Recently a 15 person Christian medical missions team from MPFC visited an island in the Indian Ocean where Christianity is not welcome. This medical mission trip was different than others in the past as we had to discretely share the gospel in this closed country. We experienced powerful connections with local peoples who have little to no access to medical care. This blog post is a letter sent to our director by one of the members of that team. We are publishing it here to give you a first hand report of the unique experience of serving as Christians in a closed country.
This is the first time that I am reflecting quietly on what happened on our trip. It truly has changed my life. I have always had a heart for people since I work in the health field, but to go where healthcare and medicine is limited and to make a difference was something special.
Some of the most eye-opening experiences happened to me on this trip.
I cannot believe how most people take for granted the liberties and freedoms here in America. We can talk and display our love for Christ freely in the United States. We are not constantly reminded of the oppression with the call to Muslim prayer every morning and night. We can turn on the radio and listen to worship music or any of the hundreds of other stations. The island had one radio station and they could only hear it at night if they were lucky.
We can go to school and pursue a higher education. The education system on the island only went up to high school for most and at an early age they are taught the Quran. We can turn on the light at all hours of the night and make a phone call, send an email with the click of a button. Most people on the island don’t have internet or even a computer.
Some nights we lost electricity and that is a common occurrence on the island.
Shopping is made so easy in America by using Amazon and your package can be on your doorstep in two days or less. The people are not able to make purchases online or even have a mailbox to receive mail at home. Our trash is collected every week and disposed of while the people on the island don’t even have a waste management system in place. Most of us have safe drinking water and a water heater.
People on the island don’t have a water treatment system or even efficient plumbing.
My heart was touched by the people of the island. Even with the lack of resources these people were so welcoming and content with what they had. They appreciated the least and shared the most.
The main priorities on the island was family and they had so much respect for the elderly, women and children.
We were greeted with floral leis and huge smiles. It is somewhat surreal being back home and not jumping in airplanes, vans and marching around with our bags trying to deliver care to the next village. God was truly with us and answered many of our prayers. One prayer of mine that was answered was having enough translators for us to be efficient with care and education. We also prayed for protection.
We were never in any danger on the trip. The crime rate on the island is extremely low.
The last day was truly the hardest for sure as we had developed close relationships and having to leave them. I can’t stop sharing my experiences with family and friends especially co-workers what it was like and most say they want to do something like that. Some people wonder why someone would go to a third world country like that until I share my experiences with them. I always tell people they can and to see for themselves! Going on a mission’s trip has always been a lifelong dream of mine and cannot wait until I go on the next one.
Ready to experience medical missions for yourself? CLICK HERE to see upcoming trips!
The MPFC team recently completed a medical mission trip to an island in the Indian Ocean.
This medical mission trip was different than others in the past as we had to discretely share the gospel in this closed country. We experienced powerful connections with local peoples who have little to no access to medical care. Our missionary partner prayed with people during the outreach and are continuing to support them in their faith.
Here are a few highlights from our medical mission work that we’d love to share with you!
DAY 1: Our medical mission team of 15 looked out the plane window as we flew over the the Indian Ocean. We saw hills, coastline and a lush island full of palm trees. We couldn’t wait to explore! Upon arrival at the airport we were greeted by news reporters, government officials, and our local partners. They put fragrant flowered lais around our neck.
We dropped off our personal luggage and were off to meet the governor!
DAYS 2 & 3: The first 2 days we held our medical mission outreach at the islands only hospital. The hospital director and the hospital staff were very accommodating to our team. This hospital had a laboratory, x-ray machine, and eye examination equipment. They are able to perform surgeries however they need more qualified staff to provide medical care. Often doctors fly into the country short term to treat patients. In addition, most of the patients cannot afford to see the doctor or pay for the medication or treatment that is required.
DAYS 4 & 5: During the following 2 days we traveled on curvy roads around the island to 2 different villages to see patients. During the drive we had incredible views of the country, including fragrant smells from the trees producing ylang ylang which is used to make Chanel no 5.
DAY 6: The 3rd day of our medical mission outreach was especially rewarding but also sad. We were able to provide health education to at least 300 people as they waited to see the doctor. This varies depending on country, village and site we have available for the outreach.
