“No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us.” - Romans 8:37
Praise God that He has made us more than conquerors! My name is Derek Chui. Fun fact: my relatives have the last name Tsui, but my dad changed it to Chui when he came to America, and I reap the benefits of being earlier in the alphabet. Small details like that don’t matter in the grand scheme of things, but I’m learning daily that God still cares about the smallest details of our lives. I am continually amazed at the grace of my Savior, and how he works all things for good.
Now for some other details. I grew up in the great state of Texas and have lived there all my life. I developed a passion for community resources early in life, and saw that grow as I witnessed brokenness in the school environment. I learned to love education, and it was here that God began to stir my affection for the marginalized. Long before I saw medicine as a career, God was teaching me that service to Him should be preeminent. Medicine came on the scene after a brief stint as an emergency medical technician in high school, where steadfast first responders took me in as their own and showed me what it meant to be serve others well. I soon began to realize that as a physician, I could see patients through care from beginning to end, and be both a social and medical resource in the pursuit of health through long term relationships.
I attended college close to home, and here God was gracious enough to help me make my faith my own, as I learned what it meant to be wrecked before Him. In this time, God began to put in my heart an awareness of a broken medical system and brokenness in me. The Spirit helps us in our weakness! He brought me through college and into medical school, where I had the opportunity to walk alongside accountable guys who showed me that present sufferings are nothing compared to coming glory. As third year of medical school approached, choosing family medicine was easy: it is the ultimate specialty for community resource management and full-spectrum care, so I began to look for programs that would allow me to dive into the community and learn to be a resource in all facets to patients. I heard about Rez through alumni at my medical school and a mutual friend at church, and spent a month rotating here in November. I was moved with joy to find Christian disciples that cared deeply about their neighborhoods, sought to invest in their community, and approached the throne of grace with humility as a part of their medical training. I saw passionate folks who poured into students, each other, and the city. I couldn’t imagine myself anywhere else: these were the mentors I needed and the spiritual discipline I was seeking! So far, Tennessee has been all sorts of different. The right kind of different, though, where you’re challenged to grow and learn dependence on God. If He is for us, who can be against us, right? This is such a special place, and I am so grateful and honored to be here in Memphis, serving alongside fellow heirs with Christ!
I’m happy to call Memphis my new home. My husband and I are LOVING it! The food is amazing, the culture is electric, and the people are incredibly genuine. We’re proud residents of Binghampton and I can’t imagine having better neighbors. I count it as a blessing that Christ has given me the opportunity to work at and be a part of Resurrection Health.
I believe that God has called us all to be His hands and feet; the physical manifestation of His love. For me, this command has ultimately led me into the medical field. While I enjoy practicing medicine, my true joy comes from interacting with my patients and getting to know each one as a person who is walking through the highs and lows of life. I look forward to relishing in my time here in Tennessee, however, I also long to serve internationally as a physician who can be used by God to grow His kingdom. Where that will be is yet to be revealed to me, but I know God has called me to the mission field and while I wait on His timing, I will rest in His command to “Be still and know that I am God (Psalm 46:10).”
Coming from an atheist/agnostic background, the first 18 years of my life were lived in pursuing my own pleasures and ambitions. It was in college when I came to know Christ and the trajectory of my life drastically changed. Given that I had come to Christ in a college setting where I was heavily involved with serving in the campus ministry, after completing college, I seriously considered the possibility of pursuing ministry. However, during the three years in between college and medical school, the Lord showed me that my motives in wanting to pursue ministry were primarily selfish and self-centered. I began to truly seek what the Lord desired for me to do after college, and it became clear over months of praying that I was to apply and enter into medical school.
