November 9, 2021
“After the death of Moses the servant of the Lord, the Lord said to Joshua son of Nun, Moses’ aide: ‘Moses my servant is dead. Now then, you and all these people, get ready to cross the Jordan River into the land I am about to give to them—to the Israelites’” (Joshua 1:1-2, NIV).
Edvin and Bona Selmani are friends of mine, more like brother and sister. They are both physicians in Albania, and we have known them for many years. For more than 25 years I and many American Christian healthcare professionals have been committed to educational evangelism in Albania with a ministry called Albanian Health Fund (AHF), a close partner to CMDA’s Medical Education International. The Selmanis were very young when we started. They matured in their faith through their local churches and the Christian student ministry, where they were leaders. They spent months in my home, with Edvin sharpening his skills in orthopedic surgery and Bona in transfusion medicine. Edvin is now a highly respected orthopedic surgeon and faculty member of the Medical University in Tirana. This year Bona became the leader of MDKSH, Albania’s version of CMDA for physicians. This year Edvin has become the first Albanian to lead AHF as president.
Christianity is generational; I thank God my children and grandchildren follow the same Christ whom I love and follow. If there is nothing else of value that I leave behind when God calls me home, they will be enough.
Christian ministry is generational as well. Most of us are called into special tasks for God during our lives. When I returned from the Nigerian mission field, I heard God clearly call me to the awesome and difficult task of learning how to becoming a Christian doctor. God later gave me tasks of teaching in my church, the AHF mission, a time with CMDA in campus and community ministry and now the task of teaching fellows and caring for veterans with cancer. It’s the same for all of us, whatever God’s specific plan looks like. He calls some to do a lot, and all to “be like Christ” a lot. If we have not heard and followed God’s call (most often to become all He created us to be, right where we are), we are probably not listening well.
When God calls, there comes the glorious (and sometimes painful) task of serving. And then, with every call there comes a time when our part in the mission is completed; either the mission is completed, or we hand it off to another. When that time comes, the call to let go is just as purposeful as the call to accept the assignment. This completion of God’s call must be approached with deep reverence and a sincere searching for God’s will.
There are the dangers both in letting go too easily and holding on too tightly. We must never let fatigue, or danger, or self-indulgence allow us to drop God’s task too early. We must never let our pride allow us to hold on when God wishes to hand it off to another. His wisdom, for His purpose, is always better than ours—and thank God for that.
May God bless Edvin and Bona as He transfers the leadership of AHF to those who love more and understand better the country to which He called us Americans so many years ago.
Thank You for the blessing of allowing us to work with You and Your church in bringing glory to Christ. Thank You for the handoffs You choose for all of Your missions in this world.