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!
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!
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.
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.
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.
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!
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!
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!
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
Let’s talk about comfort zones. We all have them. They’re like the warm blanket we wrap ourselves up in when the world gets too scary or uncertain. But what if I told you that stepping out of your comfort zone could actually be one of the best things you could do for yourself? It’s true.
By pushing ourselves to try new things and take risks, we open ourselves up to a whole world of possibilities. We become more resilient, more adaptable, and more confident in our ability to handle whatever life throws our way. And what better way to step out of your comfort zone than by serving on a medical missions trip? Imagine being immersed in a culture that’s completely different from your own, working alongside healthcare professionals to care for those in need, and challenging yourself to grow and learn in ways you never thought possible.
It’s an experience that will change you forever.
What Is A Medical Mission Trip, Anyway?
At their core, medical missions trips are about providing healthcare and other essential services to communities in need.
They are typically organized by religious or humanitarian organizations and involve sending volunteers to areas of the world where medical care is limited or nonexistent. The purpose and goals of a medical missions trip are simple: to help people who are in need and to make a positive impact on the world while saying the love and the gospel of Jesus Christ.
Volunteers who participate in these trips might help with everything from basic medical care and hygiene education to more complex procedures like surgeries and dental work. They might also work on infrastructure projects like building clinics or wells.
Ultimately, the goal is to provide support and resources that will help communities become more self-sufficient and improve their overall quality of life. It’s an incredibly rewarding experience that allows volunteers to use their skills and knowledge to make a tangible difference in the world.
At Mission Partners For Christ, our goals are to provide whatever medical treatment we can at our free healthcare clinics. We also offer free education of healthcare and hygiene. We also partner with other organizations to hand out important tools like The Shoe That Grows and eyeglasses to those who are in need.
The Benefits Of Stepping Out Of Your Comfort Zone
Trying new things and taking risks can be scary, but the benefits are worth it. Stepping out of your comfort zone can lead to personal growth and development in ways you never thought possible. It can help you become more confident, more resilient, and more open-minded. And when you push yourself to try new things, you might even discover new passions or talents that you never knew you had.
Perhaps you have found yourself at a crossroads in life, and you’re unsure of the direction you can take. A medical missions trip may be able to help you with this. Through exposure to a new country, new languages, new cultures, and the work done on medical missions trips, you may find that God is leading you somewhere.
Maybe this is the motivation you need to go back to school to become a nurse or a dentist or some other kind of medical professional. Perhaps you’ll be inspired to seek out other missions-based opportunities so that you can more fully invest your time and your talents in the mission field. It could also be a time of re-evaluating your own life and your priorities once you see how others are living their own lives and how they follow Jesus in ways you may not have considered.
How Do Medical Mission Trips Help You Step Out Of Your Comfort Zone?
Serving on a medical missions trip can be one of the most transformative experiences of your life. It’s a chance to step out of your comfort zone and embrace a completely new way of living and serving. For many volunteers, this can be both exciting and challenging. Being in a new environment, working alongside people from different cultures and backgrounds, and facing unfamiliar medical issues can be daunting. However, it’s precisely these challenges that can push you to grow and develop in ways you never thought possible.
Volunteers on medical missions trips often face obstacles like language barriers, cultural differences, and limited resources. But through these challenges, they develop resilience, empathy, and problem-solving skills that they can carry with them for the rest of their lives. Many past volunteers have shared stories about stepping out of their comfort zones on medical missions trips and coming back transformed. The lessons they learned on these trips can inform the choices they make moving forward both in professional and ministerial settings.
Ultimately, serving on a medical missions trip is an opportunity to push yourself outside of your comfort zone, embrace new experiences, and make a difference in the lives of those in need.
How to Prepare For Your Upcoming Medical Mission Trip
Preparing for a medical missions trip is a crucial part of ensuring a successful and impactful experience. As you get ready to embark on this journey, there are a few things you can do to help make the most of your time serving.
First and foremost, it’s essential to do your research. This means learning as much as you can about the community you’ll be serving and understanding the culture and customs of the area. Taking the time to learn some basic phrases in the local language can also go a long way in building relationships with the people you’ll be working alongside.
Mental and physical preparation is also key. Volunteering on a medical missions trip can be both physically and emotionally demanding, so it’s important to be in good health and to take care of yourself before and during your trip. This might mean getting enough rest, staying hydrated, and eating nutritious foods. It’s also important to mentally prepare yourself for the challenges you might face, whether it’s seeing patients with severe illnesses or working in unfamiliar conditions.
