There are many things to consider before joining a non-profit on a medical mission outreach.
Deciding to travel abroad on a medical mission can be the best experience of your life, but you definitely want to know what you’re getting into and what’s required before taking the leap! Here are some questions to ask a non-profit before you commit to joining them on a trip:
1. What’s the location?
It may seem obvious to ask about the location of the mission you want to go on, but the details can often be overlooked! You will want to know how many clinics will be held during the trip, if there will be additional travel involved in getting to the clinic sites, where those sites are, and how many days each clinic will last.
2. Are there missionaries already working there?
Being able to have contact with any missionaries that are already serving where you want to serve prior to traveling can be a great resource in preparing for your trip. It is also a good idea to establish a relationship with them before you arrive. If there are missionaries already there, be sure to ask for their names and contact information.
3. What will the weather be like?
Knowing what the weather will be like when you will be traveling to an area can make or break your trip. You definitely want to be prepared with proper clothing in the event you show up during rainy season!
4. What type of travel is involved?
While you can count on a long flight to an overseas medical outreach, you will want to know what type of travel will be involved once you arrive. Make sure to ask how far you will have to travel from the airport, what method you will be traveling, as well as the road conditions if applicable.
5. What will the accommodations be like?
Knowing where you will be staying and what amenities are available are all important things to know. You’ll want to know whether you will have your own room or share, if a bed will be provided, whether there will be electricity and running water, and how far you will be from the outreach site. Additionally, be sure to ask if accommodations will cost extra, as sometimes they aren’t included in the cost of your trip.
6. What language will primarily be spoken?
Knowing what language will primarily be spoken where you are serving can help you prepare for your trip. You will also want to know if translators will be provided and whether there will be an additional cost for them.
7. Are visas required?
Many medical mission outreaches require a visa, and there is often an additional cost for this. Make sure to find out how to obtain this in time for your trip, as well as any costs involved.
8. Are meals provided?
Having to pay for meals can drive the cost of your trip up significantly depending on where you are serving. Be sure to ask before hand whether all meals will be provided in the initial cost of your trip. If not, find out what the average cost of meals are, as well as the availability and average cost for bottled water.
9. Is this a safe area to serve?
Some areas of the world will definitely be more safe than others. Be sure to find out how safe the area you will be serving in will be. If it is a riskier area, find out what measures will be in place to ensure safety (i.e. a security team and/or crowd control).
While this list definitely doesn’t cover all of the questions you could ask before committing to a medical mission outreach, we think it is a good start. What else would you add to this list? Let us know in the comments! And if you want to learn more about our organization and our upcoming trips, be sure to check out our volunteer page.
Are you curious about joining us for our Burundi trip in 2020 and want more information?
If so, you are in the perfect place! In this second part of our How We Mission series, we are going to share everything you ever wanted to know about our upcoming 2020 trip to Burundi. (To read about the first trip in our series, click here.)
Our trip to Burundi, one of the smallest countries in Africa, will be 7/11-7/20. The majority of the population lives in rural areas which has lead to deforestation (overpopulation), soil erosion and habitat loss. Burundians experience a great deal of poverty, corruption, poor access to healthcare, education and hunger. In fact, the World Happiness Report of 2018 ranked Burundi as the world’s least happy nation. Join us on this medical mission trip as we bring joy and the love of Jesus to the people of Burundi. Here are a list of facts about the trip, we hope it will help you decide whether to join us! Of course, if you have any more questions don’t hesitate to contact us via email.
How much does it cost to join this trip? Do I have to pay the entire amount to secure my spot?
The cost for our Burundi trip is $2700. A $300 deposit is required within 2 weeks of registering for the trip to secure your spot and will go towards the total balance. Half of the balance is due 4/17/20, and the rest is due by 6/20/20. Additionally, there is a $100 application fee.
What does the cost of this trip cover?
The cost of each of our trips include meals, travel, and accommodations. If a tourism day is built into the trip, travel is included. Volunteers are responsible for the cost of souvenirs or other optional activities they wish to pursue.
How old do I have to be to participate in this trip?
For liability purposes, you must be 18 years or older to participate in a trip with us.
What are my responsibilities while attending this trip?
All we ask is that you are willing to serve as a unified team member and are willing to be flexible. We assign roles and and discuss more specific trip responsibilities during our first team meeting which will be held via zoom video conference. Additionally, we ask each participant to attend all team meetings, be on time during the trip and attend all trip activities.
