Gina Carlson*
Specialty: Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation
Location: Central Asia
*Name withheld for securtiy reasons
Call to Missions

As I was finishing my residency, a dear friend asked me to go with her to Uganda, and be another set of praying eyes and ears as she and her husband considered moving their family overseas for long-term missions. I was honored to be asked, and went quite naively, thinking this trip would be primarily "for" my friend. Little did I know, the Lord would call me very clearly during that time. While there was not a specific moment or audible voice, every single day this question arose in my mind: “Why wouldn’t I do this?” That question was followed by, “To whom much has been given, much will be required” (Luke 12:48). As I returned to the States, I began talking with my local pastor and small group. They all prayerfully walked alongside me as the Lord continued to direct my steps. They also sensed His calling growing more clearly.

As someone drawn to education, I took a job at Indiana University School of Medicine, which allowed me to move in with my parents after residency and start paying down loans. When I hired on, I told my department chair that I was looking for overseas opportunities, and would likely move in the next few years.  At that time, I was hoping and praying to go to a hospital in a closed country in Asia . I was compelled by the unreached reality of the country, and had a seemingly open door to practice my specialty there. However, visa difficulties prevented me from going. Another doctor from my local church was considering [the country I'm in now]--so, given its unreached reality as well, I went with her on a vision trip. Even before arriving, I sensed that it was where the Lord would have me work.

I continue to have ups and downs, and some days I honestly want to quit. But He is faithful, and He continues to reassure me every day that this is where He wants me to be. I don't know how long He will have me here, but can clearly envision the next several years here. I remain compelled to live and work in an unreached area. And I am deeply grateful that His power is made perfect in my weakness. That is the only way true impact will happen.

Healthcare Mission Work

I work in the country's only comprehensive rehab hospital for individuals with spinal cord injuries and stroke. As a physical medicine and rehabilitation specialist, I have the true privilege of working within my specialty to provide care for patients and also train locals. I also work alongside the only national PM&R physician in the country. Since beginning here in 2015, I’ve had the opportunity to train more than 15 medical officers and countless nurses and therapists. I also host medical students and residents from the US who are interested in global health. Our hospital serves patients from all over the country.

In addition to my hospital-based job, I support a small rural clinic in the mountains. This clinic is run by a local Christian NGO with a passion to reach their own people group and surrounding people groups in this predominately unreached region. I provide administrative support (grant-writing, project planning) throughout the year and visit the clinic (a multi-day trek through the mountains) to provide training to local staff every October.

As a member of a local church, I have the joy of leading a small group for professional women focused on faith in the workplace and learning to study God's word for ourselves. I also serve my team by providing medical counsel and serving on our leadership team.

Anticipated Impact
  1. Young believers will learn how to study the Word of God for themselves and how to teach others to do the same.
  2. Many people who have never heard of Jesus will hear about Him from me in the context of a positive, healthy, transparent friendship; some will hear the gospel and respond to become His children.
  3. Local healthcare workers will become better at what they do as we all learn grow together as medical professionals.