by Will Rogers
When considering a future in medical missions, one of the biggest pieces of the puzzle is the organization you choose to work with. How do you pick? There are so many! Maybe you’re planning a short-term trip or long-term placement. Either way, it is a big and important decision. Let’s review some things you should consider before your big decision.
Start at our medical missions organizations page. This database has the most extensive list of healthcare-focused organizations in the world. They have all been vetted by the team at MedicalMissions.com
You can refine the search by:
Global Health Issues
Types of serving (student, 1-6 weeks, 6weeks-year, 1-2 years, and so on)
Areas of the world
This allows you to narrow your search to exactly what you want. Are you a nurse who wants to do a two-week trip to Asia? No problem, Medical Missions can you lead you to the exact organizations that are doing this great work.
You can do the same kind of focused search at Medical Missions Resources. Find a library of resources from experts that have tons of experience for you to learn from. You can also do a basic google search. This will open up a very wide range of organizations, and you won’t be sure of the reputability of them, but it can give you an idea of what is out there. Here’s the point: read, read, and read some more. Start with missionary biographies and move on to missions philosophy and history. This will continue to give you ideas about the best ways and means to go and to choose an org.
If you are in school, go to a teacher or professor and ask them for help and counsel. Do you know a missionary? Start correspondence with them. Ask their advice, but more importantly, listen to their experience. Go to your church and find someone with experience in the area or with the expertise you have. Don’t forget to speak with your pastor or mentor - ask them honestly about your gifts, talents, experiences. Do they think you are ready? Do they think this is a good choice for you? Do they have folks they know who might connect with you?
After all of the research and consultation, you need to begin the process of talking with the organizations. Start by reaching out to them at an experience like the GMHC exhibit hall.
Utilize the live chat experience
Set up Zoom meetings
Listen, learn, take notes from all the agencies and organizations you meet with
After that, compare notes. What do you like about some and not about others? Here are a few things to keep in mind:
Narrow your search down by region of the world or area of missions focus.
Look at their mission statement and their goals - do they match with yours?
Which organizations match your philosophy of missions (the how and why of mission work)
Look at their missionary care. You want an agency that values the spiritual, emotional, and mental health of their missionaries
This is the time to bring all of your notes together. What is the Lord saying? You have research, advice from trusted mentors, and conducted interviews with actual organizations. How does it all fit together? Where is the best fit? Take your time on this step. It’s not the time to rush anything.
Throughout this entire journey, be in prayer. Cover the entire process in prayer. Ask God for specific points of interaction and direction. Be open to “No” and “Wait.” Sometimes, it isn’t the right time or the right way or the right organization. Don’t force it. Often, you can easily get caught up in the questions, details, planning, logistics, and other things related to a mission trip—and honestly—you can forget to pray. Don’t forget to pray!
Here are just a few ideas to pray about:
Pray for wisdom. Something will go wrong. It doesn’t matter how organized you are! Pray from day one of planning. Ask God to give you wisdom in:
where you should go - whether short term or long, this is a vital piece of the puzzle
What is the cost - you will need to raise money for a short term trip, and you will need to raise support for long term placement
who you should go on a mission with - remember the process above. Don’t just pick something at random, but do the work required to choose well.
What God is calling you to in this placement? Whether short term or long, God has plans for you and for the people you are serving.
Remember this, when you are weak, God is strong. His grace is sufficient for you now and on the field. Learn early to get your strength from Him and you will be well on your way to having a missional life of purpose and usefulness.
Pray for joy. This is an amazing time to see God show up and see fruit in your life and for those going on mission with you. Pray for yourself and any folks going with you to find joy through this experience.
Pray for the people you’re going to serve. Whether it’s financial frustrations or health questions, ask God for His provision daily from start to finish of your trip. Ask for spiritual eyes to see God at work in you and the folks with you.
Ask God to intervene and heal where there is sickness or other needs of the people you are going to serve. If you can, make a list of the needs of the people you’re traveling to serve and begin praying for those needs before you arrive. Keep a journal of frustrations and answers to prayer. When you look back over this experience, you’ll see trends where God was at work—if you’re looking.
If you take your time, do your research, seek wise counsel, visit in person or virtually, review all the important factors, and pray, you’ll be in a great spot to pick the best fit for you when it comes to picking the right medical mission organization.