What type of documentation do I need to provide to attend this trip?
All participants need to provide a passport with 2 blank pages and at least 6 months expiration date past return date of trip (1/20/21), a clear color copy of your passport, 2 additional passport photos, and a visa (this will be discussed during our first team meeting).
Furthermore, doctors and dentists must provide a clear copy of their medical degree, certificate or evidence of completing internship, CV, reference letter from employer, and a copy of current medical license. Nurses must provide a clear copy of their nursing degree, nursing license, a resume, a reference letter from their employer, and an official transcript.
Are there any vaccines or other medical requirements to participate?
All volunteers are required to get a yellow fever vaccine before they can obtain their visa. We also recommend you consider obtaining Hepatitis A and oral typhoid vaccines, as well as prescription medication to prevent malaria.
Are there any other requirements that I should know about this trip?
Yes. We do require a background check, and that you sign a waiver.
I need help raising funds for this trip. Can you help me?
You’ve just heard from a good friend that they booked their first mission trip. This is exciting news, but how do you best support them?
Raising funds, arranging travel, and serving during a mission trip itself can be emotionally and mentally exhausting, so the support of friends and family during this time is crucial. Here are four ways you can support your loved one on their journey:
1. Pray For Their Mission Trip
Prayer is probably one of the most important things you can do to support your friend or loved one during their trip! As Christians we know that prayer can move mountains. Don’t know what to pray for specifically? This post offers 31 ways to pray for missions.
2. Encourage Them
Being your friend’s greatest supporter will go a long way towards easing their fears of the unknown, and help them feel encouraged. A simple text message letting them know how proud you are of them will be enough to lift their spirits when the going gets tough. For an added dose of encouragement, consider sending a care package with them filled with notecards containing a scripture and encouraging word for them to open on each day of their trip.
3. Give Financially
You simply can’t go on a missions trip without funding, so supporting your loved one’s trip financially can be one of the best ways to help! Even if you can only give $5, every little bit counts.
4. Spread The Word About Their Mission Trip
Another way to help financially is to spread the word about your friend’s trip for them to help raise funds! When people are personally connected to a cause they are more likely to give, so share away! If you need help coming up with the words to say you can download our free fundraising letter template here.
What about you? What would you add to this list? Let us know in the comments. The more we support others with their mission work, the more people we can serve around the world!
Going on a mission’s trip is different than becoming a missionary. Missionaries have to learn an entirely new language, integrate themselves into a diverse people group, navigate cultural differences and more. But when you decide to go on a mission’s trip — even short-term — you can still take small steps towards immersing yourself into a new culture. It makes the experience much more meaningful the more you decide to learn about a new culture.
To immerse yourself into a new culture, you first have to spend a significant amount of time learning about the culture. There are so many ways to learn through internet searches, books, or talking with others who have been where you are going. Study the history of the place you are visiting! Find out more about the people you will be serving. Ask questions!
If another language is spoken where you are going, download an app like Duolingo and learn the basics before you travel! So many times those you are serving have to fill in the communication gaps, but you should make the effort as well. Learning the language shows the people there that you’re willing to put real work into developing relationships.
Use the language basics to develop friendships. This is a great way to immerse yourself into a culture — do life with people of other cultures and learn from them!
Speaking of friendships, a part of being a good friend is compromising. It’s easy to want things to go your way, but try following their schedule instead! Sometimes that means eating a really late dinner or possibly waking up early with the sunrise. Do things their way instead of trying to bring your culture to them.
Another important way to immerse yourself into a new culture is to drop your assumptions. We all go somewhere with preconceived ideas. Some of that could have come through the early research you’ve done. But be open to the fact that, yes, researching an area you are traveling to is important, but it doesn’t tell you everything! People are unique individuals and can surprise you! Go with the flow and observe real-life, day-to-day happenings upon your arrival and follow those! Live true to yourself while also genuinely honoring and accepting the culture you are visiting.
Observe. Be sincere. Ask for help! Be open!
Disclaimer: This article isn’t saying to pretend to act like you are someone you are not. Don’t pretend to be apart of a culture in a disrespectful way. Approach your new cultural experience in a way that says you know who you are and where you come from but that you want to learn about and experience their culture in a genuine and honest way while you are there.
Tell us all about ways you have immersed yourself into another culture. What was that experience like for you?