The sad part was we met a woman with a oral tumor. She explained that her husband recently left her because of the tumor. Unfortunately on this island there is no cancer treatment available. However, our Christian partners have established a relationship with her and also met her oldest son. They have had an opportunity to pray with her.
Would you join us in praying that Marian opens her heart to receive Christ?
Would you also pray that God heals her of the cancer?
On this trip we had an evening over dinner to meet with secret believers. This is a very closed country and believers are unable to meet publicly like we do. There is no public Christian worship. Two of our team members shared a teaching about our identity in Christ and one shared a very personal testimony to encourage the believers. This time spent with them was very encouraging.
DAY 7: The day after our medical mission outreach was complete our team divided into groups with our local partners and did a prayer walk through the village. It was a very powerful time. It was encouraging for us and for them. We enjoyed an afternoon at the beach taking in the beauty of the island and in the evening the governor welcomed us to his home for dinner. The governor thanked our team for serving the people of his island and he hopes we will return.
DAY 8: On our last day the team had time to relax, share about trip memories and buy a few souvenirs to remember their trip. When we left our translators even came to the airport to see us off. They put small token gifts in our hands and hugged our necks. Our hearts were full. We are so grateful for the opportunity to serve.
Will you continue to pray for our local partners and the people there?
In a couple weeks our partners will begin distributing 60 water filters and sharing over 200 solar audio Bibles. Our local partners are grateful for the many people they were able to meet as a result of the medical outreach. We are praying for more to come to know Christ in this unreached country.
One of my favorite parts about doing mission work are the friendships I’ve developed along the way.
Of course nothing can compare to the experience of helping others, telling people about Jesus, and witnessing them give their lives to Christ, but coming home with new friends all across the world is something I will always cherish.
On mission trips you have the opportunity to meet a lot of people.
There are the local volunteers that assist with the outreach, the people you may meet at the local village church everyone attends, and the people that translate for you or drive you around. The opportunities to develop friendships are endless! And with today’s technology, it’s easier than ever to keep in touch after your mission trip is over.
8 years ago I met Aude.
He was my translator on one of our trips, and we quickly became friends. Many of our conversations focus on our love of Jesus and I treasure our friendship! His father has experienced health issues the past few months and I’ve been able to pray along with him. I love that we can keep in touch, pray for, and encourage each other even though we are miles apart!
Because of mission work I have made lifelong friends all over the world, and I am so grateful to have so many friendships!
Many of the Christians we meet in third world countries are the minority. They need our encouragement and prayers, and love being able to keep in touch with other Christians from all over the world as well.
When someone returns from a mission’s trip, they have an incredible experience that’s hard to put into words. They want to share, but they don’t always know where to start! There is so much to unpack from a life-changing experience. We know that you want to be the listening ear that your loved one needs, so we want to help! The best way to help someone open up about their mission’s trip experience is knowing the right questions to ask. This post will help you know eight questions to ask after a mission’s trip!
What was your favorite part about the country?
Your loved one will have had a unique cultural experience being in another country and will have hopefully learned some new things from their time spent overseas. Challenging them to think of their favorite parts of the country will help open the doors to them sharing with you about their overall experience.
2. What was the team like that you worked with? Tell me about the people that you met!
Relationships are built on a mission’s trip — some long-lasting! It’s important for a person returning from a trip to be able to share about those they met along their journey. Give them the chance to open up about their team and how they worked together and the impact they made! They will appreciate being able to introduce you to the new people they care about!
3. What surprised you about the culture?
There’s always something to learn about a new culture. The person who went on a mission’s trip may not have had the chance to spend time reflecting on the cultural things they learned, so the question of “What surprised you about the culture?” is a great way to get them thinking and to help you learn more about another culture as well! It’s a win-win!
4. What was difficult about the mission’s experience?
A mission’s trip experience is not smooth sailing. There are difficulties faced whether it’s with possible culture shock, conflict within the service team, or a hard time taking in all the learning that comes from stepping outside of your comfort zone. Acknowledging the hard while also discussing the ways they have grown is beneficial to the one returning from a mission’s trip.
5. What is God teaching you from your experience?
There is always a lesson that God is teaching in difficult experiences. Sometimes the person gains a newfound appreciation for their blessings when they see the joy on the faces of those who don’t have as much. Sometimes the person overcomes difficult obstacles and gains a stronger sense God’s provision and grace. Be open and willing to hear how God is working in your loved one’s life!
