How To Stay Safe During The Pandemic As Medical Missionaries

How To Stay Safe During The Pandemic As Medical Missionaries

One very common, and understandable, concern we hear from potential applicants to one of our medical mission trips is, “will I be protected from Covid?”

The Covid-19 pandemic has cost too many lives and left many more grieving and dealing with the impact of long-term health conditions connected to the pandemic. There is a common feeling of anxiety when venturing out into the world because we can see that there are risks to our health that we’ve never had to worry about before. Many people want to know that their health is a priority when volunteering to join us on one of our medical mission trips.

Friends, we want to assure you that we hear you and we share your concerns. Covid is one thing that we at Mission Partners For Christ take very seriously.



We have done our due diligence to ensure that every person who travels with us will be safe on the trip. During Covid, we have gone on multiple mission trips that required testing before, during, and after the trip. Not one person has gotten infected during their time serving with us.

So today, let’s talk a bit about how we, as an organization, safeguard against infection.

We Listen to Health And Government Authorities

When preparing to travel abroad, we listen to the advice and requirements of our local health authorities who can advise us of the best way to protect ourselves from becoming sick with Covid.

We also pay close attention to the requirements of the countries we plan to visit. Since each nation has its own requirements with regard to Covid-19, it is important that we follow their requirements closely; some countries require testing on arrival and some require proof of vaccination.

Two of the resources we use, Sherpa and CDC, help us to stay informed as to the current state of the global pandemic in the nation that we are planning to travel to. We also get our information directly from the ministry of health of the nation we are planning to travel to.

Another helpful resource that we use is the Worldometer statistics website which keeps track of Covid-19 trends around the world. 

These resources help us to decide if a trip will be safe for our volunteers or if it is better to reschedule.

We Have Requirements For Our Volunteers To Follow

The first and best step in our Covid preparedness plan is to remind our volunteers that they can do a lot to protect themselves. In order to protect against potential Covid-19 infections, we require that our volunteers follow best practices as listed by organizations like the CDC.

Several examples that we ask of our volunteers are as listed:

– Finish their vaccine series at least 2 weeks before our travel date. We also recommend additional booster shots when available and recommended by health professionals. 

– Submitting documentation to Mission Partners For Christ that the vaccination requirement has been met. This is not only to meet legal requirements set forth by the countries we serve, it also provides assurance to the rest of our team that everyone is vaccinated. 
– Sign our waiver acknowledging the responsibility to monitor one’s own health and quarantine when necessary. This places the onus of responsibility back onto the individual team member to care for their own bodies and protect the rest of the team by not needlessly exposing them to possible infection. 

We Talk With Our Ministry Partners

One important part of our decision-making process is to remain in close contact with our ministry partners who are based in the communities we plan to serve. They are able to give us a better understanding of what is happening in the area. They can alert us as to the infection rate numbers within the community and what precautions they advise. We will also decide together if it is safe to travel in light of whatever the current Covid-19 situation might be.

To be perfectly transparent with you, reader, we will never make the call to travel when we believe that it is unsafe for us to do so. In the past couple of years, we have had to make the difficult choice to postpone trips due to infection rates. While we hate to have to make that call, we recognize the importance of prioritizing our team’s health.

If, at any time my in-country partner and I think we shouldn’t have a trip, we postpone it. - Sheri Postma



We also believe that God will re-open that door to travel back to these places when it is safer.

We Pray

This is the most important part of the process. We make a point to go to God in prayer. We ask for wisdom in making the best choice for our team and for the community we wish to serve. It is our deepest desire to go if it is at all possible.

Our founder, Sheri Postma had this to say,

The most important thing we do is PRAY! God is calling us to serve those with limited access to medical care and unreached with the gospel. We can trust that God will protect us from coming in contact with someone with covid.

Sheri Postma

Continuing to discuss the importance of why we must go when it is safe to travel, Sheri also says,

Poverty has risen significantly during the pandemic. Families have to make a decision about obtaining medication for their illness-malaria, high blood pressure, or feeding their family.  During each of our trips, we bring a great deal of medication but most importantly we provide very necessary health education. Medical missions is needed more now than ever before.

Sheri Postma

Will You Join Us?

