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
MissionPartnersforChrist.com
Facebook.com/MissionPartnersforChrist
Twitter.com/mission_partner

 

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.

hopeWhen 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, the potential impact of medical mission trips is huge.

Here are three key reasons why medical missions trips are worth the cost:

  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 can create long term transformations in the communities we serve.

The key to long term impact from short-term medical missions trips is to develop lasting relationships with the communities we want to serve. Long term relationships can be challenging to develop during a 1-2 week trip so It’s essential to partner with a local organization that’s already embedded in the community and will stay connected long after our medical missions team returns to the US.

Of course, we also know that sharing the message of Jesus can immediately transform lives, and it’s always our goal to  change lives spiritually and physically.

  1. Healthcare professionals can further develop their skills.

Certain diseases and conditions that we encounter on our trips are less common in the US. For example, thousands of people in Tanzania test positive for malaria each year but it’s rare for patients in the US to present with malaria in most clinics or hospital settings. Treating people with these conditions expands the providers experience and helps lower the negative impact these conditions have on both the individual and the community.

Setting up temporary health clinics in rural underserved areas presents unique challenges for the team. Working through translators in unfamiliar cultures will also stretch our team members while building new skills and self-confidence. 

So yes, joining a medical missions trip is not cheap, but the potential impact to both the medical team and the people we serve makes it more than worth the financial investment.

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.

Thinking about joining a trip but not sure how to pay for it? There are lots of creative ways to raise money such as crowdfunding and fundraising opportunities.  Click here to learn about a few of our favorite ways to raise funds for your medical missions trip or click here to get more information about upcoming trips!

You Are Welcome

You Are Welcome

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.



Dental Care is a Medical Need Too

Dental Care is a Medical Need Too

In the United States, if our mouth hurts when we sip our morning cup of coffee, many of us might set up a dental appointment. When we chip a tooth, we call the dentist. Within an hour’s notice, our tooth can be repaired. Antibiotics or pain medication prepare us to be healthier or safer for the dentist to work on. We go to see the dentist multiple times per year for regular dental care. It’s such a blessing and benefits us to be able to eat and drink in healthy ways that support our immune systems, muscles, minds, and whole health. We don’t always think of it, but it really can be a tremendous thing for our lives.

Medical Need

This privilege of dental care access is not the case for many around the world. There are countries where there are no toothbrushes in the majority of households. Those in extreme pain or medical need may use a stick or rock to prod or remove the affected tooth. This can cause infection, injuries, or other serious health problems. Something as simple as the shape of one’s jaw or the bones in one’s face can also make eating or drinking painful or difficult. According to the WHO Africa website, as many as one in five children in Africa has suffered from a form of oro-dental/facial trauma. That is just in one region of the world.

It’s easy to see there is a serious medical need for all kinds of dental work worldwide. In many countries, though, dental schools are not only an issue of affordability but of availability. For some, there simply might not be a nearby school to study and practice. A student in the United States could choose to go to a fairly close university or dental school to train.

Fortunately, there are volunteers here and overseas who work alongside trained medical professionals to help people receive good dental care and antibiotics or medications they might need. Global medical outreaches can help bring good dental care to people who may never have seen a dentist before or who don’t have access to one. Mission Partners for Christ has worked with others in some of these outreaches. We are thankful for the dental volunteers who join us on missions trips.

Good Dental Care Matters

Good dental care help us have a healthy smile when we greet one another. It helps prevent serious illnesses from medical issues like infection or malnutrition. We bring hope in numerous ways when we address this medical need. It’s a blessing that there are groups and volunteers who come together to support this important type of health care. If you are a dentist or dental hygienist and are interested in joining us on a future trip or supporting us in another way, please go to our Mission Partners for Christ website and find out how you can join us today.

The Adventure of a Lifetime

The Adventure of a Lifetime

The adventure of a lifetime

The adventure of a lifetime often begins with a vision and a decision from the heart covered in prayer. Whether it’s for your community or another region of the world, we often dream of meaningfully impacting the others’ lives.

Mission Partners for Christ grew out of a desire to see our global neighbors potentially know of Christ’s love for them, and be able to live healthy lives through access to free medical care. The then future founder went on her first medical missions trip and encountered enormous need in different regions of the world. Soon Mission Partners for Christ was born.

Where hope and faith have taken us over the years

Each team member who has ever volunteered has been to many places around the world and in their own communities. We have our eyes on the eternal, the future of those we serve, and on the “right now” of each person too. Through partnership with other like-minded organizations, we help make good health possible for people in remote places, places impacted by violence and war, and other serious issues. Every person we serve is special–precious in God’s sight and in ours.

