Medical missions trips can be a great source of inspiration, education, and even adventure while we serve others and release new blessings into their lives. If you’ve never been part of a team, you probably have questions and concerns about how to help people without falling into white savior mode. If you’re unfamiliar with that term white savior, you can read more about what that means here.
The primary difference between a medical missions trip that helps, and one that hurts, is knowing this trip is not for or about us. These trips are ultimately about serving other people by helping them be healthier. It’s all about individual and community empowerment. While immersed in other cultures, nations, or regions, there are three key things to remember that will help you serve others well on your first medical missions trip.
1) Be Sensitive to the Moment As You Serve
It’s natural to want to remember the sights and sounds of the moments we spent with others. While we are on the medical missions trip, we can jot down notes to aid us in journaling and writing supportive fundraising content once we are home and take lots of pictures. We often want to be able to show friends and family how we were able to serve others and what it was like so they can understand the mission and support it. When we are photographing scenic views and momentous events or people, we want to be sure we have permission to include everything or anyone.
There may be some places you go on your first medical missions trip where we need to be especially sensitive in this regard, so if you’re unsure, ask your group’s leaders, the person you are talking with, and study about the culture and any context or specific regional information you may need to know prior to going on the trip.
When we take pictures or write about what we experience on these trips, it’s important to have the right heart. We are not the savior of anyone.
How we present where we’ve been is a reflection of who we are. We need to go with hearts fully set on loving others where they are and serving them rather than making ourselves look good. Trust in the organization is built up with others when we show we honor and respect them and everything anyone does in the group can build trust.
2) Be Generous With Gratitude
Inviting a medical missions team into your community takes a lot work and isn’t always the most convenient. The people on the ground have likely spent months organizing, planning, and connecting with people in the community. When on your first medical missions trip it’s important to not center your sacrifices or work. Give praise and thanks generously, but make sure it is genuine.
Recognize that true partnership will only happen if you choose to value the people, places, resources, and customs in the community you’re serving. Listen well and don’t assume that different means lesser. Choosing gratitude softens our hearts and keeps our ego in check. Simple things like being willing to try unfamiliar things and really listening to what people are saying will go a long way in developing impactful relationships.
3) Focus on The People You Are There To Serve, Not Yourself
The biggest mistake people make on medical missions trips is to focus on self. This trip isn’t about you. It’s about the people you are there to serve and it’s about supporting the work of the local partners. So let them be the focus of your thoughts and actions. Worry less about how this will impact you in the moment and process that after the trip. Thinking about the people you’re serving will help you be fully present which is crucial to actually making a difference.
Listening to people with open ears and an open heart is the first step. If we put our focus on listening to understand, we may learn something while at the same time conveying our respect and honor of others and their unique situations.
You may not always speak the language of the people where you’re going on a medical missions trip, and they may not speak yours perfectly either, so it’s a good idea to make arrangements for a reliable translator who has years of ongoing fluency in the language of the people. The internet connection or wifi in a place may only have a certain amount of bandwidth. If there are any confusing phrases or words that cannot simply be Googled, translators can help you.
Are You Ready to Serve on Your First Medical Missions Trip?
We would love to meet you and help you explore this exciting area of ministry. Click on Volunteer to read about upcoming trips and how you can get involved!
Do you need some questions answered before you say yes to your first medical missions trip? We’d love to answer your questions about joining our team. Click here to submit your question via our contact page. We look forward to hearing from you!
If you’re considering joining a medical missions team you’ve probably noticed people have a lot to say about the risks and benefits of medical mission work. Mission Partners For Christ has led dozens of teams in recent years and this post shares the top 4 reasons why we go on medical missions trips:
1. Medical Missions Trips Can Transform Lives
People receive access to much-needed medical care, screening, and medication. Educating people on their health risks and conditions empowers them to optimize their health by reducing risks and controlling symptoms wherever possible. When we speak with wisdom, love, and hope, it contributes to physical, spiritual, and emotional health. Our teams work with local partners to make sure that the work we do empowers people to care for themselves and their loved ones. We constantly see God move through our volunteers and pop-up clinics in a powerful ways that go well beyond the services we provide. When we go on medical missions trips, we make a difference that reverberates eternally.
2. Access to Health Care And Education Is Expanded
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.
3. Your Story Will Inspire Others To Join In
When other people see or hear about the how your trip impacted the community you visited, they’re going to start thinking about getting involved. Asking why we go on medical missions trips is crucial to expanding our impact and serving more communities. There’s always room for more people to join a medical missions team, offer financial support, or support us in prayer but they won’t join in if they are not made aware of the opportunity.
4. Jesus Is The Heart Of Why We Go On Medical Missions Trips
There are a lot of people who still haven’t heard about Jesus and it keeps us up at night. Jesus loves people and cares about everything that concerns or pertains to their lives. For us, serving on a medical missions team is how we love our neighbor as we love ourselves. Investing in the communities we serve, empowering people to move towards health, and supporting local partners honors people and God in powerful ways. So the biggest reason we do this work is because we long to serve for, with, and through Jesus.
