Why Medical Missions Trips Are Worth the Cost

Why Medical Missions Trips Are Worth the Cost

If you’ve ever looked into going on a medical mission trip, you’ve probably wondered if the cost participants pay is worth it. The costs may be higher than other types of mission trips, but so are the benefits.

When you join a medical missions team, it’s normal for participants to pay for flights, accommodations, and food during the trip. Most organizations (but not us!) also ask participants to pay extra to cover the supplies needed to conduct medical exams or to leave with the patients.

But despite those expenses, there are three key reasons why medical missions trips are worth the cost:

  1. 1.Medical mission trips provide additional training for students outside of the regular classroom.

There are so many things that cannot be taught within the walls of a classroom. Some of the first people to sign-up for medical missions opportunities are students because they can finally use their knowledge in a situation that isn’t hypothetical. Students can not only see the global healthcare needs up close but also serve through hands-on experiences that make a difference! Now, this isn’t to say that volunteers should use a medical missions trip to experiment or put patients at risk by doing more than they’re trained to do. It’s simply an opportunity to experience more and serve those in need.

  1. Medical mission trips have a transformational impact.

Short-term missions trips aren’t always equally beneficial between the communities served and the volunteers. The lasting transformations happen from building relationships, and that can’t always occur in a couple of weeks time. Of course, sharing the message of Jesus is the biggest gift you can give someone, but what’s impactful about short-term medical missions trips is that the few short weeks are enough time to change a person’s life spiritually and physically — leaving a transformational impact on those served.

  1. Healthcare professionals can further develop their skills.

Certain diseases or medical needs are prevented in the states but still exist overseas. For example, thousands of people in Tanzania test positive for malaria each year. 

In the US we often have more than enough resources and an optimal environment to treat patients. When volunteers put their skills to use in less than ideal conditions with little resources, they are developing their skill sets, providing great care, and gaining a positive learning experience in the process.

When the costs for a medical missions trip seems overwhelming, remember that there are ways to raise money such as crowdfunding and fundraising opportunities with organizations such as Volunteer Forever (https://www.volunteerforever.com/). Volunteer Forever offers scholarship opportunities that allow volunteers to serve on medical missions trips no matter the expense.

And when it comes down to it, what price would you put on offering life-saving preventions and interventions to people in need? Medical missions trips are always worth the cost.

Ready to join a team? Click here for information on upcoming trips! 

8 Books To Read Before A Medical Mission Trip

8 Books To Read Before A Medical Mission Trip

You find yourself called to a medical missions trip, but you want to make sure you are prepared and equipped before you find yourself overwhelmed and in over your head. You may have all the medical knowledge needed, but what about spiritual knowledge? A great way to prepare before you leave on your trip is to not only prepare your heart but to prepare your mind with these eight book suggestions to read before your medical mission’s trip!

  1. Serving with Eyes Wide Open: Doing Short-Term Missions with Cultural Intelligence by: David Livermore

Although many are involved in short-term missions experiences all around the world, there’s always improvements to be made to the approach and practice of missions trips. Many times we want to bring our culture to other places in the world instead of bringing Christ and adapting to the culture that’s already there. This book will help the reader to serve with cultural sensitivity and intelligence.

  1. Cross-Cultural Servanthood: Serving the World in Christlike Humility by: Duane Elmer

When the author went around the world asking what people thought about missionaries, the response showed him that Christian missionaries came across less than humble. In fact, they came across arrogant. Obviously, this approach was hurting their impact. Actions that were meant to be loving instead came across as pretentious and superior. In his book, Elmer gives advice about how to serve with humility and avoid misunderstanding other cultures. To serve effectively around the globe, read this book before your next mission’s trip.

  1. Multicultural Manners: Essential Rules of Etiquette for the 21st Century by: Norine Dresser

When traveling overseas, you will quickly learn that it’s not easy to understand the etiquette of a new cultural. This book will help address appropriate interactions around the world when it comes to greeting one another, hand signals that mean different things globally, and how to avoid embarrassment with each new interaction. This book is informative and will give you the courage you need to approach a culturally different community respectfully.

  1. When Helping Hurts: How to Alleviate Poverty Without Hurting the Poor…and Yourself. by: Steve Corbett, Brian Fikker

Donations and handouts are typically our response to poverty. It helps us feel as if we are making an impact without having to get our hands dirty. But what if our handouts and donations were fueling the problem? Poverty is complex and deserves consideration to truly alleviate the problem. Those in poverty need empowerment and ways to sustain themselves rather than relying on those around them. Sustainable change must happen from the inside out. This book will give you a new perspective on how to help alleviate poverty in ways that are long lasting!