We have been to Liberia, Ethiopia, Haiti, Senegal, Ivory Coast, Tanzania, Burkina Faso, and more. In 2021, we are going to Burundi, Benin, and Central Africa. The adventure of a lifetime has taken us to many places where we at first hoped and prayed to go.

While there are other ways we assist with meeting those needs, such as paying for shipments of supplies or working closely with organizations in other countries to bring solar-powered wells to remote communities, there are set things we offer each time we go on a medical missions trip too.  For example, we offer foods that supplement the nutrition of those we serve in the medical clinics or elsewhere. So much more.

How do we get there from here?

Mission Partners for Christ is a 501-c3 nonprofit organization supported greatly in part through donations and volunteers. We could not do this all by ourselves. There is much work to be done. Planning and coordinating 3-5 medical missions trips per year. Growing in relationship with our partners here and around the world. Even more!

Many people like you support us other ways too. Some reach out to us and find out how to organize prayer groups or individually pray for us. Others ask what are some of our greatest needs. We have volunteers in the medical field who give from the heart their time and skills. Some help fundraise for their family members and friends who are going on trips with us. We appreciate everything–we thank you for helping us to “Share with the Lord’s people who are in need.” (Romans 12:9-13)

There are other ways to support Mission Partners for Christ

We at Mission Partners for Christ are thankful we can be a part of a medical missions ministry that serves thousands of people in regions of the world where medical care is at times difficult to obtain due to war, violence, access to resources, or other reasons. Through partnership with other ministries and organizations, volunteers, and generous donors like you, we are able to continue serving each year.

When you go to our website’s Donate page, you’ll find there are different giving levels.

One is The Nutritionist. At the $25 per month Nutritionist giving level, we are able to provide chewable vitamins for every child on one of our mission trips. At the Nurse giving level, which is $50 per month, we are able to provide up to 333 treatments for infection on one of our medical mission trips. 

The $75 per month Cobbler giving level provides 60 children with their first pair of shoes. The $100 per month Protector giving level provides malaria medication needed to treat malaria on our medical missions trips. One health care professional’s medical missions trip is funded at the Benefactor level of $200 per month,

As always, there are options to give in any other amount you want to give too! Giving is easy. You can give one time or you can give monthly. We are thankful for however you choose to give. Your gift helps us share about Jesus in places that may be unreached, and offer free medical care to those who may lack access to it.

We are thankful

We are thankful now and every day of the year for the ability to do what we do. Your support–in any form that you are able to–is always appreciated.

Whether you one day join us on a medical missions trip, pray for us, give financially, help us partner with other organizations for future trips, help your friend or family member fundraise for their trips–whichever ways you support us–we are grateful.

Thank you!

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 our website, Mission Partners for Christ, to learn how you can be part of what we are doing in this season.

 

Celebrating New Wells in Burundi

Celebrating New Wells in Burundi

Celebrating new wells in Burundi

Celebrating new wells in Burundi! Though COVID-19 may have changed our plans to go to Burundi this year, it could not stop this new beautiful reason to rejoice: clean water from new wells in a remote village in Burundi.

How we got started on this project 

About 18 months ago, we started communicating with the national director of an established organization that is truly invested in the communities where they serve. We discovered they served in parts of Burundi that have limited access to medical care. 

Originally we agreed to go with a medical team to serve there, but due to the global COVID-19 pandemic’s impact on travel this year, the trip has been rescheduled. However, we continued talking with the director there of that organization in Burundi, and found out that there was no clean water nearby for the people in the region we had planned to visit. This was concerning to us, as water is important for one’s health. 

Four new wells 

We agreed to partner with the organization in Burundi on a solar-powered well project. Four new wells were installed in four parts of Burundi. We are happy to announce the communities have been using them for a little over a week! 

People who live in remote villages often must walk a long way to where they can obtain water. Then they carry it home. Placing a well in these four new locations provides a new water source for 780 families in Northern Burundi. Children who could not go to school due to concerns about COVID-19 can now go because they have access to clean water.

The people rejoice

You can see in the video from Mission Partners for Christ’s Facebook page that the people are happy. May this new water be a huge blessing in their lives, providing them with good water to drink, cook, clean, and be healthy. We rejoice with you and keep you in our prayers!

Would you like to learn more about Mission Partners for Christ? You can find out how to join us on our trip to Burundi on our website. We look forward to partnering with you!