MedAdvance provides physician assistant with opportunity to fulfill calling

 Macie Craddock* said she always felt compelled to serve overseas in some capacity.

From an early age Craddock interacted with missionaries through Girls in Action (GA), a missions discipleship group of Woman’s Missionary Union, in the church her family attended. In college, she went on short-term trips overseas and then joined the Christian Medical Association on her campus while she was in PA school. After she graduated from PA school, Craddock worked in family practice in Prescott, Arizona, in urology in Tucson and then as a physician assistant at a family practice in Phoenix.

Craddock participated in short-term mission trips throughout the first 11 years of her career. She said she knew she wanted to serve overseas, but she did not have clarity on how or when. In 2016 she learned about an International Mission Board MedAdvance conference taking place in Richmond, Virginia.

IMB’s MedAdvance conference provides medical professionals, students and church leaders ways to connect with IMB missionaries and leaders for networking and ways to discover how God is at work through stories from healthcare missionaries around the world. The conference equips them with practical steps to serve God’s mission at home and overseas using their God-given talent, skills and experience in the healthcare field.

Because Craddock learned about MedAdvance two weeks before the conference, she assumed it would be impossible to get the time off to attend and the plane tickets necessary to fly from Arizona to Virginia.

God had other plans, she said. Craddock was able to take off work on short notice and redeemed credit card points to book a flight to the conference.

“I was constantly praying during the conference,” said Craddock. “I kept asking God, ‘Serving overseas has been a desire of mine for so long. Are you moving in this direction right now?’ It was at the conference that I received the clarity I needed to decide to apply for long-term service.”

After the conference, Craddock applied for a full-time position serving overseas with the IMB. Now, Craddock serves in Central Asia as physician assistant. She said it has been a challenge to not only learn a new culture in daily life but also learn how to practice medicine within that culture. However, Craddock said she knows that simply showing up to work and building relationships and trust with her patients makes all the difference in her healthcare work and in sharing the gospel.

“I think MedAdvance is important because it provides medical professionals with ways to not only serve overseas, but also join a network of believers you wouldn’t have the chance to meet otherwise,” said Craddock. “You might not feel called to serve overseas, but you could encourage or help someone who is overseas. You can have such an impact in whatever capacity you serve as a medical professional.”

Dr. Rebekah Naylor, Global Healthcare Strategies consultant for IMB, encouraged medical professionals like Craddock and students and leaders to consider attending MedAdvance 2021.

“The IMB’s annual healthcare missions conference, MedAdvance, allows healthcare professionals and students to meet workers from around the world, learn about what is happening in IMB healthcare, hear about opportunities to serve as volunteers or longer-term workers and get connected,” Naylor said.

“The 2021 MedAdvance conference will feature missionaries and IMB leaders, celebration of 175 years of IMB healthcare missions and new ways to interact during the conference. We urge healthcare professionals and students to join us for a great time together.”

Learn more about healthcare missions and register today for 2021 MedAdvance, August 5-7, at Southwestern Baptist Seminary in Fort Worth, Texas.

*name changed for security