Knowing that we will prioritize your health and safety on our medical mission trips, we hope that you will consider joining us on an upcoming medical mission trip.

Our next trip to Ethiopia is already booked up. However, we have another trip coming up in February to a country called Guinea.  During our time in Guinea, we will serve in 4 different areas amongst this people group. We will provide screenings, treatment, and health education.  We pray that they see the love of Jesus and through this outreach, many will be saved. The deadline to apply for this trip is November 12, 2022 – and is sure to fill up fast. Don’t miss out.


Click here to apply.

If you are unable to make it to Guinea with us, never fear! You can still join us on a medical mission trip. We have a few more trips planned for the 2023/2024 season, several of these trips were rescheduled from early on in the pandemic. Keep your eyes peeled to our website and our social media accounts for more information!

5 Important Women in Missions

5 Important Women in Missions

We owe a debt of gratitude to all those people who came before us in the Missions field. Their hard work has helped to set the stage that allows Mission Partners For Christ to do the work that we do. They helped to establish best practices and showed us how to properly forge healthy relationships in the communities where we do our work. Let’s take a few minutes to learn about a few of the women who came before us.

Mary Slessor, Nigeria

Mary Slessor, Public Domain, Wikipedia

Mary Mitchell Slessor was born in 1848 in Aberdeen, Scotland, and grew up in the slums of Dundee. Mary was the daughter of a shoemaker. Her mother was deeply religious and made sure that Mary attended church each Sunday. Mary finished her schooling at the age of 14 when she went to work full-time at the jute mills to help support her family.

When Mary was 28, she decided to pursue her growing interest in missions. She applied to the United Presbyterian’s Foreign Mission Board in 1876 to work with them as a missionary. After a short training period in Edinburgh, Mary boarded a ship with her cousin, Robert Mitchell Beedie – who served as a missionary in Buchan – and arrived in Calabar, Nigeria in September of 1876.

Mary took the time to become fully immersed in the culture and language of her new home, which created trust and lasting relationships with the people of Calabar. She became fluent in Efik, the language of the local people. Unlike other missionaries in her time, Mary chose to live among the people to whom she ministered.

Mary Slessor was instrumental in ending smallpox in the region when she began a vaccination campaign amongst the local people groups in the early 1900s. She is also credited with ending the infanticide of twins, whom the Calabar people believed to be cursed and would often abandon to starve to death or to be eaten by wild animals. Mary partnered with a local mission to save as many of those babies as possible and ultimately chose to adopt many of them herself.

After multiple bouts of Malaria, Mary developed a severe fever in January 1915 and passed away. She was honored with a state funeral. Mary is remembered today in Nigeria as the “mother of all the peoples.”

Sources:
Undiscovered Scotland
Wikipedia

Wendy Grey Rogerson, Borneo

Born Rhoda Grey in Newcastle to Reverend Maurice Grey and his wife Elsie, she would grow up attending church with her family and become known as Wendy.

As a young girl growing up in a small town in England, Wendy was constantly reading books filled with tales of missionary adventures. Women like Mary Slessor and Gladys Aylward were her role models for what a young woman could accomplish. Rogerson would eventually train as a nurse, never fully suspecting that she would follow in the footsteps of the women she had admired in her childhood.

In 1948, Wendy trained as a nurse and began a career as a midwife in the Newcastle suburb known as Jesmond.

A combination of events, such as a news article she happened to read and a talk she attended, affirmed her call to the missions field. Wendy’s path was set upon learning about Borneo’s dire need for medical missionaries. She knew that Jesus was calling her to love and care for the people of Borneo. Wendy stepped foot on that island in 1959. She served as a teacher and a nurse with a mission already established in the region. Wendy was the only trained medical practitioner for hundreds of miles, and her days quickly filled with patients desperate for medical treatment.

Three years after her arrival in Borneo, Wendy took a furlough and returned to England. It was then that she met Colin Rogerson, whom she would marry. Wendy remained in England to raise her family, yet she never forgot Borneo. She returned twice in later years: once in 1985 and once in 2003.

In 2018, she published a book detailing her experiences. The book is called “The Midwife of Borneo.”

Wendy passed away in 2019 at the age of 91.

