World Malaria Day is April 25th of this year, and we want to spread awareness about the continuing world health crisis of malaria. Lots of regions globally are populated by people living near or on the travel route toward a major water source. Many sources of water attract disease-carrying mosquitoes. This includes stagnant water, ponds, factory run-off, water cans, rivers, and more. Every water source is a potential breeding ground for mosquitoes–particularly those carrying malaria parasites.
According to WHO (2017), of 219 million global cases of malaria, about 92% are in African countries. In some of those countries, sprays are available for use inside their homes. Many people in African countries sleep beneath an insecticide net. Others receive anti-malarial medication. These preventive treatments are not widely available for all people though–especially not the sprays, which can be expensive over time. Many children and adults who fall ill with malaria will then need to be tested and treated for it. Access to this medical care often does not adequately cover the needs of a region. Without treatment and prevention, sometimes there are malaria deaths and secondary illnesses or injuries due to malaria, such as blindness or brain damage.
World Malaria Day Increases Awareness
How does sharing information about malaria help? It increases awareness. The more we learn about a condition that may impact people in regions where we serve–or ourselves here at home–the better we can support one another’s health goals. Many living in the United States live in communities that employ trained workers who spray or set traps for mosquitoes. These employees also work on culverts, check for and warn against standing water in public spaces or yards, and do other things to help quell mosquito breeding.
We may enjoy going outdoors for fun and recreation quite often. It is generally easy for us to plan on wearing a special lotion or mosquito spray, burning citronella candles, or hanging up a zapper in the yard. This is a routine in other countries too, but due to wars, epidemics, or other causes, not every region of the world currently has the infrastructure to regularly support these efforts.
There is Hope
Malaria is potentially a curable disease, but it is also largely preventable with access to the right supplies and education. There is currently a pan-African effort to increase awareness and lessen the spread of malaria. Zero Malaria Starts With Me is a campaign created to educate youth and adults about malaria. People of all ages and backgrounds, including religious leaders and students, volunteer in this program.
Medical missions volunteers also often play a role in helping many people receive malaria treatment and prevention techniques. Interested in becoming a medical missions volunteer? Reach out to Mission Partners for Christ on our website or via Facebook and Instagram.
When we go on medical missions trips, we may encounter people who do not yet have a personal experience of knowing that all things are possible with God. We might meet someone who has lost loved ones after praying for a long time, for example. They may still be grieving. Or we might meet someone who has never heard much–if anything–about Jesus. There may be a fear that we will not pray with them if they do not offer a gift. We may need to reassure them that we are there for them, it’s on our hearts to pray, we appreciate and value them, and so we don’t need them to give a gift. This may be refreshingly different from what they have expected if they do not hold a similar spiritual belief or if they visit various types of healers before coming to see health care professionals.
Most times, we are likely to meet people who–without fear–welcome prayer, hunger for knowledge, and thirst for Jesus. But there can be times we might meet someone who does not know of Him or has some fears. They might believe that a certain disease is too difficult to take care of or that they won’t know what to do when we leave. While we can’t promise them anything specific about their unique situation, we know we go with God. We can pray they would have a personal experience that all things are possible with God. That they would have healing and access to the right resources at the right times, that those who help them in the coming days will have the guidance of Holy Spirit.
We Go With God
This March, there are multiple world health holidays: World Cancer Day, World Kidney Day, and World Tuberculosis Day. These are three big diseases that elicit strong emotions even in countries where there is a high level of access to medical care. All three are among the top ten global leading causes of mortality. When someone receives a diagnosis of cancer, kidney disease, or tuberculosis, fear may be the first response for many, even if they have access to extended paid or unpaid medical leave or great medical insurance. Not everyone has a personal experience with God or faith, but they do have lots of access to information about a diagnosis. This is good, but there are often so many health care providers and types of treatment to choose from, it can be overwhelming to decide how to go about it at first.
