Visiting Family and Colleagues in March.

This past week, Susan and I packed up and left early on a sunny Tuesday morning and headed west and south past Buffalo, Erie, Cleveland, Columbus, and then the last 100 miles to Cincinnati for an overdue visit to our son Nate, along with Kari and their growing kids, Coral and Jasper. Nate and Jasper had the week off from their school duties, and I had been invited to present a workshop at the annual Christian Community Health Fellowship (CCHF) National Conference in town. We arrived at Nate’s place for a late supper and then spent all day and evening on Wednesday visiting some of his friends, neighborhood, and workplace and celebrating our lives (and my 81st birthday!) together with him and the kids.

On Thursday morning we ventured across the Ohio River, arriving at Covington, KY, early to register at the Conference and pick back up on long-term relationships there. Steve Noblett, CCHF’s long-time CEO, had arranged to interview me that morning as one of the organization’s OGs (which can be interpreted as either “Old” or “Original” Guys) in pioneering in the CCHF movement of establishing Christ-centered health centers for the underserved. When Susan and I, with help from many others in the Rochester community, opened the office that became His Branches in 1978 the number of centers actively and intentionally integrating faith with full-service clinical care had dwindled to a handful: now there are over 300 nationwide, and the number is growing. That afternoon I presented on the Conference theme: “Thirsting: Cultivating Desperation” (see below), spent time catching up with friends and colleagues, and then Susan and I joined up with Kari and the kids for dinner and the evening together. After a good night’s sleep back at the Conference Marriott, we drove back to Rochester in time for a late dinner and early bedtime at home. Since then we’ve been resting up and processing our whirlwind activities and relationships as we pick back up on our lives in Rochester.

What about the Conference?

Every year hundreds of health care practitioners and students from all over the United States (this year about 800) gather at the CCHF Conference to share knowledge, skills, and experiences, and spend time worshipping and seeking God together. If you’re a person who is serious about participating in domestic medical missions, these conferences are a must. My Workshop topic for the 2024 CCHF Conference addressed the Conference theme head-on: “Thirsting for God: How, Why, and Where Do We Thirst?” My presentation is posted here as a PowerPoint, a recorded Video, and a companion Handout for taking notes at the following links: Thirsting for God PowerPoint (PPTX), Thirsting for God Video (YouTube), plus Thirsting for God Handout.

Note: The picture at the top is a view of the Roebling Bridge across the Ohio River from Covington, KY to Cincinnati, OH taken in the evening from our vantage point at the Conference Center. This bridge officially opened to traffic on January 1, 1867, at which time its 1,075 foot span made it the longest bridge in the world. The Roebling family became even more famous when they built the Brooklyn Bridge, which then held the distinction of being the longest suspension bridge in the world when it opened with a main span of 1,595.5 feet and a deck 127 feet above mean high water. You might enjoy reading about these pioneer bridge builders in David McCullough’s well-known book “The Great Bridge“.