Sources:
Express
The Guardian Obituary
Christianity Today

Gladys Aylward, China

Gladys Aylward. The original uploader was Ibekolu at Chinese Wikipedia., Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

Glady Aylward was born in London, England to working-class parents, Thomas John Aylward and Rosina Florence. Gladys tried hard in school but found the work challenging. She left school to start working at age 14, eventually landing in a role as a housemaid. Four years later, through the influence of her local friends, Gladys became an Evangelical Christian.

In her late 20s, Gladys chanced upon a newspaper article that discussed the spiritual state of China. Hearing that millions of Chinese people had never heard the gospel, Gladys felt a calling to go to China as a missionary.

Gladys began training for missionary work at the China Inland Mission in London. She lasted three months before being informed by the mission’s leadership that they would not be recommending her for service due to her struggles with learning the language. Undeterred, Gladys decided that she would find her own way to China.

Having heard about an older woman, Jeannie Lawson– who served as a missionary in China and who needed a young person to assist her in her work– Gladys spent her life savings on travel fare to get to China. One October day in the early 1930s, Gladys bid her life in England farewell and began what would be a long and difficult journey to Yangcheng, China.

Gladys’s travels took her from her Liverpool station to Japan, narrowly avoiding forced labor in Russia along the way. She finally reached her destination after traveling by foot, bus, and mule and met the woman with whom she would be working. Together, they set to work to create what would be called “The Inn of the Eight Happinesses,” the name references the eight virtues: Love, Virtue, Gentleness, Tolerance, Loyalty, Truth, Beauty, and Devotion.

The Inn became a central point of their ministry. They would offer safe space to travelers and share stories with them about Jesus. A year after Gladys arrived in China, Jeannie Lawson fell and was fatally injured, leaving Gladys to run the ministry herself.

In time, Gladys began working with the government as a foot inspector. The Chinese government had passed a new law forbidding the binding of feet, a common practice in which young girls would have their feet bound to keep them small, believing that large feet were unattractive. In an era where many foot inspectors were faced with violence, Gladys’s efforts to end this cruel practice were met with success.

During her time in China, she adopted five children as her own and became the unofficial mother to hundreds more.

She eventually left China for Great Britain in 1949 when the Communist army was actively seeking out missionaries. But her heart never left China. She attempted to return after her mother’s death, but the Chinese government rejected her visa application. Instead of returning to China, Gladys moved to Taiwan in 1958 and opened the Gladys Aylward Orphanage.

She remained there until her death in 1970.

Sources:
Wikipedia
Encyclopedia.com

Dr. Ida Scudder, India

Royal College of Physicians of Edinburgh, Public domain,
via Wikimedia Commons

It would seem that Dr. Scudder’s life path was forged for her generations before she was even born. Her grandfather, Rev. Dr. John Scudder Sr., and father, Dr. John Scudder, both served as medical missionaries. Coming from a long line of missionaries instilled Ida with a strong sense of what it means to foster a servant’s heart. She frequently witnessed illness and poverty throughout her young life.

Education was an important thing in Ida’s family. She attended seminary in Massachusetts, returning to India upon graduation to assist her father with his work. In 1894, she received a call into medical missions when three different pregnant women knocked on her door one night seeking medical assistance. Each of these women died in childbirth as they had no access to the kind of medical intervention they needed. Due to their beliefs, none of these women could be treated by men, and Ida did not have the training to help them (nor were female OB-GYNs accessible to women in that region). She had previously been adamant that she would not become a medical missionary. Still, having witnessed these terrible tragedies, she could not deny that she was called and needed to go to medical school.

Ida Scudder applied to Cornell Medical School and graduated at the top of her class – the first, of which, that accepted women. Before her return to India, a Manhattan banker known only as “Mr. Schell” decided to sponsor Ida’s ministry with a $10,000 grant in his wife’s name. Mr. Schell also ensured that Ida had all the medical instruments needed for her work in India.

Ida returned to India on January 1, 1900, and set to work immediately. Her father gave her a room for her small practice, but her needs quickly outgrew the space. By 1906, she was working with as many as 40,000 patients annually. In 1909, she opened the Mary Taber Shell Hospital.

