by Michael Soderling
Most short-term medical missions today are using massive amounts of resources. And yet, people are still living in unsanitary conditions and having to deal with preventable diseases.
Most short-term medical missions today are using massive amounts of resources. And yet, people are still living in unsanitary conditions and having to deal with preventable diseases. With all the knowledge and expertise we bring to the overseas medical mission field, shouldn’t there be some measurable improvement in the health of the people? What can we do to increase living standards and to be better stewards of what God has blessed us with? Here are six suggestions.
1. Mission organizations must comply with the laws of the land. This is certainly a biblical principle.
2. Health workers should operate within their realm of expertise. Nurses should not fill the role of a doctor and doctors should not work outside their areas of expertise.
3. Organizations must do a better job in working together. Find out who is serving where you are. Brainstorm as to how you can work together to make your efforts more effective for God’s kingdom.
4. Every short-term team should work closely with the local health care providers. By including them in your work, you will have many opportunities to share the good news of Jesus Christ.
5. We need to educate ourselves ahead of time in the area of medical missions. Information on the Internet can be used to learn how to be more effective. (Note: One important area to learn about is how to avoid creating dependency in the area in which you will be serving.)
6. If your organization is Christ-centered, keep that as your focus. This should permeate everything that happens during trips you sponsor and support. This is an easy thing to forget due to the business aspect of these outreaches. Remember, though, that if you are too busy to make Christ the center of your trip, the trip is simply not worth the effort.
Dr. Michael Soderling is a full-time medical missionary who has been serving in Guatemala since 2001. He has been developing a health zone system in Palin, which is based on the work of Dr. Daniel Fountain in the Democratic Republic of Congo.
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