MedAdvance Poised to Change Lives Through Healthcare

For those with a passion for healthcare and a calling to missions, the International Mission Board has avenues of service ready to fill.

Joshua and Jessica Cobb can recall how the trajectory of their ministry changed because of MedAdvance — a conference hosted by the IMB for believers interested in using healthcare strategies to open doors to a hurting world and gain access to unreached peoples and places in unique ways.

They knew they were going on mission with the IMB. On a vision trip to England, they felt the Lord pulling their hearts there. But as a trained psychiatrist (Joshua) and biblical counselor (Jessica), they weren’t sure how what they were trained to do and passionate about doing would fit in their greater calling to reach the nations.

The family had already run into numerous hurdles trying to get to the mission field. By the time they attended MedAdvance, they were discouraged. But as the week went on, they networked and asked questions.

They took advantage of opportunities to meet one-on-one with healthcare missionaries at mealtimes, and they plugged into breakout sessions where they learned how God is using healthcare strategies to reach the nations.

“Is there a need for us? Is there a use for us?” they asked.

“The overwhelming answer was, ‘Yes, absolutely. There’s a huge need, we see a huge opportunity, and we’re so interested in you,’ ” Joshua reported.

“Not only was it an incredible conference,” he continued, “but I came out more equipped, encouraged and just feeling so much closer to the Lord.”

Eventually, the Cobbs reconnected with the leaders in London at a time when the COVID-19 pandemic had brought mental healthcare into focus in Europe. They joined the team in London, providing help and encouragement through a church plant and a local organization.

The Cobbs officially serve as health strategy coaches for the IMB’s European affinities.

Another couple, Brennan and Isabel Andrews, knew they were going to the nations as medical missionaries. He’s a general surgeon, and she’s a physician assistant. They even knew where they felt called to work, a hospital in Togo. They did not know if they could serve that hospital through the lMB.

That all changed when they attended MedAdvance. They met with IMB leadership and missionaries and learned of the vast opportunities available through the IMB’s medical strategies.

“In the course of one MedAdvance, we kind of got everything figured out,” Brennan said. After that, they were set to fulfill their seminary requirements to go long-term with the IMB, and they headed off to language school.

For a couple of years, they served in Togo — Brennan at the hospital in Togo, and Isabel as a physician assistant. They’re now in Paris, doing more language studies after Isabel delivered their baby boy earlier this year. They’re eager to get back to Togo, focusing on extending the hospital’s reach into the unreached people groups who have little access to medical care or the gospel.

Discover how your gifting can fit into the IMB’s healthcare strategies by joining hundreds of healthcare professionals, students and church leaders at an upcoming MedAdvance conference.

— Myriah Snyder is senior writer for the International Mission Board.