Hussein traveled thousands of miles to attend the Global Missions Health Conference. An evangelist from Afghanistan, he believes medical missions can open doors for the Gospel.

“It is a very big blessing to be here and connect with others,” he said. “For Afghanistan, medical needs are huge. It can be used to reach more people.”

At the conference, Hussein met others working in Central Asia. New connections give hope and courage to move forward.

Amid all the challenges of COVID-19 around the world, more than 2,000 attended the GMHC, Nov. 11-13 at Southeast Christian Church’s Blankenbaker Campus. It is the largest medical missions conference in the world. Many who attend are medical students navigating a path into healthcare missions. Another 100 attended the conference online. Some 250 stayed in homes of Southeast members.

“It was such a blessing to be back together,” said GMHC Executive Director Will Rogers. “The excitement was infectious. We’ve all been waiting such a long time to connect, and it’s critical that we all understand that we are hardwired for community. Following the Lord may have challenges, but it’s clear that He calls us to be in community. The GMHC is a wonderful community that encourages and engages so many. What a joy to be back together!”

Features of the conference included research presentations, intensives on suturing, care of mothers and babies, ultrasound technology and cyber security.

Southeast Missions Ministry Leader Charlie Vittitow said hosting the GMHC for the last 26 years is a God-given gift.

“I never tire of watching hundreds of young people hear from the Lord and commit to serve the least of these, our brothers, for a lifetime,” he said.

A psychiatrist from northern India, whose identity must be protected, came to speak, learn and network.

“This is an amazing conference,” he said. “Meeting others with the same passion has been good as well as meeting others working in mental health.”

Jamie Saint, executive director of I-TEC (Indigenous Peoples Technology & Education Center) came from Ocala, Florida, to speak, network and talk with those who want to train and empower indigenous pastors and local church leaders to meet medical, dental and counseling needs in their own communities.

He spoke about doing missions in a Biblically correct way: Learning to listen, understanding the need from their point of view, following up and empowering them to do it somewhere else.

Pierre Kaldas, a sophomore at Calvin College in Michigan, grew up in Sudan, then moved to Egypt. He is finishing prerequisites for medical school.

“This conference broadened my scope on medical missions,” he said. “I saw a lot of exhibits and programs. It’s been exciting to hear stories from different places around the world.”

Caleb Premanandam, Southeast’s longtime Partner in India, said the GMHC “refreshes us on the vision and mission to which we are called.”

“This conference gives us energy that sustains what God has called us to do,” he said.

Dr. Eric McLaughlin works in Burundi, one of the poorest nations in the world. He taught several breakouts on how to carry on amid suffering in the world.

“Remember the promises of God,” he said. “Remember what they are and that the One who promises is faithful. It’s easy to feel that what you do is never enough. Do all you can, but remember you’re not the Savior. Something much deeper is going on in people than what we see.”

The conference closed with a plenary led by Dr. Jason, a surgeon in a closed, Muslim-majority country with 70 unreached people groups. He describes it as a good place that is not safe. Twenty-nine of the 70 unreached people groups have zero disciples.

“We see atrocities,” he said. “Lame men walking on their hands slipped into old flip-flops, mutilated girls, children who die before they turn 5, burials every day.”

He is passionate that Jesus be known in every remaining people group.

“These zero groups deserve our utmost attention,” he said. “We must look for these people—2,300 of them in Asia, Russia, Brazil, other parts of the world.”

As the conference closed, he urged people to surrender their skills at the feet of Jesus regardless of the cost, to give it all away for the sake of the Gospel.

Hundreds made their way to the stage to lay commitment cards on a map of the world.