|Photo explanation below!|
Well, at first I didn't think I had any advice, but I thought it was important enough that I should try. So I started typing. As I went along, I found that I was sharing some of my strongest beliefs about missions. When it was all done I was a bit surprised at it. I thought maybe I should share it with a wider group of friends. I'll edit it a bit for you folks, but other than that, here's what I told him:
Dear _____ :
Thanks so much for your interest in our ministry here in Kudjip.
We need to start planning for you to come here... in your fourth year (or possibly late 3rd).... We should get you on our schedule as soon as possible, as some students plan 2 or more years in advance.
My main advice for you is to put your spiritual life first all the time. A medical missionary who is not in the center of God's will is useless, however well-meaning he might be. God's will first--if that is to be a missionary, don't even think about being anything else. If not, then don't even think about becoming a missionary. If God is calling you to be a missionary, then make up your mind now that that will be your life's work until such time as God clearly directs differently. Don't approach it as "I'll try this out, and if it doesn't work, I'll try something else." If God calls you to something else, don't feel like that is second-best. His will is always first-best!
I notice that you said "I am interested in going to the mission feild full-time at some point in my life time." Interest is a great thing! But I also noticed you said, "I can [here he listed a couple of other options] or go into missions." That make me think that at this time you don't have a clear call to missions. That's OK for now, but if that call does not come, scratch the "go into missions" off your list. Pray earnestly that God will make it clear. A rotation at a mission hospital can be a valuable thing. It can help you understand more about missions. Sometimes God uses an experience like that to make his will clear. But by itself it shouldn't be the determining factor in the decision--God's call should be!
I'll boldly barge on into one of the biggest implications of a divine call--romance and marriage. I don't know how many missionary careers have been scuttled by unwise choices in this area. If God is calling you to be a missionary, and calling you to be married, you don't have to be the one to work it out--God will lead you to the right woman. His will in one area of your life will never conflict with his will in any other part of your life. So if God is calling you to be a missionary, don't even consider going out with a girl who is not called to be a missionary. Sometimes you hear a story of a spouse who does not feel called to be a missionary, but is willing to be married to one, and says "where you go, I will go". Maybe that's OK in some cases, but I believe that it is not enough. When times get hard, if your wife is not convinced to the bottom of her heard that she is under divine mandate to be a missionary, things could fall apart. It happens all the time. The wife of our mentor couple told us, "there will be times that your call is all you have."* (This was a plural "your", as she was speaking to me and my wife.) If you and your wife don't share that conviction, either your missionary careers or your marriage or both could be in danger.
Well, I didn't realize that I had so much advice to share, and I rambled on longer than I intended to! Oh, well. I trust that it will help you on your journey.
If you are interested in some of the day-to-day events or our life, you might be interested in our blog at http://day-in-paradise.blogspot.com/. In the side-bar there is a blog roll of the blogs of several of the other missionaries here, including some of the docs.
Yours and His,
About the picture: All advice given to missionaries about their blog says to include lots of colorful photos, and if I don't put in a picture this will the the third pictureless post in a row, and that would be a bad thing, so here is a cute young mom and her cute little baby with a quizzical expression in it's cute little face.
* That statement was from Mima Hughes. She and her husband Ted were missionaries in several Latin American countries, as well as among Cuban refugees in Miami.