If you’ve ever looked into going on a medical mission trip, you’ve probably wondered if the cost participants pay is worth it. The costs may be higher than other types of mission trips, but so are the benefits.
When you join a medical missions team, it’s normal for participants to pay for flights, accommodations, and food during the trip. Most organizations (but not us!) also ask participants to pay extra to cover the supplies needed to conduct medical exams or to leave with the patients.
But despite those expenses, there are three key reasons why medical missions trips are worth the cost:
- Medical mission trips provide additional training for students outside of the regular classroom.
There are so many things that cannot be taught within the walls of a classroom. Some of the first people to sign-up for medical missions opportunities are students because they can finally use their knowledge in a situation that isn’t hypothetical. Students can not only see the global healthcare needs up close but also serve through hands-on experiences that make a difference! Now, this isn’t to say that volunteers should use a medical missions trip to experiment or put patients at risk by doing more than they’re trained to do. It’s simply an opportunity to experience more and serve those in need.
- Medical mission trips have a transformational impact.
Short-term missions trips aren’t always equally beneficial between the communities served and the volunteers. The lasting transformations happen from building relationships, and that can’t always occur in a couple of weeks time. Of course, sharing the message of Jesus is the biggest gift you can give someone, but what’s impactful about short-term medical missions trips is that the few short weeks are enough time to change a person’s life spiritually and physically — leaving a transformational impact on those served.
- Healthcare professionals can further develop their skills.
Certain diseases or medical needs are prevented in the states but still exist overseas. For example, thousands of people in Tanzania test positive for malaria each year.
In the US we often have more than enough resources and an optimal environment to treat patients. When volunteers put their skills to use in less than ideal conditions with little resources, they are developing their skill sets, providing great care, and gaining a positive learning experience in the process.
When the costs for a medical missions trip seems overwhelming, remember that there are ways to raise money such as crowdfunding and fundraising opportunities with organizations such as Volunteer Forever (https://www.volunteerforever.com/). Volunteer Forever offers scholarship opportunities that allow volunteers to serve on medical missions trips no matter the expense.
And when it comes down to it, what price would you put on offering life-saving preventions and interventions to people in need? Medical missions trips are always worth the cost.