Have you ever thought about what you would do if you got sick while traveling? We hope this never happens, but sometimes it’s reality! When traveling, your body adjusts to a new environment, schedule, and eating habits! This can make your body fight back and show symptoms of sickness.
To prevent yourself from getting in this unpleasant situation, we want to give you tips on what to do to avoid getting sick while traveling:
1. Don’t Drink Anything But Bottled Water
In just a few weeks we will be posting about the world’s water crisis. The fact is, there are places in the world that have contaminated water. Do your research of the place you are traveling, and if it’s an area that does not offer safe drinking water, be sure to only drink the bottled water. This will help you avoid vomiting, diarrhea and contracting a disease.
2. Keep Your Hands Clean
“Hand washing is the single most important thing anybody can do to protect their health,” advises. Dr. Philip Tierno, professor of Microbiology and Pathology at NYU School of Medicine and author of The Secret Life of Germs.
Keep in mind, if the water where you are staying is contaminated, this is not a way to help you avoid sickness. Instead, keep your hands clean through hand sanitizer or other sanitizing methods.
3. Get Your Vaccinations
It’s important to visit with a Travel Clinic before traveling overseas to get up to date on health information as well as vaccinations. We created a Complete Vaccination Guide For Travels you can refer to as well!
4. Take Vitamins
Get your body’s immune system working at its best by taking vitamins before and during the trip! A few suggested vitamins are a probiotic, Vitamin C, and Elderberry. Talk to your doctor about the best vitamins for immunity.
5. Prevent Bug Bites
Bugs carry diseases — some deadly such as Malaria. Click here to read everything you need to know about Malaria. The key to avoiding bug bite related illnesses is to do your best to prevent bug bites in the first place! Bring the best bug spray and a mosquito net for bedtime if you are traveling to an area with Malaria. Also, where clothes that cover your skin if possible. It may be hot, so be sure the material can wick away moisture.
6. Stay Hydrated
I know we mentioned bottled water, but we also want to mention the importance of staying hydrated. If you are working in a hands-on environment with a busy schedule, it’s easy to forget to take frequent water breaks. But, to avoid illness and to keep yourself healthy, make staying hydrated an important priority!
What tips do YOU have for avoiding sickness while traveling? Tell us in the comments!
When you’re on a mission’s trip whether as a leader or another part of the team, it’s hard to think about fitting in self-care. Of course, the main reason you are on a trip is to serve, but you can’t serve at your best if you don’t take care of yourself.
When you get involved in the busyness of your trip’s schedule, it will be hard to come up with ways to take care of yourself. You need a plan going into the trip. Think through how to incorporate your regular self-care practices into your time away.
Here is a list of some easy ways to sneak in self-care during a mission’s trip:
1. Pick Luxury Travel Shampoos And Soaps
Sometimes taking a shower is the only chance you will get to yourself on a mission’s trip. It’s a chance to clear your head and clean off the grime from a full day’s work. Since you’ll only be taking travel sized shower items, you might as well splurge for the luxury kind! Pick out the fancier soaps and shampoos that you may not get otherwise. Breathe in the citrus or lavender scents and enjoy your shower break. Create for yourself a spa-like experience and guarantee yourself 5 minutes of time to be alone and present.
2. Get Comfortable
Pack some of your favorites pajama bottoms, slippers, or other comfort items to relax in at the end of the day. There’s not much you can control throughout the day during a mission’s trip experience, but you can control the way you end the day and the comfort you allow yourself to enjoy for the night. Self-care could be as simple as your favorite hoodie sweatshirt or a soft blanket you enjoy snuggling up with at the end of the day. Be sure to give yourself a few moments to each day to get comfortable. This will refresh you before you start back in serving the following day.
Sometimes there will be opportunities to go on a run or possibly do a workout while traveling, but mostly there won’t be a lot of time for exercise. However, if you can find the time to do simple yoga stretches to unite your body and mind, this will give you a moment of self-care. Try the cat-cow, downward dog, mountain, and child’s pose. This will promote relaxation and give you a new level of energy after it’s completed.
4. Spiritual Meditation
This is the most important form of self-care. Be sure you take time to be alone with the Lord and in His Word. That is what’s going to fill you up and sustain you during the time you serve. If you are serving others but neglecting your spiritual life in the process, then service is distracting you from the most important thing. Schedule daily time for spiritual meditation and allow the Lord to fuel you for the work He has called you to do.
Tell us in the comments what you choose to do as self-care on a mission’s trip!