I quickly found once I hit the clinical years that medicine was a field that encouraged and at many times, rewarded performance, knowledge, and ego. As a result, during my time in medical school, unrecognized by me, medicine crept into my heart and I made it into an idol. Moreover, there was another idol in my heart—one that was the result of growing up in a middle-class family in which I never lacked anything or had any physical need: the idol of comfort. As I began to look towards where the Lord was leading me after medical school, He exposed both of these idols in their ugliness. I came to realize that I was building my own kingdom rather than the Lord’s; seeking my own security rather than being willing to follow the Lord wherever He may lead me; and making medicine the ultimate thing, rather than having it be a tool that is to be taken up or placed down at the Lord’s command. All of this was being revealed to me when I was a student rotating at Rez, and it was at Rez where I was being challenged the most in these areas. Now, as a resident at Rez, I do not imagine for a bit that the struggles in these areas will be easy to resolve or overcome; however, several things I do seek: to be reminded to keep medicine in its proper place as a means to an end, and not an end in itself; to not let comfort get in the way of going where the Lord would have me go; and to be consistently challenged—by brothers and sisters with more faith than myself—to not seek my own kingdom, but the Lord’s Kingdom and righteousness first. “Now to Him who is able to do far more abundantly beyond all that we ask or think, according to the power that works within us, to Him be the glory in the church and in Christ Jesus to all generations forever and ever. Amen.” (Eph 3:20-21, NASB)
J.T. EPTING, MD
I grew up in a small town in South Carolina, where both sides of my family still live (I guess I’m the sojourner of the family). For most of my childhood I wanted to be a veterinarian, but the summer before I began college at Clemson University, something shifted in my heart toward taking care of people instead of animals. Through a series of humbling events, I found myself at a low point just after graduating from Clemson, and God began a renewal in my life that continues to this day. I attended medical school at the Medical University of South Carolina, and perhaps more importantly, God led me to Centerpoint Church, a church committed to living out the gospel in community. I experienced the power of community within the church that I had never felt before, and through this community of brothers and sisters in Christ, the Lord revealed depths of Himself that I had never dreamed of. As we all grew together, God began to direct my heart toward caring for people with all sorts of problems, especially for those who are marginalized or underserved, so I found myself wanting to pursue family medicine. Around this same time period, the Lord brought my wife and me together through the same community of believers (I’m afraid I’d fill up the whole website if I told the entire story here). Together we are able to serve in ways that neither of us could have ever done alone, and I will be forever grateful to God for the grace He showed me through Rebekah. When it became time to start searching for residencies to apply to, I was scrolling through a list of family medicine programs and stumbled upon Resurrection Health. The vision of Resurrection Health and what I felt the Lord calling me to do aligned: to use medicine and ministry together to the glory of God. Little did I know how intertwined my (and Rebekah’s) story was with those already at work in Memphis. We found connections with people here that we were never aware of, confirming our calling to this residency program and this city.
One last bit. As God grew my faith in medical school, He consistently challenged me with this verse and still does to this day: “Whoever finds his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life for my sake will find it” (Matthew 10:39 ESV). The life of a follower of Jesus is a paradox: the secret to abundant, rich, wonderful life, is actually to lose it, to give it up for His sake. I have found His words to be true. I am honored to be in a residency program where we all know this to be true, where we all learn together what it means to lay down our lives for the King who lavishes His grace and love upon us, who pierces the darkness with his marvelous light, and who stands victorious over sickness and death. To Him be glory and honor forever.
ASHLEY MEFFORD ILES, MD
Growing up in a mission-minded family, I remember being taught about social disparities from a very young age. When I entered the medical field, I knew that I wanted to use medicine to engage those issues. When I was ready to choose a specialty and residency, I was drawn toward Teaching Health Center programs where patients who do not have the benefit of private insurance can find good healthcare. I started residency in Memphis at a THC and then was privileged to join Cahaba Family Medicine Residency to help establish an urban track to an already-fantastic rural program. At Cahaba, we care for some of society's most marginalized patients and extend the love of Christ to the communities we serve. I have thoroughly enjoyed my time with Cahaba and feel fully prepared for independent practice.
MATTHEW ILES, DO
My name is Matthew Iles, but everyone usually just calls me Matt; my middle name is David. So you might say that I’ve got some big shoes to fill (or sandals?). Therefore, when I was looking for the right residency to form me into a worthy disciple of Christ as well as an heir to the Kingdom, my search landed me in Memphis. Let me tell you why: the greatest achievement in my life has been maintaining and growing deeper in my love and relationship with my Lord and Savior. And don’t you think for a minute it has anything to do with my abilities. It is purely by grace that I have been saved from my former self, so that I may make war on my sin daily, grow more joyful in knowing my savior and tell others about the life-changing/sustaining/giving love of God. Sure I love medicine (and cycling, running, frisbee, piano, reading, pontificating, cooking, wine etc.) but when I was preparing myself for the idea of being a medical missionary, I knew I needed to search for the kinds of disciples who could best prepare me to that end. Medicine is a beautiful field, but when life gets difficult and medicine is out of answers, the immediacy of one’s need for Christ and the cross comes into sharp focus. I knew from the moment I landed here that this program and this city is full of disciples willing to share their experiences and pour into young, eager physicians in order to prepare them to practice superb medicine anywhere in the world and do so as lights for Christ. God has big plans for this world and to reconcile his creation to himself. That’s happening on a daily basis around here and I’m humbled to be a part of it. I would tell you this place is the bees knees, but I’m allergic to them, so whatever your equivalent is, you’ll find it here.