When you take a look at all that is going on in the world, you see there are people who need our help. There are opportunities to use our God-given gifts and the skills we have built. You see ways to make a difference and share about Jesus. Still, if you have never been on a medical missions trip, you may wonder why we go. We would like to share with you four reasons why we go on medical missions trips. These are only four reasons–we believe you can think of many more!
4. We Make A Difference When We Go On Medical Missions Trips
People receive access to much-needed medical care, and they know that they are remembered. Health and courage are bolstered. They get to experience Christ’s love through us! When we speak with wisdom, give with love, and work with hope, what we are sharing is received and processed into something bigger than we may realize. God can move through it in a powerful way. When we go on medical missions trips, we make a difference that reverberates eternally.
3. Not Everyone Has the Same Access to Medical Care
We believe that everyone deserves access to high-quality medical care and the gospel. Mission Partners for Christ provides medication, treatment, screenings, and health education in underserved communities around the world. When we go on medical missions trips, we not only bring hope and treatment for medical issues. We also may be part of an answer to someone’s prayer. Our volunteer medical teams partner with local Christian organizations to provide free preventative care and treatment to their community members. By building on existing relationships, it is our goal to deepen those relationships and create additional ministry opportunities for our partner organizations.
2. Other People Are Inspired to Go On Medical Missions Trips
If you went to church when you were little, then you may have wondered why. As you grew to ask questions or understand what your family or teachers told you, you likely looked at what was being modeled. You saw people going to church, praying, worshiping, singing, shaking hands, listening to the pastor, etc. You saw that it was good. If you never saw this, you might not think it was normal to go to church or *gulp* pray, worship, sing and listen to praise songs, shake hands with people who joined the room with you, listen to a speaker… When other people see or hear about medical missions trips, they get to see love in action, and that there are different ways to use their skills in health care or serving.
There are many unreached nations or regions of the world that hear about Jesus for the first time. He loves people and cares about everything that concerns or pertains to their lives. For us, it’s part of loving our neighbor as we love ourselves. It honors people and lets the glory of God be seen.
Prayer is the language that we use to communicate with God.
It’s also the language that we use to communicate our love for those around us, and indeed all of creation. Have you ever gone to a loved one, grief weighing on your heart over something and had them respond by praying over you (or a heartfelt promise to remember you in prayer)? That kind of love is powerful. It’s also an integral part of missions, serving as an essential foundation for the success and impact of the work that we do. Missionaries recognize that our work is not merely a human endeavor but something that God calls us to and, through prayer, we seek spiritual strength, discernment, and direction. Maintaining an active prayer life helps us to nurture a deep sense of humility, ever cognizant that we rely on our Heavenly Father for everything we do in service to Him.
God’s wisdom is sought long before trips are set up with our partners, before we announce them on our website, and certainly before any applications are even received. After our team members have been approved, we make it a priority to connect with everyone on a zoom call before we ever meet in person so that we can get to know one another, develop relationships, and begin to pray together.
Often, in the course of planning one of our medical mission trips, problems seem to arise. We wrote about that happening during our February 2023 trip to Guinea.
First, we had an issue with housing. There would be no hotel for our team to stay close to the community we would be serving. So our team took it to the Lord in prayer, and God came through for us in a bigger way than we could have ever imagined:
“The team prayed and within one week I was notified that a man who owned a water company had a newly built home where he never stayed. It was available for us. It had 3 large bedrooms, 3 bathrooms with running water, electric and area for our team to relax, eat meals, worship, pray and read the Bible together. This was a modern home in the middle of nowhere!” – Sheri Postma
Another issue arose when we were informed that our partner in Guinea, Mission Aviation Fellowship, had not been approved to fly inside of Guinea, and it didn’t look good for them to receive that permission before our trip. Once again, our team got down on our knees in prayer and asked God for a miracle. The Lord did not disappoint.
“On February 3 (one day before our trip), the MAF Country Director had a meeting with the Customs Director to ask for temporary flight permissions for February. MAF Guinea referred me to another airline company that mostly did flights for miners. The cost was $4995 USD for one plane each way and it could not hold our entire team. Hundreds of people started praying!
Finally, we saw our prayers answered and MAF received the temporary permission. We were the 1st passengers flying with MAF Guinea.” – Sheri Postma
Last we heard, 95% of the patients we treated in Guinea were feeling better. Praise God!
