If you are new to the Mission Partners For Christ organization or haven’t heard of medical missions before, you might find yourself wondering, “what is the point of all of this?”
So many of us who are living in the USA (or other first-world nations), might find it difficult to empathize with the need for medical missions. Most of us can simply pick up the phone and make an appointment to see our primary care physicians. Most of us have also grown up with some amount of knowledge about health and how to care for our bodies.
It can be hard to see it, but many of us actually carry a great deal of privilege. We can take it for granted that, when we need it most, we can have access to medical care for ourselves and our families.
Many people around the world have never seen a medical professional before. Those who grow up in developing nations may also lack access to things like medication, proper foot or eyewear, or basic knowledge about nutrition or how to care for their bodies.
This is where organizations like Mission Partners For Christ come in.
We Provide Free Screenings and Treatments At Our Clinics
Did you know that some nations have only a handful of doctors to treat the thousands or millions of people who live there? The medical professionals who work in these places are dear and precious resources, but they become overwhelmed by the sheer number of people who need their expertise. That only includes those who are able to find the transportation and money necessary to see these medical experts. It is a privilege in many places to have access to any medical professional.
Many people live in remote villages and/or lack the resources to see a doctor due to the level of poverty around them.
Mission Partners For Christ goes exclusively to places where access to medical care is limited or non-existent for the people who live there. When we travel to a location, we work with our local partners who already have established relationships with the people who live in that area. Working together, we open free clinics that make healthcare accessible to all who need it. The doctors, nurses, and other medical professionals who volunteer with us spend hours each day meeting with people, screening them for health issues, and providing whatever treatment or medication is necessary.
We Provide Health Education To Those Who Need It
In a previous post, we discussed why health education matters in medical missions. It isn’t simply a way to teach people about their bodies and the growing bodies of their children, although that is extremely important. It’s also a way to help people connect with their bodies, and to give them a greater sense of agency and control over their lives. For many who have lived in impoverished nations, health education is a luxury that is simply not affordable.
Mission Partners For Christ is able to help bridge the gaps wherever they exist. We love nothing more than to help people understand better how to care for their bodies. We can teach them about proper nutrition and hygiene to prevent or manage serious illnesses. We can teach them how to prevent injuries by taking notice of the signals that their bodies are sending them and how to respond to those signals. We can teach them what are normal and healthy developments of growing bodies and when it’s time to get help from an expert.
We Share The Gospel With Those Who Have Never Heard It
We don’t just care for bodies on our medical mission trips, we also take the time to care for the souls of those people too. We go on these trips to love people in action and in truth, and so we make it a priority to share the gospel whenever we can.
When Mission Partners For Christ opens a free medical clinic to work with underserved communities, we don’t just see them as bodies to treat. We see them as souls who are deeply loved by the Creator of Heaven and earth and Who so desperately wants a personal relationship with each one of them.
Our medical mission trips have enabled us to share the saving gospel of Jesus Christ with countless thousands of people since our founding less than a decade ago. The ability to share the message of the Cross with the unreached is our motivating factor to do the work that we do.
After we leave a location, we remain in touch with our local partners and we often hear reports of how our work in these places has made lasting differences in the lives of those we interacted with. And we rejoice for the opportunity given to us, by God, to share Jesus with those who needed Him.
Would you like to make a lasting difference too? Consider how you might get involved with Mission Partners For Christ.
We also need people to consider supporting us financially – we can only do the work that we do because of generous people like yourself. Because Mission Partners For Christ is a 501c3 status nonprofit, your donations are tax-deductible.
Consider a commitment to holding our organization in prayer. We have a monthly prayer meeting that you can join. Contact us for more information on how to get involved.
Spread the word! You never know who in your network might be looking for a way to get involved in missions, and you might be the one person who gets to introduce them to Mission Partners For Christ and the work that we do!
Consider inviting Sheri to speak at your church or event. She has a wealth of experience to share about medical missions and is excited to introduce people to this way of sharing the gospel.
Did you learn anything new about medical missions? Leave us a comment and let us know!
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.
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.
Have You Ever Been Afraid to Do Something Because of Fear?
God had a unique and sure way to deal with my fear… and the answer came through participation on a short-term mission trip to Benín, Africa in November, 2021.
I had been to Africa once with Mission Partners for Christ. In October 2019, we had served in Ethiopia. Then there was a long pause on travel due to Covid. The Benín trip would be the first mission trip opportunity post-Covid, and I was so ready to serve again. But…there was a lot of FEAR about this trip.