  1. Medical Missions: Get Ready, Get Set, Go! by: Bruce Steffes

This book recognizes that medical missions are different than other short-term mission trips. Practicing medicine in areas with very little supplies in conditions that are less than ideal is difficult. This book will help those involved in medical missions trips know what to expect and receive tips on how to be more effective! Read the stories about the author’s personal experiences and feel more prepared with his advice and insights. This is a must-read book that can also be slipped into your pocket to take with you for encouragement on the field!

  1. Let the Nations Be Glad!: The Supremacy of God in Missions by: John Piper

This book gives readers a biblical basis for missions, why it’s important for the expansion of the Gospel, and the importance to reach all nations! Preparing for a medical missions trip requires the understanding of the spiritual mission as well. Read this book to be ready for the spiritual work!

  1. Preach and Heal: A Biblical Model for Missions by: Charles Fielding

This book teaches why it’s important to both preach and heal. If you don’t meet the physical needs of a person, how can you expect he/she to accept the spiritual need? It’s important not to walk away from healing while leaving a person spiritually dry. Ministry must be balanced to be effective.

Preparing yourself for your medical missions trip is essential. Choose a few books from this list, and watch yourself benefit from the knowledge and preparation before your big adventure!

See you in the mission field!

Sheri Postma, RN
Founder & CEO
Mission Partners for Christ

What is a Medical Missions Team?

What is a Medical Missions Team?

Each year thousands of volunteers travel around the world to care for people with little or no access to adequate medical care.

Nonprofit organizations like Mission Partners for Christ specialize in organizing teams to provide free care, often in remote locations where there are no local physicians. For the people who live in these areas, our free clinics are their only opportunity to receive health screenings, preventative care, and medical treatments without traveling great distances. Our volunteers also teach clinic visitors about hygiene and nutrition and offer dental and vision screenings. When we leave the USA, our bags are packed with over-the-counter medications, treatment supplies, and vitamins to distribute to local families who need them.

As a Christian medical missions organization, we know that we bring more than medical care to our free clinics.

We bring hope and eternal healing that can only be found in Jesus Christ. We partner with local faith-based agencies to help community members connect with local Christians who will mentor them as they learn more about the Gospel.

Mission Partners for Christ relies heavily on physicians, nurses, techs, and other medical providers to volunteer their expertise in our temporary clinics. None of our medical providers receive payment for their services, everyone volunteers their time and pays for their own travel. Unlike other organizations, Mission Partners for Christ does not add administration or supply fees to the travel expenses. These are covered by individual and corporate donations from across the country.

It may surprise you to know a large number of volunteers are not medical providers. Our medical missions teams provide basic health education, weigh and measure our patients, and distribute free supplies. There are plenty of jobs to do and we welcome people from all professions to serve on our teams.

Still have more questions about what our medical mission teams do?

Send us a quick message here so our team can answer your questions about medical missions and how you can be a part of them! If you are ready to serve, we can carve out the perfect place on our team where you can have the greatest impact!

See you in the mission field!

Sheri Postma, RN
Founder & CEO
Mission Partners for Christ

5 Medical Missionary Doctors You Should Know About

5 Medical Missionary Doctors You Should Know About

Doctors in medical missions are not all cut from the same cloth; they come from
different countries, backgrounds, and cultures. However, they are all moved by a common purpose: serving Jesus through caring for the sick and the wounded. Let’s take a moment today to meet just a few of these people.

Dr. Priscilla Busyingye, Uganda

Dr. Busyingye is a unique woman. As an African nun, the women of Uganda are her mission field. Trained as an OB-GYN and a fistula repair surgeon by the Catholic Banyatereza Sisters of Uganda, Dr. Busyingye currently serves as the president of the Association of Obstetricians and Gynecologists of Uganda, where her influence can impact many people. In 2020, Dr. Busyingye became the first African woman to win the Gerson L’Chaim Initiative award. This award came with a $500,000 prize that She will put towards expanding the Rwibaale Health Center, where she works to save lives every day as a medical missionary.
Source: African Mission + Healthcare

Dr. Tan Lai Yong, Singapore

Dr. Tan did not envision himself going into medicine when he was young. Due to his grades in school, he believed that medical school was not an option. After being encouraged by a platoon mate during his time as an infantry soldier in the Singapore Armed Forces, Dr. Tan decided to take a leap of faith and apply to medical school. 

