Sometimes we get really excited to help people on medical missions trips. In that excitement, we start losing sight of our impact.
David Coulibaly, a ministry leader in Mali, West Africa once described performing mission work with americans like this:
“Would you like to know what it is like to do mission with Americans? Let me tell you a story,”
Elephant and Mouse were best friends. One day Elephant said, “Mouse, let’s have a party!”
Animals gathered from far and near. They ate, and drank, and sang, and danced. And nobody celebrated more exuberantly than the Elephant.
After it was over, Elephant exclaimed, “Mouse, did you ever go to a better party? What a blast!”
But Mouse didn’t answer.
“Where are you?” Elephant called. Then he shrank back in horror. There at his feet lay the mouse, his body ground into the dirt — smashed by the exuberance of his friend, the Elephant.
“Sometimes that is what it is like to do mission with you Americans,” the African storyteller concluded. “It is like dancing with an Elephant.”
Ouch! That stings doesn’t it. We often only think of the “good” we are doing without seeing the damage losing sight of our impact causes.
Some things that we should keep in mind when we are on a medical missions tri, that will help keep us from losing sight of our impact, and makes the experience better for the people we are called to serve:
- We are not the savior. We can’t “save” anyone, nor is it our job. Jesus called us to make disciples and spread the good news. When we come in with a Superman “here I am to save the day” attitude we step on people and they get hurt.
- People need our expertise not our pity. When we show up to share knowledge and love on people it comes across as all of us being equal. When we show up with an attitude of pity we elevate ourselves above the people that we are serving. We are all equal in God’s eyes, and He has called us to love our neighbor not pity them.
- Don’t take yourself too seriously. Be willing to try some of the native customs, foods, and experiences. Being open to the cultural that we are visiting is a great way to build trust with those we are called to serve and help them see us as people just like them.
Are you ready to experience a Medical Mission trip for yourself? Visit our website at https://missionpartnersforchrist.org/volunteer/ to get started!