In the forefront, was a fear of COVID and what that could mean for any of our team members. At that time, the travel rules were very strict, and if someone acquired Covid while in Africa, there was a likelihood that we would have to stay in Benín in quarantine, and I felt uneasy about all of the unknowns about this possibility. Also, I had some fear of Benín due to this country being the origin of voodoo. Honestly, I just didn’t have a good understanding of voodoo and if it could potentially impact or harm us.
I had prayed about the trip for weeks, and with every prayer, God’s answer was a solid YES, time after time!
God Used Unique Ways to Speak to Me
A few times, I would receive a text from a friend with a Bible verse about a specific fear or worry I had expressed to the Lord while praying about the trip earlier that very day. He used friends reaching out to me, saying they had been prompted by God to send me a note, text, call or Bible verse.
I even reached out to a Missions Pastor, to ask for some advice. He had very wise words for me. He said, “Stop staying in safe places…How can you be effective when you just choose to stay safe?” So I committed to the trip, literally, on the last day of the deadline to sign up.
Then the fear actually became worse. There were times, I would cry and feel so anxious, every time I thought of the trip. It was a crazy spiritual attack and I was so aware of that, but it was still ongoing. So I began to fight back! I began to speak the name of Jesus out loud, just so the enemy had to flee. I also began to perceive that God was about to do something huge, if the enemy was trying so hard to discourage me from going!
Volunteering in Benin
The actual mission trip itself in Benín was an amazing and stretching experience, as each mission trip that I have served on, has been.
We set up medical clinics in 4 remote villages and treated 2,155 people in 4 days, and 243 people accepted Christ!!
We had an incredible team consisting of 10 from America, and over 40 African partners who served with us. We worked long hours, we loved people deeply, by God’s grace -we served well, and we gave until we were empty. I remember a team member on the last day saying, “I don’t have anything left in me to give…I laid it all out there.” That was the common sentiment amongst all of us.
Then we got on the plane to head home, and right away I began asking God to fill me back up again so that I can do this over and over again.
So Where Did The Fear Go?
Do you realize that not once while we were in Benín did I experience fear? My fear stopped exactly 3 days before we left.
And it was replaced with a deep sense of pure peace. Just calmness. Assurance in the Lord. Security. A knowing. Like the saying goes, “when you know, you know.” I knew deep down that we were going WITH God.
I fully believe that the prayers of people around me helped to wash that fear away, as many, many were praying for us! Also, just the process of feeding your faith and starving DOUBT. Why should I ever doubt or worry?
In talking with others who have a desire to serve on a mission trip abroad, but haven’t yet, I commonly hear people say that they “don’t know if they have what it takes?” Many say they’re hesitant because of how far the travel to Africa is? Is it safe there? Where will we stay? Concern over clean water and food? All of these are natural questions….but is this fear or concern enough to stop you?
Now, let me share what happened AFTER the trip to Benín!
God Works Powerfully Through Medical Missions
Job 42:5 has come to mean a whole lot to me since returning from Benín. It says, “My ears had heard of you, but now my eyes have SEEN YOU!”
To me, this verse speaks about the conversion of knowing God with our HEAD, to knowing God with our HEART. Truly experiencing Him.
Due to our work in Benín, God has opened many doors for the Gospel. Over the past 11 months, since we served there, many new churches have been planted. There have been so many open doors for the spread of the Gospel. Clean water wells have been placed in 2 villages that we served in. Latrines have been placed in all 4 villages where we served. Missionaries and pastors have been encouraged and supported in their Gospel mission work. We have even seen 3 of the pastors receive motorbikes to enable them in their missionary work of spreading the Gospel!
To be able to fully comprehend ALL of the ways in which God is working things out for HIS purposes and HIS people in Benín, is what has allowed me a greater perspective of what these short-term trips are all about.
Some people will ask, “What can you really accomplish in one week?” The truth is, that the team is only on the ground for one week, but God is not working on our timetable! He is the master and creator of time. His word tells us “A day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years is like a day” (2 Peter 3:8). So we may have eyes to see the perspective of what we need to do in one week, but God is not bound by that week.
He is setting a lot of things in motion during that week while we are serving, but really, that is just the launch pad for what is coming in the weeks, months and years to follow. As I have often reflected on this trip, I literally am in AWE of how God used that week in Benín to stir up the Gospel in those 4 villages, and beyond.
And I have only mentioned what God did in Benin…I haven’t even talked about the spiritual growth that has happened to me since this experience, which has been, quite literally, a change in the trajection of my own Christian walk. I know now, why the enemy was stirring up fear. It is so obvious to me now. If he can stop us from going, he will do anything in his power to do so.
There have been several times since the Benín trip, that God has asked me to do something out of my comfort zone, and it only takes a brief reflection back on this trip, to give me the courage to say YES, and remember God’s faithfulness, on so many levels.