Don’t forget to do an internal inventory to see if you are properly prepared to serve in this way. A previous blog post listed the type of characteristics that are important for work in medical missions. Be sure to check it out to see if you’re a good fit.
By taking the time to prepare yourself and your team for your medical missions trip, you’ll be better equipped to make a positive impact and create meaningful connections with the community you’ll be serving.
In conclusion, the benefits of stepping out of your comfort zone and serving on a medical missions trip are numerous. By taking risks and trying new things, you’ll develop important skills like resilience, empathy, and problem-solving. Serving on a medical missions trip can also open your eyes to new cultures, ideas, and perspectives, and allow you to make a meaningful impact on the world.
If you’re considering taking the leap and embarking on a medical missions trip, I encourage you to do so. It may be challenging, but it will undoubtedly be one of the most rewarding experiences of your life. Whether you’re a healthcare professional or simply someone who wants to make a difference, serving on a medical missions trip is an opportunity to challenge yourself, grow, and learn. So why wait? Take the first step today and begin your journey towards making a difference in the world.
You can check out our upcoming medical mission trips here.
Did you know that the phrase, “Do not be afraid” is written (in one form or another) 365 times throughout the Bible. It’s almost as if God was trying to communicate something, isn’t it?
Something we hear a lot of from aspiring short-term missionaries is a theme of fear. People are afraid of the unknown. People are afraid of traveling to a place they’ve never been. People are afraid of how they might feel while on a trip.
There is a whole lot of anxiety wrapped up in the very idea of committing to a short-term medical missions trip. While that is very normal and understandable, we also want to encourage you to remember the overwhelming message found in the Bible: do not be afraid.
“Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.” – Isaiah 41:10
When fear strikes our hearts, it is easy to become stuck. It’s easy to allow that fear to block us from moving forward. This is because there is a message that fear is communicating to us at that moment: “you will not be safe. You must protect yourself by getting out of this situation.”
Fear has a way of convincing would-be medical missionaries that they will be better off not submitting that application. Fear is telling them that they will be safer staying at home. Fear also has a way comforting us by telling us that it is okay if we do not go; someone else will go and do the work instead.
Imagine if everyone allowed fear to stop them?
No hospitals would be built.
No doctors would exist to heal.
No one would go when the call rings out.
And souls will be left struggling with no access to healthcare, health education, clean water, etc… Worse still: there’d be no one to deliver the good news of the Gospel.
When we can give ourselves permission to push past the fear, we allow ourselves to also trust in the promises of God.
He will be with us wherever He calls us. He will be our greatest Supporter and Friend in the midst of all circumstances. He will be the One holding our hands as we walk out in faith in answer to His call.
“The Lord is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear? The Lord is the stronghold of my life; of whom shall I be afraid?” – Psalm 27:1
Fear can only exist in the dark; Fear occurs because we find ourselves caught in a moment of not-knowing. We can’t see what lies ahead for us. We don’t know, when we commit to a short term medical missions trip, if we will feel comfortable. We don’t know who we might meet or what opposition we might encounter to the gospel. There is a whole lot that we do not know.
But when we take a minute to breathe and really think through the root of our fear, we can also remember this beautiful promise found in Psalm 27: “The Lord is my light and salvation.”
Wherever we go, in obedience to God’s call, we are walking the light of God’s love and guidance. He is the one who holds tomorrow in the palm of His hand. We can trust that He will also guide us safely through the work He’s given us to do.
More than that, we know that God is preparing hearts who will be open to hearing the gospel and receiving the love of Christ that we offer through our health clinics. We may meet people who are not interested in the gospel, but we will also meet people who are longing to know that they are irrevocably loved by the Creator of Heaven and Earth.
Can you imagine how wonderful it will feel to get to be the one to deliver that message to people who are waiting to hear it?
“Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” – Philippians 4:6-7
In the end, we all have a choice: will we allow fear to hold us back? Or will we be the ones who step out in faith and trust that where God may be calling us, He will also be our Most Holy Protector?
This is not to say that the choice is an easy one to make. Of course it isn’t. We are merely human, and fear is a human emotion. A compelling one at that.
But we are also children of God. As such, we have a beautiful promise from our Heavenly Father that we can find our peace and hope in Him.
The more we choose to focus on our God and His promises to be with us, keep us safe, and give us peace, the less power fear has over us. We have a hope in God that we cannot find elsewhere.
