Have you ever wondered why people join medical mission teams?

Or perhaps you’re wondering what encourages people to leave the comforts of their home and pay thousands of dollars to fly across the ocean to a place that doesn’t provide relaxing beaches or an all-inclusive resort? Why would anyone take valuable vacation time to visit the poverty of a third-world country? To answer these questions, one must learn what happens on medical mission trips.

Here are three powerful things you can expect to happen on a medical mission trip:

  1. Transformation

The people served on medical mission’s trips are not given the healthcare they need or deserve. Volunteers travel to give free health screenings and treatment that are long overdue.  In the process of healing those in need and saving lives, a transformation happens — one that is deep and lasting for all involved. When people’s physical needs are met, they can open themselves up to their spiritual needs. Even Jesus himself healed and fed his followers before He shared the gospel. He knew the importance of meeting people where they were at and fully providing for their needs. His impact would have been far less effective if He had let the weak and weary remain sick and impaired. Jesus was about a transformation from the inside out, and that is the same goal of a medical mission’s trip.

The volunteers often experience a transformation as well. To step out of their fast-paced, self-indulgent world into a place of selfless serving often wrecks the heart of the volunteers.

Team members can’t return with the same worldview because their lens has expanded and includes a new culture and the faces of beautiful people across the ocean.

  1. Education

One of the biggest struggles within a third-world country is the lack of education in preventative care. The people there are in survival mode more often than we could imagine, but that doesn’t mean they know how to prevent health problems. They don’t want to become ill or have physical pain, but they don’t know much about prevention or how to seek the healing they so desperately need. Part of a medical mission’s trip is to provide education such as how to eat healthily and the importance of clean water. Other education tips include safe sex practices and proper first aid care.

Volunteers also receive education by experiencing a new culture and providing medical care with few resources.

  1. Connection

Looking into the eyes of those who are desperate for healing, it’s hard not to feel a pull and attachment. Medical mission’s trips are an experience that connects the souls of the patients and the caregivers. Not all patients can be helped in the capacities they deserve, but all are given the best care possible given the circumstances.

The stories shared, education received, and transformation both in body and spirit all form a lasting connection that often keeps volunteers coming back again and again.

See you in the mission field!

Sheri Postma, RN
Founder & CEO
Mission Partners for Christ