We LOVE serving on international teams because we know the tremendous impact we can have. What are some of your reasons to do this work? We’d love to hear from you over on the Mission Partners for Christ Facebook page.
Although the world has spent much of the last year focused on COVID-19, we are just now beginning to see the data on how the pandemic has impacted our most vulnerable communities.
In short, the report is not good. World health experts are reporting that the impact of the pandemic varies widely depending on the income level of the people in that community. Many of the communities we serve, often the most impoverished with grossly under-served medical needs, have been deeply impacted by the pandemic.
Which means that now, more than ever, the work we do can make a huge difference for the people we treat at our free medical clinics.
Here are just a few of the reasons Mission Partners is committed to continuing efforts to provide free medical care in underserved communities:
1. “Healthcare disruptions due to COVID-19 could reverse decades of improvements, the UN says. This could result in hundreds of thousands of additional under-five deaths this year.”(source) More boots on the ground are needed to shore up medical providers in overwhelmed communities. Short term medical mission trips like the ones we create provide basic treatment, education, and preventative care. This free care lessens the financial burden on individuals who need it.
2. “Over 40% of countries have fewer than 10 medical doctors per 10,000 people.”(source) There simply are not enough providers to meet the healthcare needs of people in the impoverished areas our teams visit. Short term medical mission teams can provide much needed support whole longer term initiatives work to solve the lack of provider problem. Our medical teams can lighten the load of the local healthcare providers allowing them to stretch their resources further.
3. “The latest World Health Organization (WHO) ‘pulse survey’,1 conducted in almost 135 countries, shows that the SARS-CoV-2 pandemic continues to severely disrupt the delivery of health services – with services for neglected tropical diseases (NTDs) disrupted in 44% of countries.”(source) NTDs are a group of parasitic, viral, and bacterial diseases that impact large numbers of people living well below the poverty line. The often painful and easily spread diseases can make it hard to work, farm, or attend school. The WHO and other health experts have targeted efforts to reduce NTDs because of the direct connection between these illnesses and poverty. The COVID-19 travel bans and overwhelmed health system have hampered efforts to stop NTDs.
4. “The pandemic is estimated to have driven between 119 and 124 million more people into extreme poverty last year.” (source) More people falling into extreme poverty means a greater number of people at risk for chronic illness due to lack of affordable and accessible medical care. While we cannot fix the problem of extreme poverty, we can offer support to those facing it by offering free care at our clinics. Our teams partner with local organizations who can continue to offer additional support to our patients long after our teams return to the US.
5. “The World Meteorological Organization reported that 2020 was one of the hottest years on record during the hottest decade on record. Not only do these disasters affect food security and nutrition, but regions with high food insecurity are also facing significant health challenges from preventable diseases.”(source)
Food insecurity increases the likelihood of malnutrition and related health conditions. Our teams provide screening, treatment, nutritional education, and supplements to those who need them. The local organizations we partner with also continue to bolsters the community with nutritional education and support as food insecurity increases.
The needs are significant but with faithful medical mission team volunteers and generous donors like you we will continue to partner with local organizations to provide medical care, education, and preventative treatment in under-served communities.
Can we count on your support? Click here to give or click here to find out more about our next trip.
Hope for all seasons is what we bring with us when we go on medical missions trips.
Mission Partners for Christ is grateful to be partnering with great people from all over the world who share a vision to bring medical care and hope to people who need it. Teamwork, communication, dedication, prayer, and more help things come together while we serve. It is so exciting that we are able to make a difference!
Hope for the hungry
This year, we were able to partner with Hope for Burkina Futures and with Rise Against Hunger. Rise Against Hunger provided meals to Hope for Burkina Futures. Mission Partners for Christ covered the shipping costs of the meals. We are glad to say that 1320 boxes went out in a shipping container and over 880 boxes of food were distributed to about 5200 people or 750 families. That’s a lot of food!
What is unique about the food distribution through Hope for Burkina Futures is that the families who were served had been displaced due to terrorism and violence in their nation. According to the U.S. Department of State website which you can go to read more about this, there has been a sharp increase in terrorism activities since 2019. Thousands of people lost their homes as a result. You could probably imagine that this would be disheartening for those impacted. The spread of disease, loss of access to public services, and other types of violence also increased. Christian activity is not encouraged in Burkina Faso, so it is an extra blessing that we were able to be part of bringing hope into a dark situation. This is just one example of the work that Mission Partners for Christ is doing in this season.
How can God use you to share hope in this season?
Each and every one of us can be used by God in this season to His love to people. We can pray. Another thing we can do is pray that people will come to know Jesus as their Lord and Savior. We can find hope and peace in Jesus and by studying the Bible, and share what we learn. We can learn more about the various organizations we can give to during this time. With hope, we will be able to travel on medical missions trips in 2021. We are currently thankful for the ways that are available to support our partners and people in places like Burkina Faso.
Would you like to learn more about Mission Partners for Christ? You are welcome to visit and follow our Facebook page, Mission Partners for Christ, and also to go to this link to learn how you can be part of what we are doing in this season.
“Gratitude is the memory of the heart.” This is a beautiful quote attributed to Jean Massieu, a 19th century educator who pioneered in building schools for the deaf.
