Did you know that the phrase, “Do not be afraid” is written (in one form or another) 365 times throughout the Bible. It’s almost as if God was trying to communicate something, isn’t it?

Something we hear a lot of from aspiring short-term missionaries is a theme of fear. People are afraid of the unknown. People are afraid of traveling to a place they’ve never been. People are afraid of how they might feel while on a trip.

There is a whole lot of anxiety wrapped up in the very idea of committing to a short-term medical missions trip. While that is very normal and understandable, we also want to encourage you to remember the overwhelming message found in the Bible: do not be afraid.

“Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.” – Isaiah 41:10

When fear strikes our hearts, it is easy to become stuck. It’s easy to allow that fear to block us from moving forward. This is because there is a message that fear is communicating to us at that moment: “you will not be safe. You must protect yourself by getting out of this situation.”

Fear has a way of convincing would-be medical missionaries that they will be better off not submitting that application. Fear is telling them that they will be safer staying at home. Fear also has a way comforting us by telling us that it is okay if we do not go; someone else will go and do the work instead.

Imagine if everyone allowed fear to stop them?

No hospitals would be built.

No doctors would exist to heal.

No one would go when the call rings out.

And souls will be left struggling with no access to healthcare, health education, clean water, etc… Worse still: there’d be no one to deliver the good news of the Gospel.

When we can give ourselves permission to push past the fear, we allow ourselves to also trust in the promises of God.

He will be with us wherever He calls us. He will be our greatest Supporter and Friend in the midst of all circumstances. He will be the One holding our hands as we walk out in faith in answer to His call.

“The Lord is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear? The Lord is the stronghold of my life; of whom shall I be afraid?” – Psalm 27:1

Fear can only exist in the dark; Fear occurs because we find ourselves caught in a moment of not-knowing. We can’t see what lies ahead for us. We don’t know, when we commit to a short term medical missions trip, if we will feel comfortable. We don’t know who we might meet or what opposition we might encounter to the gospel. There is a whole lot that we do not know.

But when we take a minute to breathe and really think through the root of our fear, we can also remember this beautiful promise found in Psalm 27: “The Lord is my light and salvation.”

Wherever we go, in obedience to God’s call, we are walking the light of God’s love and guidance. He is the one who holds tomorrow in the palm of His hand. We can trust that He will also guide us safely through the work He’s given us to do.

More than that, we know that God is preparing hearts who will be open to hearing the gospel and receiving the love of Christ that we offer through our health clinics. We may meet people who are not interested in the gospel, but we will also meet people who are longing to know that they are irrevocably loved by the Creator of Heaven and Earth.

Can you imagine how wonderful it will feel to get to be the one to deliver that message to people who are waiting to hear it?

“Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” – Philippians 4:6-7

In the end, we all have a choice: will we allow fear to hold us back? Or will we be the ones who step out in faith and trust that where God may be calling us, He will also be our Most Holy Protector?

This is not to say that the choice is an easy one to make. Of course it isn’t. We are merely human, and fear is a human emotion. A compelling one at that. 

But we are also children of God. As such, we have a beautiful promise from our Heavenly Father that we can find our peace and hope in Him.

The more we choose to focus on our God and His promises to be with us, keep us safe, and give us peace, the less power fear has over us. We have a hope in God that we cannot find elsewhere.

So today, I want to encourage you: if you hear the voice of the Holy Spirit prompting you to join us on a medical mission trip, please follow that leading. Fear will always tell you to stay safe and stay home, but God is the only One who can promise our safety. If He calls you to it, He will also bring you through it.

Applications are closing soon for our next medical mission trip to Burundi. We still need doctors, nurses, dentists to volunteer to join us. We also need those without experience in the medical field. Everyone is welcome.

Is God calling you to join us in Burundi? The deadline to apply is April 30. You can get all the details for that trip here.