find and encourage Christian doctors, nurses, as well as others, as they work day in and day out to care for some of the most horrific effects of living in our sinful world. Yet, God’s love shines through no matter how dark the hour.
So, though you may have not thought of it before, please pray for your “stealth missionary”, that I may have even more over opportunities develop to speak about Christ and show His love.