Sam McDowell*
Physical Therapist
Specialty: Physical Medicine and Rehab
Location: Asia
*Name withheld for security reasons
Call to Missions

My heart to be a missionary came soon after becoming a Christian. I went on a mission trip to New Orleans during my spring break my Junior year. The purpose of the trip was to partner with a local ministry to help rebuild communities that were still devastated by Hurricane Katrina. It was very clear to me how this ministry conveyed the gospel in a tangible and unique way, and I knew I wanted to participate in this work.

I met my future wife on this trip, and we even talked about overseas missions. She told me that she had just become a Christian and she felt a distinct call to go overseas. I would have never guessed where the Lord would lead us individually and then together.

As this call grew in my heart, I read about the men and women who had led the way. I wanted to follow Jim Elliot into the Ecuadorian jungle, sail with John Patton to the island of Aniwa, and share Jesus with my dying breath like David Brainerd. Not for my glory, or namesake, but to serve the God Whom they also believed in.

I feel that I am surrounded by a great cloud of witnesses and have learned from these early and late disciples, that my true joy will be found in the shedding of the things of this world.

My heart breaks for the unreached in the world and the Lord has placed the Muslim world on my heart. They know a “god” who is transactional and void of love. Oh the joy that they would have when seeing that Jesus, the only true God, loves them. This is why we must go. We pray that those we encounter would see His goodness.

I go because Jesus calls us to go. I also go with the sense that only God’s call back home will bring me back to America. My desire is to serve overseas for at least ten years but most likely beyond that. My family has a goal in mind and a heart to serve without an end date in mind. We go with the intention to make this our new home until the Lord directs us elsewhere.

Healthcare Mission Work

My anticipated work will be with an established clinic that is connected with a local church. The team that is currently in the area serves alongside a church that is primarily geared towards reaching refugees, connecting them to a local church, encouraging the start of new  Syrian-led churches and the discipleship of families.

The team is involved in church planting and discipleship and is looking for others to come alongside them as church planters and serve the community through an array of different avenues.

My access and compassion ministry that stems from church planting would be to utilize my skills to provide treatment to those in need.

The present-day Syrian refugee crisis is ongoing and my hope is to provide services in other avenues as well if the opportunity is available.

There is an insurmountable number of Syrian refugees who are living in poor conditions, who have no access to medical care and have not even heard of the name of Jesus. These are the unreached people we hope to reach with the gospel.

My goal would be to grow the clinic that is currently in place and to work in conjunction with the church and aid those whom the church is serving in other ways.

Since the clinic is partnered with the church, evangelism will be an integral part of the function of the clinic. We will rely on the Holy Spirit to help us identify people who are ready for discipleship.

Anticipated Impact

The three primary outcomes that we expect to see are a growing medical outreach to Syrian Refugees, a continued church-planting movement throughout the Syrian community, and for my children to experience missions and see the gospel transform the world around them.

With medical missions in mind, we desire to see growth in this ministry. We desire to serve and love those who have not been loved well due to their medical issues. My vision is to see more come alongside us and continue this ministry. We want growth and a continued push for quality healthcare to become more accessible to the Syrian community through these efforts. We want patients to know their worth and value regardless of their life circumstances.

As church planters, we anticipate the growth of the church, specifically churches within Syrian communities with the hope of the gospel being taken back to Syria. To see Syrians come to know Christ will be the joy of our ministry, and we anticipate the ability to use our skills to be a catalyst for this movement. We desire to see the unreached meet Jesus and will hope to see that occur inside the church, in the marketplace, and inside our clinic.

Lastly, I desire for my sons to know the living God. I pray they would see their parents give their lives in service to the church and love the Syrian people. I pray they would sit with me in the clinic and see true brokenness, but to then see the gospel presented and giving hope. I desire to see my sons become men who will carry the flag of the gospel deeper into the unreached world through whatever means necessary.

I plan to use my medical skills to enter into the Syrian refugee’s worldview, and I want them to grow in skills and abilities that give them a purpose to be around an unreached people group.