Social media adds another element to a mission trip. It’s a great way to share more about the organization you are working with and highlight its impact. But there are many times when I see pictures of people’s mission trip experience on social media that send a message that is probably the opposite of what they are intending. Of course, we want to share with others what happens when we are out being the hands of feet of Jesus, but we have to be sure that what we are posting on social media puts the spotlight on God’s work and the beauty in the people instead of making ourselves the hero of the story.
It’s up to us to humble ourselves and be sure we are giving the glory to God and not ourselves as we can only make a difference through His grace in our lives.
Here are a few tips for using social media during a mission trip:
1. Don’t position yourself as the hero.
Celebrate the ministry as a whole and what they are doing! Instead of posting a picture of you working on a new building for a village or passing out resources to a crowd of children, think through how that comes across to people. Does it show them the big picture? What kind of emotion will that bring up in a person who sees that portrayed? Instead, position yourself in a place that tells the whole story and supports instead of “saves.”
2. Use social media to connect
The last time I was overseas, I was in a third-world country and was shocked at the number of people who lived in poverty but had a cell phone. They didn’t have clean water, but they had Facebook pages! This kept me in check knowing that they were going to see what I posted and the way I told my story. It also gave me a chance to connect with them and build long-term relationships. Try to reach out to people after the trip and stay in touch! Remember to only speak about them in an empowering way when you share on your social media. It would have been hurtful to post a picture of my friends and talk about the sadness in what they lacked. Instead, I focused on all they had to offer the world and the honor it was to meet them and know them.
3. Be where your feet are
This is just a reminder to be present on the mission trip and not glued to taking pictures or making social media posts. You want to be sure you remember the experience and not just from what you wrote or can view later in life. Take photos sparingly and only if it’s for the purpose of showing others to God or remembering a time when He was working in you.
Social media can be a great tool for sharing a message, so don’t let this discourage you from using it. Just keep these things in mind when sharing and post away!
When we are called to serve, it’s usually inconvenient. We aren’t called into a comfortable place of service; instead, we are called into discomfort. But those who want to serve want to do it well despite the discomfort they may feel. Here are 4 Ways To Serve Others Well!
To learn more about how to step outside of your comfort zone during a missions trip, read this post.
1. Be the servant.
As obvious as this one sounds, we often approach serving others from the position of “better than.” We think we are superior and focus on what we can offer and how much of a difference we can make, but if we want to serve others well, we have to view ourselves as a servant. We are all equal in the eyes of God and we all have something to share and learn from one another.
Read our post about servant leadership here.
2. Listen and learn.
When you listen to and learn from those you are serving, you may quickly find that what they need is completely different than what you are giving. For example, if you are meeting someone’s physical needs and they are talking about loneliness or a lack of purpose they feel in life, you’ll soon realize that the person also needs mental and spiritual support! On the other hand, if you’re preaching and serving a group of people and notice a group of hungry children in the corner asking for food, you’ll learn that they need to eat before they can take in anything you are trying to teach them.
Far too many times a mission team has gone to build a home or update a school in an impoverished place but only takes a few minutes of their time to look into the eyes of the people and be open to what they can teach the team. When you choose to serve on a medical missions team, you receive the amazing opportunity to work one-on-one with people. Ask them their stories! Learn about their culture, their needs, and what their individual gifts. We are all given gifts from the Lord and being able to use those gifts is an empowering experience.
3. Serve with sacrifice.
As mentioned above, service is uncomfortable and often inconvenient. It requires giving of yourself and pouring into others. Service requires sacrifice. If you want to serve well, you must be willing to sacrifice. You’ve positioned yourself as a servant and have listened to the needs of others. Now it’s time to figure out how to meet those needs. This may mean changing your agenda. Maybe it means staying up late to share a meal with someone you meet on the trip and listen to their story. Sacrifice could mean working longer hours because more people show up to receive medical attention than originally expected. Maybe it means making a plan for when you return home to continue the impact by making others aware of your experience and the people who need continued support. Whatever it looks like, be sure that on your trip you are serving well by sacrificing yourself for others.
Remember: “Loving people the way Jesus did means living a life filled with constant interruptions.” -Bob Goff
4. Help grow the planted seed.
A missions trip plants a seed, but the seed needs special care to grow! There are many ways to continue making a difference for those you are serving after you plant the seed. This can be done through making others aware of the needs and the mission, as mentioned above. We have a list of ways you can help the seeds you plant grow!