This is not the case in other countries–especially those where there are less doctors or health care facilities per capita. Treatments or medicines that cost less there can ultimately be more expensive or difficult to access. If an ill person lives in a remote place in South Africa or Philippines, for example, they have to arrange transportation or plan a long, arduous walk. Symptoms may become harder to manage on the trip. Even in non-remote regions, low-to-middle income patients may miss time from work and be unable to afford continuing their medicines. Access may be restricted for other reasons. In much of South Africa, for example, dialysis treatment is government-funded, and might not be available to everyone. Also some clinics or hospitals do not permit a person to be evaluated or treated without complete payment. This can be a serious deterrent to seeking help that is needed.
We Can Pray With Belief and Partner With God
When we go on a medical missions trip to underserved regions of the world, we typically will be providing basic health care. But we go with God, and we might be in a position to point someone toward further treatment. We might be able to educate them about an aspect of their health care which will breathe new life into their healing process. Maybe they can learn how a certain medicine can be kept cool in a way that is easy for their living situation. Maybe we can find out if there are others sick in their home, or if there is someone who can learn how to wrap bandages, apply clean, cool compresses or help with household tasks.
When we see the afflicted, we can ask good questions and listen. Empathize and offer helpful suggestions. Pray with them and privately on our own. We can find answers for them from others who are working with us. No matter what, let’s bring with us the goodness that comes with God, the trust that comes with knowing Him and seeing what He has done, the hope that is inextinguishable for those who have accepted Christ. For “the thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy.” But Jesus has come “that they may have life and have it abundantly.” (John 10:10) There is nothing that is impossible with God! We can pray with belief that each person’s needs will be met.
Jesus looked at them and said, “With man it is impossible, but not with God. For all things are possible with God.” (Mark 10:27)
Going With Us to Burundi?
The deadline to begin the registration process for our Burundi opportunity is April 5. If you are already familiar with the travel requirements, then your passport is probably ready. You are likely planning some details related to work. You are doing what you can to prepare and spending more personal time with God. There is only one month left to register for this trip. Feel free to reach out to us with any questions you may have. To go with us to Burundi, go to the Volunteer page on our website. You are also able to help fund someone else’s trip if you would like to do so at this time.
Imagine you are a parent who has walked a long way from home on a deeply rutted road of hot red clay. The sun shines brightly overhead and all around you. Motorcycles, bicycles, and other vehicles occasionally pass you. You look down each time at the child in your arms, but she does not wake up. She has been ill for about a week and is worn out from walking part of the way. She stirs only when you sit to give her water and food to eat. About a mile ahead of you is a medical outreach event. Your hope is great. There are canopies with chairs to sit in and open buildings. Friendly faces look up in your direction and wave. You are welcome here. Not only are you welcome here, but you are prepared for, hoped for, and expected. You are prayed for and rejoiced over.
Imagine Finding Out That God Loves You
Now imagine you find out that it is not only the medical clinic volunteers but also Jesus–the Son of God–who is happy you are welcome here and that you have arrived. You may have heard that there is someone called Jesus who is supposed to be the Son of God, but you did not know about Him.
Or you may have heard good things about Him, but did not think He still does those things. You did not know He personally cares for you, your child, your neighbor, and so much more. Hearing from the Bible for the first time ever has brought so much joy to your heart that you want to give your life to Christ. You want your child’s life to be dedicated too, and you pray with the volunteers that she recovers so she can hear the good news too. You want her to know she is welcome to know Jesus.
When We Welcome the Unreached
This is just one scenario that could take place in thousands of different ways each day. When we welcome unreached peoples, we not only extend care and kindness to them, but we share the good news of Jesus. They get to see it expressed through us as well. For many–especially those who have endured war, famine, or other serious issues, this might be first certain good news they have heard in a while. It encourages them and bolsters their faith. They believe God is with them as they learn about health concepts in a way they had not heard before. They believe it is possible to make new habits. It seems true that things will get better. Some may have heard naysaying about their situations. Now they can listen to someone who speaks with the voice of reason and feel courageous faith burgeoning from within.
When someone is welcomed not only with help they may have hoped for, but with the Source of all hope, something changes. It’s not just another day they hoped for anymore. It’s the beginning of a brand new life. Some troubles may be the same, but now they know God. Their perspective is filling up with faith even if they do not see the precise result they expected just yet. They welcome God and tell other people all about Him.