This past July, in Burundi, our team was constantly going to the Lord in prayer about all kinds of things: prayer for those who would be hearing the gospel to have hearts that are open, prayer for unity within our team, prayer for healing for our patients, and so much more. The way that God showed up again and again was astounding and re-affirmed our faith that we serve a God who holds the universe in His hands and who loves each and every one of us.
One example of how we turned to prayer during a hard moment in Burundi was right at the very beginning. We entered the country and immediately all of our medical equipment, medication, and other things that we had brought to give to patients were being held in customs by Burundian officials. Due to strict regulations, they needed close inspection. This meant that we were unable to leave the airport with our things. It felt like a helpless moment, but Sheri knew that God is the God of the impossible and immediately prayed, “God, You’re going to have to work this out for us!” A few days later, some of the supplies were released to our team, but not everything. However, between medication that had previously been shipped ahead of our arrival and supplies by the Burundian medical professionals who were volunteering with us, we never needed the missing supplies. Much like the story of Jesus and the multiplying of the loaves and fish, we had enough to meet every need.
Another example was later in our Burundi stay, when crowds of people who were desperate for medical care & education began to grow out of control outside of our clinic. Many people started pushing to get to the care providers, leading us to make the difficult decision of closing the clinic for the safety of everyone present. We were devastated to have to close the clinic so early. But God was still in control.
After the clinic closed, our team took some time to debrief and gather ourselves, and suddenly a young evangelist, named Prince, who was volunteering alongside of our team told Sheri to go and pray over the crowd of 150 still gathered by the clinic. Wasting no time, she did just that. Incredibly, this lead to an opportunity for Prince to stand up and begin sharing the gospel!
This led to an incredible moment that our team will never forget: we all began to pray with and over the crowd. A few of our team members, who were so shy they had never prayed out loud before, jumped in and prayed without abandon as the Holy Spirit began to move. We layed hands on the sick and prayed for healing. We may never hear how God continued to move in the lives of those people we were so blessed to be able to pray for, but we know a seed was planted that day and God will be faithful to see it grow to fruition!
Island In the Indian Ocean
We cannot tell you which country we visited in the Indian Ocean in 2019 because it is a nation that is very closed to the gospel. However, we were granted permission to enter the country so that we could bring our gift of free medical care and health education. During this time, we secretly shared the Gospel. One of our translators observed our team members during the outreach, and there was an opportunity to for us to share the gospel with him as well.
This particular man came from a very influential family in the area. His father and grandfather are both Imans (spiritual leaders within the Muslim community). After hearing the gospel, this man gave his life to Christ.
We stayed in touch with him and prayed for him, and when we returned in July 2022 we saw how his life is flourishing. He is now married with 2 kids. His wife is a believer. He has a good job, transportation and a very nice home with running water (these things are very unusual for an inhabitant in this country).
In the year since our last trip, there are now 25 believers (which is incredible for this closed country). They are meeting secretly every week for Bible study and church for fellwoship and discipleship.
Even better? The government of this country is asking when our team will return. We praise God for growth in this closed nation and for the open doors He has given us to share His love.
In November 2021, our medical mission team traveled to Benin and served the Dassa community. We quickly observed that this group of people, so beloved by God, did not have access to clean drinking water, and our hearts broke for them. Children were walking up to 2 hours each way, every day, to find drinkable water for themselves and their loved ones. God put it on our hearts to do something about this, so we organized a fundraiser as a team to be able to buy this beautiful community a clean water well. We were anxious about our ability to raise the required $18,000 to do this, but we prayed and we trusted God to provide. We didn’t have to wait for very long for the Lord to come through for the Dassa people; within a month, our goal was reached! We were able to tell the villagers that they would be receiving a Christmas gift of clean water for their entire community! As a result, the government agreed to give our partner the land needed to build a church for the Dassa people. Recently, in one month, 25 people gave their lives to Christ.
In March of 2019, our medical mission team served in Burkina Faso, which is a land-locked nation in West Africa. As we served the people there, we were also able to share the gospel and we prayed for hearts to be open to accepting the Good News. On the last day of our medical outreach, we witnessed 100 souls come to Christ. One of the men in this group would go on to be discipled to become a missionary to his own people group. This was the unreached people group that we went to reach with the gospel!
As we prepare for our next medical mission trip to Togo, West Africa in November, we are already praying for the people there that we will be serving. We are praying that they will see healing. We are praying for opportunities to share the hope we’ve found in Jesus, and we are praying for the gospel to take root and continue to spread long after we’ve gone.
