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