In 1918, this doctor, who once could not envision herself working in the medical field, decided to open a medical school to train women as doctors and nurses. Expecting little interest, Ida was delightfully surprised to receive 151 applicants in her first year. She had to turn most of these applicants away, not having the resources to train so many people.

In 1928, she opened The Vellore Christian Medical Center, a larger hospital than her first. As of 2003, Vellore Christian Medical Center was the largest Christian hospital in the world.

Dr. Ida Scudder passed away in May of 1960 in her bungalow in Kodaikanal, India.

Sources:
Wikipedia
Boston University, School of Theology
The Scudder Association Foundation

Amy Carmichael, India

Amy Carmichael, Public Domain via Wikimedia Commons

Amy Beatrice Carmichael, the daughter of a well-to-do flour mill owner, was born in Millisle, County Down, Ireland in 1867. She lived in an English boarding school during part of her childhood. The first few years of her life were spent in comfort, but that changed when Amy was still a young girl. Her father’s flour mill began to lose money and had to be shut down. Amy would have to leave school to help support and care for her large family.

When Amy was 16, she moved with her family to Belfast. There, Amy first felt a stirring in her soul to work with those living in poverty. She befriended a group of people known as the “shawlies”; they were so poor that they could not afford hats to protect themselves from the cold, so they covered their heads with shawls instead. Through her efforts in building relationships within the shawlie community and advocating on their behalf, she was able to build a church for them.

In 1887, Amy heard Hudson Taylor, founder of the Chinese Inland Mission, speak on missions in Asia. Then, Amy first heard her call to go overseas and preach the gospel. She applied for training and lived in London for a brief time to prepare for life as a missionary. Her health, however, prevented her from working with the Chinese Inland Mission.

She later pursued work with the Christian Missionary Society. Initially serving in Japan, Amy returned home due to poor health. However, Amy was convinced that God had called her to the mission field. She wasn’t deterred from her goals. She took the time she needed to rest and returned to work. Amy first went to Sri Lanka and finally received an assignment to the place she would call home for the next 55 years: India.

Commissioned by the Church of England’s Zenana Missionary Society, Amy found that her focus was primarily needed in ministering to women and young girls. A significant problem in India, at that time, was temple prostitution. Girls were often sold to Hindu temples by families who didn’t want daughters or needed the money; these girls were often forced into sex work to earn money for the temple priests.

In order to rescue and care for these young girls, Amy founded an orphanage in Dohnavur, where she became known as “amma” (Tamil for “mother”) and cared for hundreds of girls throughout her time in India.

In 1931, Amy suffered a nasty fall that left her bedridden, but she could not give up her work. When she couldn’t physically serve, she wrote. In her lifetime, Amy wrote close to 40 books to let the world know what God was doing through missions.

Amy Carmichael died in 1951 at the age of 83. Her body rests in Dohnavur, where she spent most of her life. Following her wishes, there is no tombstone above her grave. Instead, a birdbath has been installed and engraved with just one word: Amma.

Sources:
Christianity Today
Wikipedia
Boston University, School of Theology

Did you learn anything new about the foremothers of missions? Let us know in the comments!

Believe The Lord Will Provide

Believe The Lord Will Provide

“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 missions trips? 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 and our local mission partners 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!”

This is faith in action.

Believe the Lord provides!

What You Need To Know About Medical Missions and World Malaria Day

What You Need To Know About Medical Missions and World Malaria Day

malaria
Malaria is disease of the blood that is spread through infected mosquitos

 

Though Malaria was eliminated from the United States in the early 1950’s, it still can affect half of the world’s population. 3.2 billion people live in areas at risk of transmission in 106 countries and territories. Because it is one of the world’s deadliest diseases, one of the top killers of children, and keeps livelihoods and communities from thriving, we want to tackle it head-on by sharing researched facts about this illness and explain what YOU can do to help!

What is Malaria?

“Malaria is a disease of the blood that is caused by the Plasmodium parasite, which can be transmitted from person to person by a particular type of mosquito.” To read a detailed description about transmission, go here.

What are the symptoms:
  • Chills, fever, and sweating, usually occurring a few weeks after being bitten.
  • Pain areas: in the abdomen or muscles
  • Whole body: chills, fatigue, fever, night sweats, shivering, or sweating
  • Gastrointestinal: diarrhea, nausea, or vomiting
  • Also common: fast heart rate, headache, mental confusion, or pallor

It’s important for someone who has contracted this disease to receive treatment within 24 hours, though that is not always doable.

