I am a doctor with a passion for missions. Both of my parents graduated from seminary, my father with his PhD. I did not feel led to follow in his pastoral footsteps, but rather I felt called to be a doctor. I have been in practice now for over twenty-eight years. I took my first medical mission trip in 1977, during the last half of my senior year of residency. My wife and I have continued to participate in such missions since that time, now participating in five or six such missions annually, mostly in Mexico.
God led us to begin a ministry called First Fruits Ministry about seven years ago as an extension of our medical practice. Originally, we thought that it would provide us with even more medical mission opportunities, but it has developed into a sending and mobilizing group particularly involved in getting people on the mission field for a “first time” experience as well as financially supporting those who feel God’s call to extended missions.
Proverbs 3:9-10 says, “Honor the Lord with your wealth, with the first fruits of all your produce, then your barns will be filled to overflowing and your vats will brim over with new wine.” This is how we approach the assignment that God has given us. We don’t simply tithe personally; we also tithe as a business. It’s amazing how successful our business has become since making the decision to give our ‘first fruits’ to God.
For a long time, I kept the First Fruits ministry rather quiet. I didn’t know if anyone else would understand what God was doing in our hearts. After a while, I realized that I could benefit from the prayers of friends and church family. Some understood, and some didn’t, but they were all generally supportive.
We continue to be excited about what God has in store for our group and how He will use us where we least expect it. Over the years He has made a difference in the ministry of hundreds of missionaries and allowed many, many others to be on the mission field for the first time through the First Fruits ministry. Nothing is more exciting than to hear the stories of those who have been on mission as a result of First Fruits.
I continue to go on mission myself. As an ophthalmologist, I serve as a surgeon in remote locations that need surgical expertise for eye problems. We handle over 300 cases annually on mission projects. For most people that we treat, we are their only hope for treatment. Many are blind from cataracts, seeing only light and dark for months, sometimes years prior to being operated on. To regain their sight overnight is, for them, a “miracle.” By giving them back their physical sight, we are able to introduce to them the concept of spiritual sight. On our last campaign in Comitan, Mexico, we did 85 major operations and saw over 40 people come to faith in Jesus Christ. We truly want everyone to have 20/20 vision naturally and spiritually.
Over the years, God has used my ability to treat health problems and used my ability to generate a considerable income for His glory, not mine. He has also given me the spiritual gift of evangelism, a gift that I am able to use often in my profession. I enjoy being used by God, and I am fully aware of the fact that He is only able to use me when I am seeking Him and leaning on Him. He is the source of my strength and the source of the success of the assignment that He has given me. My wife and I pray together each day, praying for those whom we are actively supporting as well as for those whom we may have supported in the past. As my personal growth in Christ develops, so does the ministry and its effectiveness. Anyone seeking God’s direction simply needs to seek more of Him. The direction will be there as a by-product of your developing that intimacy with the One who loves you beyond measure.