Read this post: 3 Ways To Continue Supporting Mission Trips Upon Your Return
Now that you know how to serve well, it’s time to join our next Mission’s Trip Team! Join today!
Did you know that 3 billion people have never had a gospel witness? World Mission delivers the Word of God in audio format via “The Treasure” to oral learners living in unreached places. They seek to fulfill Mark 16:15: “And then he told them,‘Go into all the world and preach the Good News to everyone.’”
Today, 40% of all the people groups or nations in the world still remain unreached. “The Treasure” is a solar digital audio player. It is smaller than an iPhone and weighs 2.4 ounces. The device is easy to use. Each unit can hold up to 800 hours of audio material. It contains the entire New Testament and can also hold Old and New Testament stories, the story of Jesus, and the God story. There are thousands of languages available.
1. Where We Reach:
The people we reach live in a geographic area in the Eastern Hemisphere commonly known as the 10/40 Window. This area holds 2/3 of the world’s population and is the rectangular area of North Africa, the Middle East, and Asia. The 10/40 Window is often called “The Resistant Belt” because it includes the majority of the world’s Muslims, Hindus, and Buddhists. Eight out of ten of the world’s poorest people live in these areas.
To make it simple, get a map and draw a line from Senegal in West Africa to the Philippines in Asia. This is the main area where we send Treasures.
2. Who We Reach:
Our main mission is to reach those who would not otherwise hear the Gospel. Surprisingly, 6,685 of all nations are considered to be “unreached” yet they are only receiving less than 1% of the funding given to missions.
Many of the villages where we hold our medical outreaches have people who are illiterate. By providing a Treasure, it provides the opportunity for them to hear the gospel for the first time in their language. We are grateful for the partnership of World Mission. To learn more about the Treasure, click here.
3. How We Reach:
World Mission doesn’t just rush into a mission without first spending a lot of time in prayer and seeking wisdom about the needs of the nation. They do not run into darkness without first seeking light. We know that the Word of God changes lives, so we reach others through bringing nations the Bible in their own language through The Treasure. We also know that more than 70% of the people in these nations are oral learners and do not know how to read, so the best way to bring God’s Word to them is through audio. Read more about The Treasure here.
With access to a Treasure, people are given to hear the gospel for the first time in their language and to know that God speaks everyone’s languages. We are grateful for the partnership of World Mission and hope you will get involved in partnering as well! Each Treasure, which costs $50, reaches approximately 144 people with the life-changing power of the gospel. The more Treasures sent, the more people reached! Send treasures with us on our next mission’s trip!
Access to health care is something many people take advantage of in Western countries. We don’t realize that, though health care can always be improved, we are fortunate to have the number of doctors for the number of people that we do.
From an article in World Atlas, this chart shows the countries with the fewest doctors per millions of people. You can see the results below:
The article states, “In Liberia, the worst case presented on this list, there are essentially ten doctors for every million people. As you move down the list, Guinea fares little better at 100 physicians per million people. In contrast, high-income OECD countries like the United States, Canada, and the United Kingdom, boast figures closer to 3,000 doctors per million people.”
Though these countries are some of the poorest in the world, they still deserve quality and accessible healthcare! But because they are some of the poorest in the world, the resources are few. Education and training are harder to attain, and for those who do gain access to training, there are few resources to do their job well and the financial benefits are nowhere near what they would be if they worked in another country. According to the British Medical Journal, “African countries have lost about $2.6 billion dollars training doctors who are now living in western countries. A staggering 25 to 50 percent of African-born doctors are working overseas.” This statistic is devastating to health care in the countries that are losing their trained physicians.
For those doctors who do stay in African countries many serve only those who can afford their services. So there is a service discrepancy where the majority of people in the country are not receiving the care they desperately need. There are major consequences to this discrepancy. There are women who suffer childbirth complications and never receive help. There are men, women, and children who struggle with lifelong disease or pain that could be cured or treated if only they could receive the help they need. There are also many cases of preventable disease that affect those who are unable to get vaccinations or aren’t educated on proper prevention.
When asked about what can be done to improve healthcare in African countries, WHO’s regional director for Africa, Dr. Matshidiso Moeti, said, “Countries should strengthen the leadership and governance of health sectors to gain the confidence of all stakeholders. Governments should be more innovative in raising revenues from domestic sources and ensuring that all of their populations have access to essential health services. They should also improve the quality of health services and the safety of patient and health workers, and build partnerships with civil society and other partners in order to expand access. Investing in district and community health systems should be a priority that can contribute towards universal health coverage”
Another way to help is by supporting organizations like Mission Partners for Christ in sending trained physicians into places that would otherwise not have access to healthcare. We may not be able to help all, but we can still help many with each and every medical missions trip we take.