Would You Like to Welcome the Unreached Too?
There are people all over the world who have yet to hear the truth about Jesus. Many of them also have other unmet needs. One way we are able to help them is by providing medical care they may lack access to. If you believe you would like to be a part of supporting our endeavor by volunteering to join a medical missions trip, check out the Volunteer page on our website. Donors are appreciated too, if you believe you’re called to give and would like to. You also are welcome to learn more about us by reaching out to us here or on our Facebook page, Mission Partners for Christ. We want you to know that we are thankful for you and you are welcome here.
Vision Care is Vital
Vision care is a global medical need. In underserved countries, treatment can mean the difference between patients being able to feed their families or not. Women need glasses to help them see finer details while they sew or make jewelry. Children need to be able to see in school or to play or help their families. Parents need to be able to see the water they draw up or the ingredients going into the foods they prepare. Everyone who drives motorcycles needs to be able to recognize road signs or dangers up ahead.
Mission Partners for Christ is blessed to partner with other organizations to cover the costs of glasses that go to people in countries with less access to basic vision care. We are excited to be able to go to places like Burundi where we can play a role in helping people get what may be their very first pair of glasses! When they participate in basic vision care tests, we are able to present charts that are written in their language. They get to read John 3:16 on one of the charts, and be encouraged maybe for the first time, in knowing that God loves them.
The Global Vision Care Crisis
When we partner with organizations that provide glasses or vision care items, we bring valuable medical care to people who need it. We possibly play a role in decreasing mortality rates and also in limiting the spread of serious diseases. When people can see better, they can make better choices with foods or they can possibly read new information. When they receive vision care tests, symptoms of diseases or other serious issues can be found and treated.
According to World Health Organization (WHO), as of 2019, about 2.2 billion people worldwide have some form of vision impairment. Of that number, about 1 billion people have a preventable impairment. This means if the individuals had adequate, timely access to vision care, they might not have lost their sight.
Vision Care in Burundi
Burundi has been recovering from a past civil war and still experiences some barriers to preventive health care. Due to cost, many of the population postpone visiting the doctor or seeking emergency health care treatment until late in the course of an illness, injury, or condition. So if a child has glaucoma and develops a cataract, it might not be immediately noticed and then expediently treated. Or if a parent develops diabetes or lupus, vision impairments can be one of the first symptoms of a serious level of disease. If the parent is undertreated for diabetes or lupus, a vision care test can be life-saving!
The work we will be doing in partnership with others in Burundi and Benin is essential. It is one way to help their nations achieve global right to sight goals while also sharing the good news of Jesus Christ.
Life-Saving Intervention is Worth It
Burundi may seem so far away from the United States, but when you hear about what is going on there and the need for vision care, you might be stirred to participate or give in some way. There are multiple ways to give–you can donate to us by going to the Donate page on our website or contacting us. Or you can pray for us and tell others about us. You can also volunteer to join us on a medical missions trip! To help with vision care, you do not necessarily need to have medical training. You can work in the triage or in other ways that help us provide basic vision care services to those in need.
Wonder how to fund your trip? There are multiple ways of funding your medical missions trip–it doesn’t all have to rest on you. Funding for many volunteers’ trips comes from themselves, church fundraisers, or family members. Friends also may host fundraisers and supporting you. There also might be scholarships or grants. Check out “Raising Funds for Your Medical Missions Trips” and “8 Fundraising Tips to Attend a Mission’s Trip Debt-Free” for great tips to help you include in your upcoming schedule the medical missions trips you have wanted to join.
There Is Still Time to Join Us
The deadline to apply for our Burundi opportunity is April 5–that’s around two months away. Two months will pass before you know it though, so it’s good to go ahead and sign up if you already know you want to join us. Feel free to reach out to us with any questions you may have. To go with us to Burundi, go to the Volunteer page on our website. You are also able to fund someone else’s trip if you’re moved to do so at this time.
We look forward to hearing from you!