We are now accepting applications for our next trip to Sierra Leone in March 2024; be part of the work that God is doing in West Africa as we seek to bring healthcare and the gospel to underserved communities. Get more details by clicking here.
However, if you’re not yet ready to commit to traveling with us, there are other ways to be part of the work we are doing:
Become a donor. The donations we receive from generous people, like yourself, allow us to commit to this work. Your money will be used to buy medical equipment, medicine, supplements, and help cover the costs of scholarships for medical and dental students to join us and gain practical real-world experience.
Join our prayer team. We meet once a month over the phone to pray together about our trips and those we’ve served, and shared the gospel with, so that they might continue to grow in faith. Contact us to learn more
Share the word with your friends and family! Sharing our blog posts or social media posts are a great way to show your support for the work that we do. You never know who might be waiting to learn about an opportunity to get involved with a medical missions organization like Mission Partners For Christ. YOU could be that person to introduce them to us!
There are many wonderful things about mission trips and we LOVE serving with medical professionals around the world.
However, sometimes people who are new to medical missions have misconceptions about the work we do. This blog post sheds light on three misconceptions and shares what is really true about medical missions!
1. Mission trips fix people.
Mission trips aren’t for fixing people. Sure, spiritual seeds are planted and physical needs are met. But “fixing” is the wrong mindset. Fixing makes it sound like the people on the mission’s trip have the power, and that’s not the case.
We are all created equally and loved equally by God. And any “fixing” comes from Him alone. The people met on these trips aren’t helpless. They may need help in certain areas, but they have dignity and something to offer the world as well. A Savior complex is dangerous. We are to be the hands and feet of Jesus through serving, not fixing.
2. We will hear God’s call when it’s time.
How many times do we sit around and wait to hear God’s call before we act? We think we will hear an audible voice tell us it’s time to go on a mission trip, and we wait around until then. But an audible Word isn’t the only way God speaks to us.
Sometimes it’s a nudge in our heart when we hear a speaker at church. Other times it’s Him bringing you to this blog page to plant the seed in your heart for missions. There are many different ways, so don’t ignore God’s prompting because you are waiting for an audible confirmation that it’s time to go on a mission’s trip. Look for God in the other ways He moves in your life and then spend time in prayer.
3. Everyone should go.
Though we are all to serve in some capacity, serving overseas on a mission’s trip isn’t for everyone. Sometimes people are called to give financially or called to support in prayer. It’s important not to pressure everyone to feel a certain way about missions. We are the body of Christ and each part of the body plays a different yet equally important role. Instead of telling others to join you, ask them how they feel God leading them towards missions and then present the different ways they can help.
What are some additional myths you’ve heard about medical mission work? Reach out below or on our Facebook page and let’s talk about it!
Medical mission trips are not just opportunities to offer healthcare to underserved communities; they can also be transformative experiences for personal discipleship and spiritual growth. Stepping out of our comfort zones, immersing ourselves in new cultures, and serving others in need can create profound connections with ourselves, the world around us, and God.
So let’s take a moment to explore how medical mission trips can become a transformative journey which leads to spiritual growth in our own lives and in our communities.
Medical Mission Trips Help To Nurture Empathy Towards Others
For the whole Law is fulfilled in one word, in the statement, “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” - Galatians 5:14
Engaging in medical mission trips helps to open volunteers up to diverse and challenging situations. This happens by being able to witness, first-hand, the resilience of individuals facing adversity.
During a medical mission trip, healthcare providers and other volunteers have the chance to offer comfort and healing to those in pain. They have a unique opportunity to practice compassion and empathy in a whole new way than they might have otherwise had.
Visiting the underserved and unreached communities that we serve gives volunteers a unique chance to build a deeper understanding of the shared human experience of suffering and vulnerability. All of this while sharing the Good News of Jesus.
Medical Mission Trips Helps Reminds Believers of Life’s Purpose
But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s special possession, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light. - 1 Peter 2:9
Medical mission trips often lead volunteers to ask deep questions about life’s purpose and meaning. Witnessing the strength of individuals who face hardships with unwavering determination can spark contemplation about the purpose of their own lives.
Participants may find themselves reflecting on their values, priorities, and how they can contribute to making the world a better place through the doors that God opens for them. These moments of introspection can become catalysts for spiritual growth which guides them towards a more purpose-driven and fulfilling life and ministry.
Medical Mission Trips Help Volunteers Let Go Of Materialism
Whoever loves money never has enough;
whoever loves wealth is never satisfied with their income.