Through the course of his career, Dr. Tan has turned down multiple prestigious career opportunities to serve the poor, the imprisoned, and the marginalized populations of Singapore and China. Currently, Dr. Tan works at the College of Alice and Peter Tan, part of the University of Singapore. He teaches his students the importance of understanding marginalized communities within Singapore. Through his work with the school, he is preparing the next generation of medical students to carry on the work he started. The love of God continually motivates Dr. Tan to do his work. In an interview, he once shared, “when we embrace God’s covenant, God always directs us back to the community to receive help, to share, to exercise compassion, and to find hope.”
Source: National Healthcare Group and Salt and Light

Dr. Chiara Castellani, Democratic Republic of Congo

Dr. Castellani has dedicated her life to serving in medical missions. Before moving to the Democratic Republic of Congo, where she currently resides, this highly trained surgeon also put her life-saving skills to work in Nicaragua. She has managed a hospital in Kimbau, DRC for over 30 years as a medical missionary. Dr. Castellani has worked on countless cases with people who suffer from Ebola, leprosy, and illnesses related to poverty and lack of access to medical care. The greatest joy in her work is seeing how God uses her skills as a surgeon to bring healing into people’s lives. She will often speak of how God is in control of the outcome even in the most desperate and impossible cases.

As of 2019, Dr. Castellani was working with doctors from Trieste to build a Mother and Child Health Center in Buzala to continue her life-saving work.
Source: SouthWorld

Dr. Tongai Chitsamatanga, Zimbabwe

In a country of more than 15 million people, Dr. Chitsamatanga is one of two pediatric surgeons. Trained and practiced in hospitals in the United Kingdom and Africa, Dr. Chitsamatanga now works for a Zimbabwean hospital started by the medical mission nonprofit, CURE International. CURE Zimbabwe is in Bulawayo, the second-largest city in the nation; the hospital is also the only location where children with complicated orthopedic conditions can be treated. At only 41 years old, Dr. Chitsamatanga has dedicated his life to caring for children who otherwise would likely never receive medical treatments as a medical missionary, and he intends to keep going. Remarking on his work and the feedback he’s gotten from his patients, Dr. Chitsamatanga says, “‘This is exactly what the Lord wants at this moment in time. This is why I’m here.”
Source: Christianity Today

Dr. Jason Fader, Burundi

The inaugural winner of the Gerson L’Chaim Prize, Dr. Fader’s passion comes from being the hands of Christ to his patients in Burundi. As of 2017, Dr. Fader was just one of just 14 surgeons in all of Burundi. His work at Kibuye Hope Hospital, the teaching hospital for Hope Africa University Medical School, has been life-changing for each patient who has sought his medical expertise. Dr. Fader has been instrumental in expanding medical facilities and training new staff.
Source: Free Methodist World Missions

Did you meet some new people in this week’s article? Did any of these doctors inspire you to think about medical missions differently? Let us know your thoughts in the comments!

10 Things You Need To Know Before Going On A Medical Missions Trip

10 Things You Need To Know Before Going On A Medical Missions Trip

Thinking about joining one of our medical mission teams? GREAT! 

Medical missions trips are transformational experiences for all involved. Serving others changes the hearts of the servants and those being served but being prepared is ESSENTIAL to making a difference. We’ve compiled this list of things you need to know before going on a medical missions trip to help you make a lasting impact. 

Here are 10 things you need to know before going on a medical mission trip:

  1. Communicating will take more time.

Depending on where you are headed globally, you will most likely be embedded in communities that speak languages that you are not fluent in. This does not mean you have to learn another language before you can join a medical mission trip, but it does mean you need to have is to be aware and to have translators readily available. Patience is also needed because communicating through a translator takes more time than two people fluent in the same language. You will not be able to serve the community well if you cannot communicate effectively with one another. Clear communication is essential to helping people with their health needs

  1. Be flexible and willing to adapt to unfamiliar conditions.

You are traveling outside of the United States to places that are in need of proper healthcare. Sometimes, other amenities that you are used to will not be available either. In other communities they’re available, but look radically different than what you are used to. You won’t be able to spend every night in a 5 star air conditioned room, familiar food, a hot shower, etc. but that’s part of why these trips are so transformational. Access to clean drinking water may be limited. For example, 60% of Tanzania’s households have water from a protected source as of 2012, so you will most likely have access, but when we travel to remote areas access may be limited. 

