Why Take a Medical Mission Trip Part 2
April 10, 2017
Part Two: The Reset Continues
Using my medical skills to serve the needy—to really serve people who are really needy—goes far to reset my perspective on living. Learning how to incorporate spiritual things into my work and my day-to-day activities takes me even farther in the “Great Reset.” I pray, I read my Bible, I study things about the Bible, I tell others about these spiritual things when I have the opportunity, but the fact is, these opportunities are rare here in the U.S. Or are they? Are these opportunities rare, or do I just not notice them?
Medical mission trips are a great way of increasing my sensitivity to what is already going on around me in the spiritual realm. I’m stuck on thinking that it all depends on me—I have to find the person who might be ready to talk, I have to get their attention, I have to move the conversation to spiritual things, I need to introduce the important aspects of the Good News of the gospel, I need to close the deal, I, I, I…
I have learned that it is NOT all about me. I was in Albania more than 20 years ago on one of my first medical mission trips, soon after the Berlin Wall had come down and many closed countries were opening up. I was with a group of very experienced medical missionaries from the U.S. and the U.K., meeting with leaders in the main hospital in one of the large cities.
One afternoon, one of the Albanian orthopedic surgeons was walking us around town, and we sat down outside a former church that had been converted to a restaurant by the atheistic former government. I was the de facto translator, since I spoke Italian, as did many of the Albanians. The conversation turned to spiritual things, since the Albanian surgeon was very curious about things that were unknown to him.
I struggled to understand his Italian, and began trying to formulate answers in my mind. Meanwhile, the rest of my colleagues were asking, “What did he say? What did he ask?” I quickly translated to English, then went back to trying to formulate a good answer to his question about spiritual things that was respectful and culturally appropriate.
Meanwhile, one or two of my team member colleagues said, “Answer him like this… Tell him this… Ask him this question…” I quickly realized God had prearranged this conversation with all the right people—the Albanian surgeon with the questions, the U.S. and U.K. physicians and surgeons with the answers and me—as just the translator! We learned that the next morning, during the morning meeting of all of the surgical staff, this orthopedic surgeon had given a blow-by-blow description of the entire 45-minute conversation we had the previous afternoon!
Here’s a report from a nurse anesthetist on one of our previous medical mission trips:
"When serving as a nurse anesthetist on previous GHO trips, I rarely had an awake audience receptive to the gospel message. There was once, however, a patient who, having received a spinal for his surgery, was awake and asking me questions about Jesus during his procedure. Later, in the recovery room he accepted Jesus as his Lord and Savior. As tears of joy rolled down my face, I was so excited and shocked by the rare occurrence of someone being saved in the surgical suite!"
I am reminded on mission trips how active God is working throughout His creation. Sometimes He lets me see what He is doing. Sometimes He uses me in what He is doing. What a pleasure, a joy and a blessing to be used by Him, to bring glory to Him! It is all about Him!
The adventure continues…