I want to encourage anyone who is considering going on a short-term trip abroad, just say yes!
Take a step of faith, and just trust the Lord to work things out. Nothing is too much in front of God, and there is absolutely nothing He cannot do!
As many of you know, Mission Partners For Christ is preparing to head to Guinea for our next medical missions trip – and we cannot wait! We are going to be serving a people group of more than 13,000 souls that are unreached with the gospel. We will provide health screenings, treatment, and health education during our time in Guinea.
For those who are joining us – or those thinking of joining us – it might be fun to learn a little bit about this area first. So here is a quick primer on the beautiful nation known as Guinea!
1. Guinea is a diverse nation
While the official language of Guinea is French, the country is also home to multiple language groups. While there, you might hear the following languages: Fulani, Susu, and Mandinka. source
2. Guinea is home to Africa’s Fourth Largest Mosque
In a nation where the dominant faith is Islam, it is unsurprising to discover that the fourth largest mosque – the largest in Sub-saharan Africa – is located in Conakry, Guinea, the capital city of the nation. The Grand Mosque of Conakry (also known as La Grand Mosquée de Conakry in Guinea’s official French language) opened in 1982. It features 2500 spaces on the upper level for women, 10,000 spaces on the lower level for men, and an additional 12,500 outside to accommodate bigger crowds. Source
3. Guinea Has Been an Independent Nation for Nearly 70 Years
Guinea became an independent country in 1956 under the leadership of President Ahmed Sékou Touré, but it was a long time coming. French, Portuguese, and British colonizers created the slave trade in the 15th century, which impacted Guinea until the 19th century. In 1891, Guinea became a French colony and was eventually adopted into the French West African Federation in 1906 before its eventual declaration of independence in the 1950s. Source
4. The Flag of Guinea Holds Powerful Symbolism
While many might be struck by the vivid colors in Guinea’s national flag, it may not be common knowledge that each color symbolizes something about the nation’s identity. According to former President Sékou Touré,
Red is the color of sacrifice and labor
Yellow is the color of mineral wealth, the sun, and justice
Green is the color of solidarity and the wealth of the agricultural lands of Guinea
One fun fact you may not have been aware of is that up to one half of the world’s bauxite reserves are found in Guinea. The rest of the world, including the USA, relies heavily on the ability to import minerals like bauxite for their in-country aluminum production. Bauxite isn’t the only mineral in this West African nation; high-grade iron ore, diamonds, and alluvial gold are also highly sought-after resources. As of 2007, uranium has also been discovered in Guinea. Source
6. Guinea Is Famous For Its Luxurious Beaches
The coastline of Guinea goes on, seemingly, forever. It spans a distance of 200 miles (or 320 km) and features well-known beaches such as Cape Verga, Sobane Beach, and Bel Air Beach. If you really have the itch to explore, you can take a ferry and travel a little distance off the coast of Corakny. You will also find the famous îles De Los, which has become popular with tourists in recent years. Known for its beaches and forests, Îles De Los will leave you with a sense of awe.
Nearly 36% of the nation’s landmass is considered protected territory, which preserves much of Guinea’s indigenous plants and wildlife. Within these protected spaces, you can find several national parks:
8. Despite Its Wealth of Natural Resources, Guinea Remains One of the World’s Poorest Countries
According to The Borgen Report,
“The poverty statistics in Guinea are staggering, especially in rural areas. 55 percent of people live below the poverty line, and unemployment rates are very high. Hunger also poses a serious threat, with 17.5 percent of the population experiencing food insecurity, 230,000 children suffering from moderate acute malnutrition and 25.9 percent of the population experiencing chronic malnutrition.”
Music is deeply connected to the heart of Guinea culture. Famous for originating certain musical instruments, like the kora, and styles like Manding Music (The traditional music of the Susu people). Guinea is also home to famous recording artist, Mory Kanté.
As previously noted, the majority religion in Guinea is Islam, making up 85% of the population, while Christians make up 8% of the Guinea population. Another 7% hold to indigenous beliefs.
This final point brings us back to why we are going.
Mission Partners For Christ longs to share the love of Jesus with those who have yet to meet Him. Through our health clinics, we pray that our patients will experience that love. They will learn that there is a God who loved them enough to send His Son, Jesus Christ, for them and that they are worthy of access to healthcare and health education.
We hope you will consider joining us on this trip to experience this beautiful nation and the people who call Guinea home.
We are looking for anyone with a willing heart. If you have medical experience – we have a place for you. If you don’t have medical expertise, we still need your help.