  1. Expect limited supplies and access to equipment.

The number of physicians is not the only thing lacking in the under served communities we travel to. Supplies and access to medical equipment can also be quite scarce. We bring as many supplies and medications as possible to supplement what is available locally.  As a team member you can find out what equipment and supplies will be available, and count on bringing most of what you need! Specialized dressings, medications, and sutures are often the first supplies gathered. (Remember, if you plan to bring medical equipment, it will require a heavy-duty electrical converter to work outside of the US).

  1. Loosen your grip on the plan and relax the schedule.

In the United States, medical clinics and hospitals often have rigid schedules, and it’s expected for people to abide by a plan. Other countries are much more go-with-the-flow. Out teams have an agenda and loose schedule, but we are also committed to being flexible and serving people whenever they show up. Things can also be highly unpredictable due to the environment not always being stable or reliable, so one must be flexible with any plans that are made. Leave your rigid, timely mindset in the states and choose to be adaptable.

  1. Be ready to try new foods!

The type of food you are used to eating will not be accessible on a medical missions trip. It’s important to be grateful and humble when trying new foods. You will like some foods you try and others you won’t. Before going on a medical mission’s trip, branch out and try different foods that are common in the communities you will be visiting. Be prepared to say “yes” to what is offered to you. If you have special dietary needs be sure to talk with your team leader early in the process so that adaptations can be discussed. Staying hydrated and well nourished is going to be crucial to your ability to show up and care for people well. Your patients deserve good care from someone who is reliable and alert.


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  1. Take time before you leave to preparre your mind, body, and soul.

Medical missions trips take a lot of preparation. You will need to take the time to raise money for the supplies you need and then gather those supplies as well. You will want to do research on the types of health concerns you will likely face as some you may be seeing for the first time. All overseas missions trips also require certain vaccinations before entering the country (go to https://wwwnc.cdc.gov/travel to find out what vaccinations are required for each country and tips for staying healthy abroad). Traveling overseas also requires getting your passport and other important travel documents which can take several months. Make sure you prepare in advance so you aren’t scrambling at the last minute.

  1. Pack everything.

Packing “light” or “minimally”  is not the best idea because you may not be able to buy the supplies you need in most places. If you are not sure what to pack for every scenario, check with your team leader. They are experienced travelers who can advise you what to pack and what to leave behind. We wrote an entire post about what to bring. You can read it here! 

  1. Fundraising is essential.

Unless you have been saving up for the trip’s cost, you may need to raise funds ASAP. Cash is good but donations of medical supplies can also make a huge impact. Reaching out to pharmaceutical companies, clinics, hospitals, and local medical related businesses to gather the necessary donations for your trip. This is a great way for family and friends to support you if they’re unable to join you for the trip. You can invite them to securely donate online here. This is one of those rare exceptions where more is more. It’s our goal to take enough supplies that we can leave resources behind for local physicians and clinics. It’s much easier for us to bring the supplies with us than it will ever be to ship things into the country after we leave. Check with your team leader to find out what the specific needs are for your trip! 

  1. Recognize and honor cultural differences without judging.

When heading into uncharted territory, you may find yourself surprised at the differences that surround you. Remember, we are intentionally traveling to under served areas so you will likely see hospitals and clinics in poor condition. Physicians are usually well trained in conditions they see most often but they can be limited by inadequate access to technology, medication, and cutting edge training. Also, health care, dental care, health education, and nutrition education are highly needed, and medical specialists should know that the lack of knowledge in these areas makes it difficult to approach patients in the same way. Read our list of book recommendations here to help you prepare for diverse cultural experience you’re about to have! 

  1. Education is critical to long term health maintenance.

Because of the limited access to medical care, educating our patients is key to helping them stay healthy long term! There will be limited opportunities for costly, time consuming follow-up appointments, so be prepared to educate patients for preventative care and after-care. Allowing time to ask questions and really listening to their concerns will greatly improve their long term prognosis. Your team leader will help you know what is encouraged and what behaviors to avoid.

I hope this list of 10 things you need to know before going on a medical mission trip has inspired you to say “YES” to this opportunity.

I’ve been doing this for over a decade and it’s not always easy, but it’s always rewarding. 

There are lots of things to learn before, during, and after you serve on a medical mission trip, but don’t let that scare you! It’s still one of the best ways to create major change in the lives of people with little to no access to medical care.

See you in the mission field!

Sheri Postma, RN
Founder & CEO
Mission Partners for Christ