At the time he lived, many people around the world had both similar and different needs than those we have today. New medicines, equipment, and practices were under development. Old diseases were studied, just as COVID-19 is currently being studied. The world was in a time of change and growth, and this is where we are today as well. The people in those times expressed gratitude and rejoiced over new discoveries and changes in life, and we can do this now too.
We have put together a collection of quotes on gratitude and joy to encourage you as you prepare to serve in new and greater ways than you may have first imagined.
Give Thanks in All Things
We serve a loving God who has overcome the world. We can give thanks in all situations and know with 100% certainty that even if it was not God who brought something to us, He’s got it more than covered.
There is Joy in Giving
We have found this to be true too. When we give through service, medical care, resources, kindness, encouragement, laughter, stories and testimonies–we are giving freely from what God has given us to share with others. It’s a true joy to give.
Joy and Thanks Highlight Daily Blessings
Have you ever been in the middle of a routine household task like mowing the yard or sprinkling cool water on the garden and someone walking through the neighborhood called out to you a compliment on your efforts? Were you instantly flooded with joy and gratitude for how blessed you are to be doing those very things in that moment? We have experienced this too, and we find this constant joy in the midst of ordinary moments supports our goals in ministry and life in general.
Rejoice With Those Who Are Glad
It’s so important to celebrate every victory! Rejoice with those who have received healing, and with those who are happy and thankful for what they are receiving and what they are giving. Let our gladness be a beautiful song of joy and praise that brings glory to God.
By This They Will Know
Not everyone around us may be believers, but they will know who we are for Christ as we live in a way that invites them to join us in giving thanks, praise, and prayer in all things.
The Source of Our Gratitude and Joy Never Runs Dry
Our joy comes from a source unlike any other. It’s not manufactured anyplace and we don’t have to wait for it to be transported from another part of the country. We’ve got access to it right now, and it’s perpetually in stock.
God is Always at Work Behind the Scenes
For all the things we do see, there are many more we don’t. We can be assured of God’s movement and protection in all these areas, even in difficult times. Let’s always be thankful and aware of our blessings and opportunities at home, work, personal development, leadership, and in ministry.
We Are All in This Together
We pray your summer is full of joy and thanks. There are changes taking place in many aspects of life due to the outbreak of COVID-19, but we are also hopeful for everything else going on this year. There are still so many things to give thanks for and so many ways we still can be of good cheer and serve others.
Would you like to learn more about joining our team?
There is still time to register for our November mission’s trip to Benin. If you’re interested in learning more about our trip to Benin, have a look here. If you have any questions, click here to submit your question via our contact page. We appreciate you reaching out to us and look forward to speaking with you about how you can be part of Mission Partners for Christ.
As you start learning more about medical missions trip opportunities, you’ll notice the cost is somewhat high. One thing to remember about this and about life in general, though, is to do anything meaningful, there will be a cost associated with it–whether it’s economical or other resources.
Mission Partners for Christ is blessed to partner with other organizations to actually cover the costs of the medical supplies associated with our trips.
Medical missions trips are always worth the cost because people in need are served with the health care and other resources they otherwise might be inaccessible to them. Entire regions often benefit long-term from our short-term decisions to visit with them and provide some of the supportive care they need. We are excited to be able to go to places like Benin and Burundi for this reason.
The Healthcare Crises in Burundi and Benin
When we go on medical missions trips, we provide valuable medical care to people who need it. We possibly play a role in decreasing mortality rates and in limiting the spread of serious diseases. This is one reason why it’s imperative to go to places new to us and establish ongoing relationships with those who live where we will serve.
For example, malaria cases doubled in Burundi in 2016. According to World Health Organization (WHO), during the last year of recorded reports, nearly 6 million inhabitants were diagnosed with the disease, and around 4000 perished. 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.
CDC Benin reports that malaria is the second top cause of death in Benin. The first is neonatal disorders. There are ongoing programs to help with malaria prevention, including some that help pregnant patients with malaria.
The work we will be doing in partnership with others in Burundi and Benin later this year is essential. It’s going to be a small part of a real, lasting change.
Life-Saving Intervention is Worth It
Burundi and Benin may seem so far away from the United States where we often have more than enough resources and a safe, sanitary environment to treat patients. Still, the situations we are called to serve in are real. Medical missions volunteers are needed.
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, family members or friends also hosting fundraisers and supporting them, and through other means such as scholarships or grants.
The sooner you begin the fundraising work, the sooner you have it all covered, but sometimes it’s right up to the last moment–so don’t give up hope entirely if you don’t have it all immediately. Volunteers also plan around the trip and may choose to make certain adjustments to their current routines.
Volunteer Forever is one organization known to offer scholarship opportunities that facilitate a volunteer’s earnest desire to serve on medical missions trips no matter the cost. Life-saving intervention is worth it, and volunteers will never regret the decision to serve.
There Is Still Time to Join Us
The deadline to apply for our Burundi opportunity was June 1. You are still able to fund someone else’s trip if you’re moved to do so at this time. Click here to submit your questions about this via our contact page. If you are interested in going to Benin with us this November, there is still time to apply. You can go here to do that.