This too is meaningless. - Ecclesiastes 5:10
The places where Mission Partners For Christ serves in Africa are communities with limited resources and where material possessions hold little significance. The people who live in these communities often live in deep poverty and may face a life of starvation, no access to clean water, and no ability to seek medical care when it is needed.
On a recent medical mission trip, MPFC Founder Sheri Postma was astounded by the pure joy of the children she met who turned simple objects, like old tire rims and water bottles, into fascinating toys that kept them entertained for hours. In our fast-paced and consumerism-driven world here in the USA, such simple joys are rarely seen.
Experiencing these settings can challenge our perspective on materialism and consumerism. Mission Partners For Christ volunteers may develop a greater appreciation for non-material aspects of existence, such as relationships, personal growth, and connection with the Lord. This shift away from materialism can be liberating, providing space for spiritual development and a deeper connection with the self.
Medical Mission Trips Help Participants Connect With The Lord
Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and eat with him, and he with me. - Revelation 3:20
Medical mission trips can offer individuals a chance to connect with Someone greater than themselves. As we connect with God, in light of all that our experiences serving on a medical missions team may bring us, our spiritual lives will flourish.
Engaging in service to others can lead to a profound sense of fulfillment and a recognition of a higher purpose guiding their actions. For those who already have strong Christian beliefs, these experiences can reinforce convictions and encourage them to channel their faith into meaningful action.
Medical mission trips are powerful vehicles for spiritual growth, nurturing qualities such as compassion, empathy, humility, and gratitude. Not only do these trips foster spiritual growth for the individual volunteer, but potentially the participant’s larger community as well.
When we follow God’s call to serve and we bring back testimonies of what God has accomplished on our medical mission trips, we are inviting our communities into the experience as well. As they learn about how God has called you to serve, and subsequently how that service impacted your faith, you are allowing God to speak through you and invite others into the work. This could, very likely, turn into a fire of revival where God is calling people to Himself both as servants and as new believers.
Are you preparing for a medical mission trip? Maybe you haven’t signed up yet, but you are thinking about it! If so, it’s important to start preparing as soon as your heart feels a tug towards the mission field. But how do you prepare? We have you covered with three simple things to do before you go on a missions trip:
1. Answer your why.
Define the reasons you want to go on a missions trip. If you can’t answer your why with a genuine, God-honoring reason, then spend some more time reflecting on your answer. To help you answer your why, ask yourself the following questions:
Where is my heart?
What is my purpose?
What is my vision for the trip?
What is my desired outcome?
When you get clear on your why, you can be intentional about how you spend your time on your trip. If your why is to gain more experience in the medical field, that will be your focus. If your vision is to have opportunities to share Jesus with those who aren’t able to hear until their physical needs are met, then that will be your purpose and every action you take will be centered around it. Define your why so that your trip can have a clear, focused intention and you can walk away knowing that you gave it your all.
2. Gather prayer support.
Whenever you agree to follow God into a new and uncomfortable situation, you are opening the doors to spiritual warfare. Now, it’s important not to let this scare you because you are already victorious. You have God on your side and there has not and will not be a time He is defeated. However, without being aware of the potential spiritual battles and without calling on God, you alone are left vulnerable. One way to be sure you are preparing for battle is to gather people around you who will agree to pray for you before, during, and after your trip! Prayer is like an armor of protection around you, and it’s important to wear this armor on the mission field.
You may be the first and only one to plant the Gospel seed into the people’s lives you meet on the mission field. If this is the case, you must be prepared spiritually. You must know the story of salvation and be able to share it clearly and accurately. One of the best ways to prepare for this spiritual calling is to get into God’s Word. We must know God if we are going to share Him. And this doesn’t mean knowing him through a third party like a pastor or a devotional book (though that’s important). This means diving directly into His Word. When going through the Bible, don’t just mindlessly read to check off a “must-do” task on your list. Instead, allow God to use His Word in your life because it is living and active!
In The Gospel Coalition, Professor Matthew Harmon walks us through two simple sets of questions to ask every time we open our Bibles:
Understanding the Bible:
1. What do we learn about God?
2. What do we learn about people?
3. What do we learn about relating to God?
4. What do we learn about relating to others?
Applying the Bible:
1. What does God want me to understand?
2. What does God want me to believe?
3. What does God want me to desire?
4. What does God want me to do?
We hope you will use these tips to prepare for your trip. Let us know how we can be praying for you as you make your decision to join us on the mission field!