To learn more about where we are going and how we plan to serve the people of Guinea, we invite you to check out our volunteer page. There you will learn all the relevant details: the travel dates, the cost, the location, and our Covid-19 precautions.
When Mission Partners For Christ travels abroad for one of our short-term medical missions trips, we love to create clinics to educate others on how to manage their health best. We believe that education is power, and the more people understand how to prevent serious health conditions or manage the conditions they have, the better quality of life they will have overall.
Most of us had a crash course in health education over the last couple of years due to the COVID-19 Pandemic. We learned, en masse, what the disease was, how to prevent it, and what to do if one catches it. However, health education is more than this. It is a broad topic that covers many issues, from food safety and nutrition to exercise, mental health, and more.
Keep reading to find out why health education is such an essential part of medical missions trips!
Health Education Prevents Serious Illness And Injury
Most of us know, by this point, how handwashing is a crucial practice in preventing serious illness. But this knowledge hasn’t always been so commonly held. In fact, the practice of handwashing is less than 200 years, and it cost many people their lives before the connection between illness and unwashed hands was discovered.
It wasn’t until the 1840s when a Hungarian obstetrician named Ignaz Semmelweis noticed that when medical professionals washed their hands, mortality rates in maternity wards started to go down. Although it took a while for handwashing to catch on as a standard practice in the medical field, Semmelweis is commonly credited as the father of handwashing.
Education about the practice of handwashing saved lives.
Today, we also know the role that diet and exercise play in maintaining health and preventing illness. The CDC and the WHO websites expand on these issues:
* Inactivity contributes to 1 in 10 premature deaths.
*Inadequate levels of physical activity are associated with $117 billion in annual health care costs.
*If US adults increased their average physical activity participation just 10 minutes per day, over 110,000 lives per year could be saved.”
Nutrition is a critical part of health and development. Better nutrition is related to improved infant, child and maternal health, stronger immune systems, safer pregnancy and childbirth, lower risk of non-communicable diseases (such as diabetes and cardiovascular disease), and longevity.
Health Education Helps People Better Connect With Their Bodies
To properly care for something, you have to understand it. This is the case for raising children, caring for plants or beloved pets, and treating patients. This is also true for how we take care of our bodies. The education we receive about how to care for our bodies allows us to build a strong connection with our bodies by understanding what the feelings and sensations that arise in our bodies can be communicating to us.
We learn as children that when our tummies begin to rumble, it is time to feed them. Similarly, when a person with diabetes understands that when they start to feel shaky or lightheaded, that’s a sign that their blood sugar levels might be dropping and their bodies need to be cared for in a specific way.
Health Education Gives People Agency To Live Their Best Lives
When we better understand how to manage our health, we are given the freedom to create the lives that gift us health and happiness. The person who learns that her sedentary lifestyle and diet choices directly impact her high blood pressure is now empowered to make different choices to better care for her body.
The changes she makes to care for her body will enable her to live a more fulfilling life. As her health improves, so does her ability to travel, work, and volunteer as she feels led. This woman will be free to serve on her first medical missions trip because she has made her own health a priority first.
Health Education Is A Form of Stewardship
One concept that shows up repeatedly throughout Scripture is the mandate to be good stewards of all that God has blessed us with:
God blessed them and said to them, “Be fruitful and increase in number; fill the earth and subdue it. Rule over the fish in the sea and the birds in the sky and over every living creature that moves on the ground.”
Genesis 1:28, NIV
“Whoever can be trusted with very little can also be trusted with much, and whoever is dishonest with very little will also be dishonest with much. So if you have not been trustworthy in handling worldly wealth, who will trust you with true riches? And if you have not been trustworthy with someone else’s property, who will give you property of your own?
Luke 16:10-12, NIV
This, then, is how you ought to regard us: as servants of Christ and as those entrusted with the mysteries God has revealed. Now it is required that those who have been given a trust must prove faithful.
1 Corinthians 4:1-2, NIV
We should also apply the same principle to the bodies that God Himself created for us (Psalm 139:13). Our bodies are not just things we live in. They are part of God’s creation and, as such, deserve the same love and care that we give to others.
Stewardship is an act of worship; it is respecting God’s creation and blessings through proper care-taking. It communicates to our God that we appreciate everything that He has gifted to us and entrusted to our care. In the same vein, ensuring that our bodies get the proper nutrition, exercise, and sleep they need to be healthy is one way that we can worship God through our actions.
Want to be part of the mission to make healthcare and healthcare education accessible to underserved populations? Come join us on a medical missions trip! Check out our upcoming opportunities here!
Did you discover something new about why health education matters? Leave us a comment and let us know what you learned!
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.