6. What do you want to put into place to remember this experience?
Some people bring home souvenirs from a trip. Others spend time journaling and keep the notes from their experience. Whatever it is, remind your loved one about the importance of putting something in place to remember the mission’s trip experience!
7. How did God change your view of the world?
There is rarely a participant on a mission’s trip who doesn’t come back changed from the experience. Be willing to ask your friends how their world view was changed from the mission’s trip participation. This will open the door to a conversation that will not only help your friend process the depth of his/her experience but can also teach you a new view of the world you may never have considered before!
Use these seven questions to help support your loved ones when they return from a mission’s trip and tell us in the comments how it goes!
We often cover how to prepare for a mission’s trip or how to support someone going on a trip, but it’s also important to have a plan for what to do when you return.
An experience like a mission’s trip is, more often than not, life-changing. If you are going to experience transformation, you need to be prepared for what it’s like to come home.
1. Take care of yourself.
You will likely suffer from jet-lag and exhaustion from all the emotional, physical, and spiritual work you were doing on the mission’s field. Be sure to take care of yourself! Get some rest, eat right, slow down and don’t jump into a super busy, chaotic schedule right off the bat. Ease your way back into your regular routine.
Also, be sure to create for yourself an environment that gives you time to process everything you experienced. You can do this by unpacking all of your things so you don’t have that hanging over your head and then sit down and journal or think through the changes you want to make or the memories you want to remember.
2. Expect overwhelm.
Many people report being overwhelmed returning to their culture. They go from a culture who barely has their needs met on a day to day basis to then coming back home and seeing people who are constantly seeking more and more despite the fact they have so much. When your worldview is changed from being overseas, it’s hard to see your normal life the same way. Even though nothing has changed about your life at home, everything may look different because you will begin to see your world through a different lens.
Give yourself grace. Don’t try to make any radical decisions right away based on an emotional response. Just think through why things feel different and decide if there’s anything you want to change about your life in the future.
3. Make time for prayer.
The Lord will want to be apart of you processing your trip. He may want to reveal things to you that you will only be able to hear in communion with Him. And He most definitely wants to be there for you as you grieve what you saw and share it with others.
It’s also important to pray for the people you’ve left behind. Pray for their health. Pray for the spiritual seeds that you planted to start to grow and flourish! Spend time with the Lord afterward and make prayer a priority!
4. Find someone to listen.
You may feel alone when you return from a mission’s trip. But you don’t have to be! Find someone who you can share with about your time away. Having a listening ear will make the world of difference! It will likely be someone who was with you from the start when you made a decision to join a mission’s trip. Make sure he/she understands a cross-cultural experience so that you can feel supported and understood.
We would love to connect with you and hear about your mission’s trip experience! If you are interested in joining one of our trips, contact us here.
But after a mission’s trip, you will experience the longing to continue supporting missions and wonder what you can do to stay involved! You will have been changed from the inside out after your trip, but you can’t stay forever. Here are a few tips for how to continue supporting missions upon your return:
1. Pray for missions.
Prayer is our most powerful weapon. We may not be able to be face to face with the people in the places we have served, but we can pray for them and those who work in the field. We can also pray for those who have yet to make the decision to go on a missions trip. Pray their hearts will be opened to how the Lord wants to use them. If you’re wondering what to pray for, here is a list of 31 ways to pray for missions.
2. Become an advocate.
Spread the word! Bring awareness to those you have served — what are their struggles? What can people do to help? Others may not share your experience, but they can connect through your story. Speak at events, share a post-trip email with those who supported you, get people on board to go on the next trip! Do whatever you can to advocate for missions experiences.
What has God shown you on your trip?
Why would others benefit from a similar experience?
What needs remain in other parts of the world and how can YOU make a difference?
FInancial support is often a huge need in ministry. You won’t be able to attend all the mission’s trips, but you can help support what we do onsite! Give a part of your income regularly to the mission’s field to ensure that the Gospel continues to be shared and spread. Or support someone’s mission’s trip fundraiser to help others share your same experience.
Don’t just give your money, but give your time! Help others as they prepare for a mission’s trip experience. Give them guidance and support. Your words are valuable as you’ve already been where they plan to go.
Follow these three suggestions to continue supporting missions even after you return home. And even if you haven’t been on a mission’s trip, you can follow these three steps to support missions from right where you are!