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Formerly Today's Christian Doctor

My Transformation Story – featuring Dr. David and Carol McFarland

We could give you a list a mile long with statistics about the work we do around the world. But those numbers don’t really show the amazing things God is doing through us as we seek to be "Transformed Doctors, Transforming the World."

By Dr. David and Carol McFarland

We could give you a list a mile long with statistics about the work we do around the world. But those numbers don’t really show the amazing things God is doing through us as we seek to be “Transformed Doctors, Transforming the World.” So instead of numbers, we’re sharing these stories—personal stories of CMDA members around the world whose lives are being transformed through the ministries of CMDA and who are following God’s call to go across the street and around the world to transform others. 

We are both avid cyclists which allows us the opportunity to be involved in the lives of many who are outside the church. Carol sticks to the road, while I bike most every day by road biking during the week and mountain biking on Saturdays.

I did my undergraduate training in history at Stanford University, and then I obtained my MD from University of Washington. I took a year out of medical school to attend seminary at Regent College in Vancouver, Washington. My residency was at Providence Hospital in Seattle, and I also completed a fellowship at Duke University.

I first became involved with CMDA as a student while attending meetings at the home of one of the local physicians. I have been a member for years and have gone on mission trips with CMDA for the last six years. My wife and I have hosted medical students for monthly dinners for the last couple of years. We have attended each of the mission trips as a couple, and Carol helps maintain contact with the medical students and spouses we have gotten to know through the trips.

Besides our involvement with CMDA, we try to maintain an active ministry life through our local church where I teach and through Carol’s ministries at Seattle Pacific University. I also attend a midweek dinner reaching out to visiting scholars to the United States, where we have a chance to discuss the gospel with future leaders from other countries who are here studying for a year or two.

I went into medicine as a means to serve people with the hope of sharing the gospel. My faith has always been important to me, so it influenced the speciality I chose and has guided my time commitments. As physicians, I believe we are called to do more than just medicine and that ministering to the spiritual lives of individuals is important.

My wife and I have gone on mission trips to Central America for the last six years. We have taken two of our daughters on these trips, as well as nursing students from Carol’s school and now a medical student from the University of Washington. The trips have been challenging and life changing. Our first two years we worked in Nicaragua at a clinic serving women who were or had been trapped in sex trafficking.

The last four years we have worked with the Oasis Church in El Salvador. We serve in communities the church there chooses, which are places Oasis is establishing satellite churches.

Our translators are high school students from the Oasis Christian School. The students are outstanding servants of Christ and many are very adept at sharing the gospel with the patients we serve. One of the highlights of this trip is the relationships we have established both with the local church and students. This provides a unique opportunity to share the gospel, to teach nursing and medical students and to encourage and challenge the local high school students we work alongside.

CMDA has impacted me in multiple ways. I have benefited from its training in evangelism such as through the Saline Solution and have learned from the various conferences we have attended with CMDA. I appreciate the stances CMDA takes on various social and national issues and the voice it provides for Christian healthcare professionals. I listen to the monthly podcasts and have been challenged by many of the speakers in considering various changes I need to make personally and in my practice. Without CMDA, we would not be able to participate in the type of mission trips we have been privileged to serve on.

CMDA vision of “Transformed Doctors, Transforming the World” encapsulates what I believe the Scriptures call us to do. God left us here on earth to serve Him and to serve others, but we can only really meet the needs of others if we are looking to engage their spiritual needs. To be a transformed doctor means that I must spend time daily with God and allow him to set my priorities and to be involved in a community of like-minded individuals, such as through CMDA.

I believe all Christian healthcare professionals should be supporting CMDA through prayer and their finances. CMDA provides a wealth of options that are available only because of those who support it.

Ministry involvement is like exercise: it will not occur unless you prioritize it in your schedule. We will always have competing demands for our time, especially from work. Just as Jesus worked hard not to let others dictate His schedule and priorities, I believe as Christian healthcare professionals we must do the same and use healthcare as a platform for service and not an end to itself.

This Feature Story Appears in:

Summer 2017 Edition of Today’s Christian Doctor