So today, I want to encourage you: if you hear the voice of the Holy Spirit prompting you to join us on a medical mission trip, please follow that leading. Fear will always tell you to stay safe and stay home, but God is the only One who can promise our safety. If He calls you to it, He will also bring you through it.
Applications are closing soon for our next medical mission trip to Burundi. We still need doctors, nurses, dentists to volunteer to join us. We also need those without experience in the medical field. Everyone is welcome.
Is God calling you to join us in Burundi? The deadline to apply is April 30. You can get all the details for that trip here.
Before a medical mission’s trip, you are typically prepared for the work you will be doing, but it’s also important to know what to expect about the overall cultural experience as well.
Here are six things you should know about medical missions:
1. Use your American “privilege” for good.
You will have many opportunities to help those around you in more ways than one. Locals will be able to spot an American from a mile away — we stand out. You are no better than those around you, but being an American has certain assumed wealth. Since people will be taking notice of you, make sure to use your “privilege” for good. Tip generously, leave belongings behind that you don’t need in the States, and support as many local markets as you can.
There’s always someone you can think of who needs a souvenir!
2. Be mindful when you take pictures.
Some places frown on people taking photos. Always ask permission before you assume it’s okay to photograph your surroundings, or especially the people! Also, don’t take advantage of the community by taking pictures and exploiting them.
You are there to serve, not to make yourself look good and “charitable.”
3. Share with the community about the organization you represent.
It’s easy to show up, build a relationship, and then leave. This can make it difficult for future groups to be trusted. Communities appreciate the help, but they watch people come and go and relationships are difficult to build with people they never see again. Plan to show up and go in explaining the organization you are representing.
It’s easier for the people there to build a relationship with the organization as a whole more than it is individual people. Build trust.
4. Try the foods you are offered!
The food will be very different, but it’s important to try at least what you are offered out of respect for those generously providing. So much time and sacrifice is put into the food in third-world countries.
Be gracious and accepting.
The people will tell you their stories, and through genuinely listening, you’ll be able to better meet their needs. Sometimes there is a language barrier, so make sure there is a reliable translator always available.
Your goal is to listen and respectfully respond to the stories you hear.
6. You can only do what you can do.
Don’t try to be a savior. You are only there to meet a need and plant seeds. Don’t put the pressure on yourself to save everyone. God only calls us to be willing and say “yes” to His call. He has a plan for what happens next. You are reaching out and touching lives.
Give your all but don’t walk away blaming yourself for not fixing all of the world’s problems.
We hope these tips will help you feel better prepared to go into the mission field! Click here for more information about our upcoming trips!
See you in the mission field!
Sheri Postma, RN Founder & CEO Mission Partners for Christ MissionPartnersforChrist.com Facebook.com/MissionPartnersforChrist Twitter.com/mission_partner
I have heard people time and time again talk about how only a few people are called to be missionaries, and they just aren’t one of the few! I believe there is some truth to this. Not everyone is called away to permanently serve overseas, but we are all called to missions in different ways.
“Go and make disciples of every nation, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit and teaching them to obey all that I’ve commanded. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” –Matthew 18:19-20
The key word in the verse above is “go.” That means we can’t stay exactly where we are. Now, the verse doesn’t say how far to “go.” So how do we develop a heart for missions so we can follow in obedience to God’s call — wherever the call may take us?
We all have to start somewhere, and sometimes that is “going” right next door and sharing a cup of coffee with a neighbor you’ve never met. Sometimes it’s sitting across the table with a new couple who recently moved into your town and doesn’t know the Gospel. God calls us to serve where we live, work, and play.
But other times, God calls us farther away.
We are unlikely to say “yes” to God’s call to serve elsewhere if we don’t learn how to serve right where we are. If we can’t love those in our own communities, how we can love others around the world? The good news is that God is everywhere and loves everyone. So no matter where we are, we can follow His example of love! We can serve God in our normal, ordinary lives or in the great unknown.
The word missionary means “someone on a mission.” There is no defined place or distance that qualifies someone as a missionary. God didn’t put boundaries on where we can serve, and one day, He may call you to an uncomfortable place with unfamiliar people.
Will you go?
We were sent from the moment we were placed on this earth to help grow the kingdom of God! Wherever we go with the Lord is Holy Ground. Start serving at the place beneath your feet and then step outside your designated borders and go to anyone who needs to hear of God’s grace.
If you want to develop a heart for missions…start where you are! As you learn to love those who are close, your heart will expand and stretch to wherever God calls — near or far.