Medical Missionary Work – Non-medical Work and Concluding Thoughts

22 Feb

Christian mission hospitals should be God’s institutions of healing in a world of suffering. They have the potential to ‘close the gap’ in access to healthcare and provide high quality accessible services in the most remote and needy parts of the world to those who need them the most – the poor and marginalized.

In 1993, my wife Ann and me moved to a remote part of Assam in northeast India. We were led by verses in the Bible (Jeremiah 29:11-13 for me and Isaiah 6:8 for Ann) to what God wanted us to do with our lives. Over the following 27 years, God took us by our hands and provided us with all the encouragement, strength and wisdom required to transform a closed-down hospital to a thriving institution bringing healing and transformation to many surrounding communities. (1) We were not alone, God brought many committed staff to join us over the years to make this possible.

I was privileged to be invited to speak at six sessions on “Medical Missions” at the (virtual) South Asian regional conference of the International Christian Medical and Dental Association in November 2020. I am not an expert on medical missions but spoke from our experience in walking with God and witnessing a great transformation take place in our hospital.

Besides running hospitals, our societies and trusts often run schools and colleges as well as nursing and paramedical training programs or have the right to start schools and colleges, this is a good option to consider as there are many benefits. Our founding documents may allow us to carry out many other activities as well.

We can run community health and development programs that benefit local communities either on our own or in partnership with other agencies. A lot of information can also be gained by community observations and this can be used to make our services more accessible to our target communities.

Telling others about the impact of God’s presence in our lives is important, especially when it is this spirit that has motivated us to our lives of service. Our motivation to talk about our personal experience as Christians is due to the peace, contentment and purpose in life that it has brought us and the desire to share this with others. We must however be aware of the changing rules of our nations and know that it is not by spending our material resources into this effort that we are able to talk about the life-changing experience of accepting Christ into our lives but by people experiencing a personal touch from Him. If we can simply live lives trusting and obeying God, opportunities for people to experience such a touch will come simply because God’s spirit lives in us and He will communicate His love for people through our lives.

Some hospitals have significant land and other assets which can be developed, not only for the institution itself but for surrounding communities. Research work can also be done on biodiversity documentation and environmental work, especially when many of our hospitals are located in remote areas where little work has been done over the years. Each hospital will have its own local opportunities which it should exploit.

We should also explore training opportunities to disseminate our learnings, these could be informal or formal and in partnership with other like-minded agencies.

Our hospitals are also good sites for research that is relevant to the low-resource settings in which we function. It is certainly a challenge to engage in research activities when we are hard-pressed for time in our busy hospitals but when situations improve and opportunities come, we should take them. Our learnings should be published so that they can benefit others too.

We should count the costs of missionary work – health issues, concerns about our families – parents and children, fear and security related issues, financial concerns, worldly disgrace – these are temporary trivial inconveniences that we should be willing to face in exchange for things that money cannot buy – contentment in this world and riches in heaven.

Medical missionary life is full of uncertainty and constant challenges but God will be by our side, strengthening and encouraging us and giving us the wisdom needed to take the right decisions.

We should work together to formulate plans to help sick hospitals recover and new ones started in areas of need. I have mentioned the TIRS project which could bring to attention of funders and volunteers the good work being done in remote low-resource settings by our mission hospitals.(2,3)

I close with some concluding thoughts. I hope that this series of talks were useful to those who have listened and there are some learnings that could be applied to different situations. May God bless us all.

References:

  1. https://the-sparrowsnest.net/2020/09/30/a-journey-of-faith/
  2. https://transformationalimpact.org/report.pdf
  3. https://transformationalimpact.org/index.html

Please click on the link below to watch the concluding talk:

One Response to “Medical Missionary Work – Non-medical Work and Concluding Thoughts”

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. Suggestions for Medical Missionary Work | The Sparrow's Nest - February 23, 2021

    […] Other work that can be done in mission hospitals and concluding thoughts: https://the-sparrowsnest.net/2021/02/22/medical-missionary-work-non-medical-work-and-concluding-thou… […]

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