You can help support what we do to make a difference:
“And my God will supply all your needs according to His riches in glory in Christ Jesus.” –Philippians 4:19
When you are on the mission field, you will see a lot of people who have less than what you have when it comes to personal belongings. You may even see a lot of poverty depending on the location you are serving. It is easy to see these things and start to believe that the Lord isn’t providing for these people.
You may feel sadness or even guilt if you compare your “blessings” to theirs. But a perspective shift has to happen. First of all, blessings come in more forms than “stuff.” Secondly, You have to believe that if YOU care about the suffering, pain, or needs that you see around you, then God absolutely cares as well!
Take this story about Elijah for example:
“Now Elijah the Tishbite, from Tishbe in Gilead, said to Ahab, ‘As the Lord, the God of Israel, lives, whom I serve, there will be neither dew nor rain in the next few years except at my word.’ Then the word of the Lord came to Elijah: ‘Leave here, turn eastward and hide in the Kerith Ravine, east of the Jordan. You will drink from the brook, and I have ordered the ravens to feed you there.’ So he did what the Lord had told him. He went to the Kerith Ravine, east of the Jordan, and stayed there. The ravens brought him bread and meat in the morning and bread and meat in the evening, and he drank from the brook.” –1 Kings 17:1-7
The Lord took care of His child Elijah. But He didn’t just hand Elijah food and drink in the way we think God would do it. He had him drink out of a brook and be fed by scraps from the birds. God cares for His children in peculiar ways to bring glory to Him through the process!
So how does that story relate to what you may see on the mission field? It shows that God cares about all of His children and provides for their needs in ways that bring Him glory. And sometimes the way He takes care of others is through you and me! It may be peculiar for God to care for those in one country through the work of those from another, but He makes a way! One example is that God sends teams of people like groups from Mission Partners for Christ to care for the physical needs of those in Ethiopia, Liberia, or other locations. I bet people in those countries would have never imagined God caring for them in that peculiar way!
“Therefore do not be anxious, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For the Gentiles seek after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them all.” –Matthew 6:31-32
Though the Lord provides for our physical needs, the biggest need He promises to provide for is our need of grace. It’s a free gift we can receive and share with others at all times! Just like Elijah had to remind himself during times where he felt alone and hungry, “The ravens are coming!” we get to tell ourselves in times of hopelessness, “Jesus is coming!”
Are you retired or semi-retired and thinking about being more active in the missions field?
If so, this may be the perfect season for you to join a short-term medical missions team and bring physical, spiritual, and emotional healing to people around the world. Wondering if a medical missions trip is a good way for you to get involved? Here are our top 3 reasons we believe retirees are well suited for a short-term medical missions trip:
You have more control over your schedule than ever before!
Being retired means that you get to set your schedule. It’s also highly unlikely that you have young people at home needing rides, help with homework, or constant supervision. This frees up your evenings and weekends to travel locally or globally and serve. Many of our volunteers are still raising families and it can be harder for them to take medical missions trips while their kids are in school. If you’re an empty nester, you have the freedom and flexibility to take one or more short-term medical missions trips a year with our team!
You have so much valuable experience to share!
Our younger volunteers have not had as much time to develop the professional and life experience that you bring to the table. If you have been in the medical field for the last few decades, just think of how many thousands of hours you’ve spent honing your craft. You have learned how to make people feel important and seen while efficiently serving their medical needs. No matter if you have worked as support personnel or provided hands-on medical care, your expertise is desperately needed by the people we serve.
You have resources that younger people may not have.
Just like you have more control over your time, you also have fewer demands on your income than those in the midst of raising a family. Once the kids move out, the utilities drop and the food bill gets cut in half. There is a little more money in the bank at the end of the month. In addition to financial resources, retirees are more likely to have time for social or philanthropic groups that share passions. The groups you belong to can support you with prayer and even help you raise funds for your medical missions trip. It’s also possible that all of you could take a short-term medical missions trip together!
If you are considering a short-term medical missions trip, there’s no better time than right now to ask God for His input.
Mission work always starts with prayer and discerning God’s will for each of us in our current season! I’d love to invite you to take a first step towards joining a short-term medical missions trip by clicking here to choose which of our upcoming destinations pique your interest.
Do you need some questions answered before you say yes? We’d love to answer your questions about joining our team. Click here to submit your question via our contact page we will get back with you as soon as possible!