Here are a few economical reasons we should be fighting against Malaria:

  • Malaria-free countries have 5x greater economic growth than countries with malaria.
  • A 10% decrease has been associated with a .3% rise in GDP.3
  • Every $1 invested in malaria control in Africa returns $40 in economic growth, contributing to Africa’s prosperity and its prospects as a trading partner. (Resource)

The Huffington Post wrote:

“About 3.3 million lives have been saved because of international malaria control interventions, the World Health Organization reports, and malaria mortality rates in African children have dropped by about 54 percent. Hopeful statistics like these help validate USAID’s declaration that the war on malaria is the “greatest success story in global health. But there’s still significant work to be done.”

This graphic does a great job covering all you need to know about this deadly illness:

So what can we do?

 This is the reason that Mission Partners for Christ exists; to be the church to the world through medical missions. For us, being the church means that providing access to medical treatment that we often take for granted here in the USA is a big part of that. Our hope is that some day, this deadly disease will be completely wiped out. This is an achievable goal, but we need your help to get there. 

There is a lot that we can do to win the war against this disease. Things like providing access to medical treatment and professionals, preventatitives like bed nets, and education about how the illness spreads are all important factors to eradicating malaria. These are the things that we provide on our outreach trips. 

Mission Partners For Christ provides education in the communities we serve all about prevention, and we provide treatment during our outreaches. This treatment is costly but necessary. If you want to make a difference and help us beat this preventable illness, please volunteering for oone of our trips or consider a donation to our organization to help support our efforts. 

 

4 Reasons Why We Go On Medical Missions Trips

4 Reasons Why We Go On Medical Missions Trips

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.

why we go on medical missions trips

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.

What You Need to Know About Medical Missions and World Malaria Day

What You Need to Know About Medical Missions and World Malaria Day

World Malaria Day is April 25th of this year, and we want to spread awareness about the continuing world health crisis of malaria. Lots of regions globally are populated by people living near or on the travel route toward a major water source. Many sources of water attract disease-carrying mosquitoes. This includes stagnant water, ponds, factory run-off, water cans, rivers, and more. Every water source is a potential breeding ground for mosquitoes–particularly those carrying malaria parasites.

According to WHO (2017), of 219 million global cases of malaria, about 92% are in African countries. In some of those countries, sprays are available for use inside their homes. Many people in African countries sleep beneath an insecticide net. Others receive anti-malarial medication. These preventive treatments are not widely available for all people though–especially not the sprays, which can be expensive over time. Many children and adults who fall ill with malaria will then need to be tested and treated for it. Access to this medical care often does not adequately cover the needs of a region. Without treatment and prevention, sometimes there are malaria deaths and secondary illnesses or injuries due to malaria, such as blindness or brain damage.

World Malaria Day Increases Awareness

How does sharing information about malaria help? It increases awareness. The more we learn about a condition that may impact people in regions where we serve–or ourselves here at home–the better we can support one another’s health goals. Many living in the United States live in communities that employ trained workers who spray or set traps for mosquitoes. These employees also work on culverts, check for and warn against standing water in public spaces or yards, and do other things to help quell mosquito breeding.

We may enjoy going outdoors for fun and recreation quite often. It is generally easy for us to plan on wearing a special lotion or mosquito spray, burning citronella candles, or hanging up a zapper in the yard. This is a routine in other countries too, but due to wars, epidemics, or other causes, not every region of the world currently has the infrastructure to regularly support these efforts.

There is Hope

Malaria is a potentially curable disease, but it is also largely preventable with access to the right supplies and education. There is currently a pan-African effort to increase awareness and lessen the spread of malaria. Zero Malaria Starts With Me is a campaign created to educate youth and adults about malaria. People of all ages and backgrounds, including religious leaders and students, volunteer in this program.

Medical missions volunteers also often play a role in helping many people receive malaria treatment and prevention techniques. Interested in volunteering to join a medical mission trip? Reach out to Mission Partners for Christ on our website or via Facebook and Instagram.