Types of Missionaries – Medical Missionaries

Imagine… people lined up before dawn, waiting for their turn to see a doctor. Some of them standing in line for hours on end. By noon, those able to see the doctor that day have been signed up and the rest are sent away to try again tomorrow. Some have simple problems like a skin disease or ingrown toenail. Some have large hernias or female problems that require surgical correction.

I have participated in several short-term, medical mission trips, and I am always amazed at the amount of people that come for help. I also am amazed by how “simple” some of the “cures” are.

There are millions of people around the world that have medical needs that are not fixable in the area where they live. There may be a lack of doctors in their area or they may not have money or transportation to get to one. Many people suffer pain or disability with no relief in sight. Sometimes this interferes with their ability to make a living and work.

One important type of missionary that requires some training ahead of time is a medical missionary. All different kinds of people can do medical missions.  Some are full-time missionaries and some do short-term mission trips:

  • Doctors (surgeons, pediatricians, family doctors, ob/gyn, ophthalmologists, plastic surgeons, etc)
  • Physician’s Assistants
  • Nurse Practitioners
  • Nurses
  • Medical assistants
  • Pharmacists
  • Physical therapists

Many of these people have spent years in training to learn how to diagnose and treat patients well. Medical missions can also use people without training, though. Many people can be trained to weigh and measure a person and take a blood pressure. This can be vital for checking a patient in.

In my opinion, for a medical mission trip to be the most successful it can be, it needs to have two main components:

  • A team of people, some of whom are not medical. People are needed to manage people in line or waiting to see the doctor, entertain children, fix food for the medical team, clean the operating room, organize supplies, and count medications in the pharmacy.
  • A local missionary or local church as a partner. Healing and fixing medical problems is very rewarding, but unless it is combined with telling the people about how Jesus can be their Savior it is missing the most important part of missions.

There are many medical mission organizations, but not all of them have a goal of telling others about Jesus.  You can go to the following websites to read more about some that do:

Want ideas for how to get your kids involved?

  • Get out the toy medical kit and help them play doctor or nurse with their stuffed animals or dolls. Let them “doctor” you. Pretend you live somewhere where there are no doctors.
  • Read stories (age appropriate) from missionary blogs or websites about doctors and medical professionals overseas.
  • Find some books to read about medical missionaries.  Check out: Ida Scudder, David Livingstone, or On Call (for older kids).  Here are some images to help you as you search.  (This is not an exhaustive list…there are many more books available as well.)
  • On Call (Jaffray Collection of Missionary Portraits) by [Thompson M.D., David C.]    Ida Scudder: Healing Bodies, Touching Hearts (Christian Heroes: Then & Now) by [Benge, Janet, Benge, Geoff]        David Livingstone: Africa's Trailblazer (Christian Heroes: Then & Now) by [Benge, Janet, Benge, Geoff]

 

(This post contains some affiliate links.  If you click on some links and make a purchase, familiesformissions may receive a small compensation.)

 

Need Reading Ideas?

I recently saw a great post with some reading ideas for parents that want to read more books about missions to their kids.  Many of us have this as a goal, but we don’t know where to start.  Hopefully this post will give you some ideas!

Check out this post on the IMB website for some great ideas:

A Reading List for Missional Parents Raising Globally Minded Kids 

One of the books they mention is Give Your Child the World: Raising Globally Minded Kids One Book at a Time.

I own this book and find it to be a great resource.  It gives descriptions and summaries of many different books based on the part of the world they are written about and the age of the child you will be getting the book for.  If you are teaching about a region or country, you can look for books from South America or Brazil, specifically.  Take this with you to your local library or request books online ahead of time. This can be a huge time-saver for homeschooling families or moms with small children! One bonus of this book is that the books are not all about missions… many are just about life in different countries and cultures.  This will broaden your child’s idea of what the world is like.

Don’t be overwhelmed with the idea of needing to read tons of books or follow a specific program!  Just start….get one book.  If your kids aren’t excited about the first one you try, keep trying.  You will eventually find a book that piques their interest!

 

(This post contains affiliate links.  If you click on one and then make a purchase, familiesformissions.com will get a small commission.  I only recommend products that I am familiar with and would recommend to others!)

Why I Wrote a Children’s Book – Missionary Kid Stories

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(This post contains affiliate links.)

As a former Missionary Kid (MK), missions has played an important role in my life. I now live in the United States, and I want my kids to be exposed to missions, too. But this is hard to accomplish when you don’t live in another country.

I have implemented many of the things that I write about on this blog with my family, but I wanted something that would be very interesting for the kids and that would help me with other ideas of how to teach them.  Let me tell you about how Missionary Kid Stories came into existence.

My kids and I tend to read lots of books together, so I started looking for books about missions to read to the kids. I wanted one that had information on different countries and types of ministries, but from a kid’s perspective. In searching for a book like this for my children, I could not find one that talked about different ministry strategies from the missionary child’s point of view. The closest book that I found was: Around the World With Kate and Mack by Melissa Paredes (published by Wycliffe), which has a missionary child traveling around and focusing on different languages, cultures, and people groups. I also found several other books written for children about true missionaries from history, like Amy Carmichael and Hudson Taylor.

So, I set out to write a fun, educational, and informative way for children to learn two main things about missions. The result is Missionary Kid Stories . In it, kids learn:

  1. What life is like for different missionary kids in other countries (Mexico, Brazil, Zimbabwe, France, Indonesia, and the Philippines)
    • where they live
    • what languages they speak
    • where they go to school
    • their favorite foods
    • the weather
    • local arts and crafts
    • important landmarks or interesting topography
  2. Different types of ministries in which missionaries serve
    • printing Biblical literature
    • Bible translation
    • teaching in a seminary for local pastors
    • church planting
    • piloting planes to reach remote locations
    • teaching in an international school

Each chapter focuses on a different missionary kid, each in a different country, each with a different ministry focus. The characters are fictional (for security reasons in some countries), but are based, largely, on real missionary families serving around the world.

This book is intended to plant ideas into children’s minds that will hopefully grow into a desire to serve God in missions. I know that my kids have enjoyed reading this book (or having it read to them), and it has sparked many conversations about things they read about. I have been able to use this book to teach them about the countries included. For example, you can read about ideas to use when learning about Brazil here.

I the coming months, I plan to include more ideas for activities you can do with your children based on the book. I hope that families will use this to help broaden their children’s horizons. I also hope that it will be useful in homeschooling, Sunday Schools, and Vacation Bible Schools.  If you would like to purchase the paper or Ebook version of “Missionary Kid Stories”, click here!

If you have activity ideas that coordinate with the countries or ministries in the book, comment and share! I’d love to know!

Find a Great Local Experience for Your Family

Have you heard of Compassion Experience?  I recently learned about this event that happens in cities all across the United States.  This is a great way to let your family see what it would be like to live as a child in another country.   It is free and open to all ages.  I plan to attend with my family, and I would love to know if you have been and what you thought about it?  Leave some comments!

Want to see where you might find a Compassion Experience near you?  Look here:  Compassion Experience