YWAM Medical Missions at Marine Reach
October 19, 2020 - January 1, 2030
YWAM Medical Missions
YWAM has been involved in medical missions for over 40 years and here at Marine Reach medical missions have been a part of our DNA since we began over 30 years ago.
YWAM medical missions have seen the lives of hundreds of thousands of people around the world changed for the better. Medical missions are a way for YWAM to show the love of God to people in need.
Here at Marine Reach, we have a significant focus on medical missions.
- We run a Medical Compassion Discipleship Training School
- We run a School of Primary Healthcare
- And we run a Family Care Centre Health Care and Dental Clinic in the Pacific nation of Vanuatu
If you’re wondering what medical missions is like with YWAM or are interested in healthcare and want to know what it would be like to combine it with missions, then this blog post should really help you to understand what medical mission can be like.
We’ve interviewed Aimee Phillip, Marine Reach Medical Compassion DTS staff, to get her take on medical missions in YWAM!
What do medical missions mean to you?
“No matter when you go out, your goal is to reach people and to share the love of Christ. I think the word medical is simply a doorway to do that, but the goal remains the same. The goal of medical missions is to show people Christ, to share the gospel, and to express the character and nature of God.
When you take the word ‘medical’, I think sometimes people get stuck on the word and forget the goal; they forget to share. It’s such a beautiful thing that the Lord has given us different gifts and passions on His children’s hearts.
Some people have the gift of worship- of music and making noise, and then there are people who have a gift with kids – who organise games, and then there’s people who have this passion for healing, to meet someone’s needs.
There are so many practical things that the Lord has put in our lives that can be utilised as a doorway into missions, and He puts those into our lives for a reason. So I think medical missions are for these people who have this passion for taking care of people, for the ones who have a skill set in caretaking areas and can use that space to actually share Jesus.
I personally think that in medical missions the minority should be medical and the majority should always be missions. You use it as an outlet but that the reality is that you’re connecting someone to a source, and that source is Jesus.
I love medical missions! I love the idea of medical missions. I love that we have a God that wants to use our gifts and wants to bring practical things to His children that are hurting. He meets needs. He always wants to meet needs! If He sees one of them hurting, He wants to bring comfort. If He sees one of His kids having anxiety, He wants to bring peace. He doesn’t just sit and do nothing, but He wants to show in action His love and His care. It so cool that we can be used as vessels for that!”
How do you prepare for Medical Mission trips?
“I think you need to know your skill set. The most successful things that we were able to bring when we went out were the things that we were naturally good at. And putting more time and effort into those than whole new skills.
New skills are beautiful, but if you have a team that is naturally good with kids and are really good teachers, it is better to focus on bringing health education, songs for them to remember, and showing people how to take care of their bodies.
If you have a team that loves the ooshy gooshy ewey stuff and is super excited to do wound care, put a lot of time and effort into getting resources to do that. If you have a really energetic team that wants to run exercise classes every morning, get those things organised.
I think knowing who you’re going with, putting together your skills, and asking ‘what is the Lord wanting us to focus on with the skills that He has given us?’ is important.
If you’re not surgeons, don’t go in expecting to do a surgery. If you’re not a nurse, do not expect to go having all the skills of a nurse. Instead go in knowing the Lord has equipped you to do a certain thing and He will use you if you’re faithful.
Some of the practical things I had to look at when we were going on medical missions were checking that I could bring specific supplies across the border or if we had to buy them in the nation.
A lot of my teams wanted to do health education which meant we had to prepare a lot beforehand. For example, accommodating the language barrier by making very visual pictures to use for explanations.
It was always important to my team to set up clinics when we were in these nations. We wanted to run things like physiotherapy, checking blood pressure, and wound care. Not only did we have to teach these things, but we had to practice them and be diligent and confident. That way we weren’t just coming to do a clinic, but actually to benefit the people around us. So preparation is key!”
What has been the most challenging part?
“I would say the most challenging part of medical missions is not getting caught up in your own desires. And I think that’s in so many things in life, but I know for me it’s easy to have my own agenda and to go like ‘okay, I really want to see this today!’ or help a person who got a bush knife cut or whatever it would be.
Sometimes when you put medical before missions, you forget what the focus should be on. And because it takes time to prepare missions beforehand, it’s easy to put all your time and effort into the medical side of things that you miss opportunities to share the gospel or just love someone in a non-medical way. If your eyes aren’t on Jesus, you might lose those moments being too caught up in your own mindset.
So I guess the word to summarise all that is expectations. In missions in general, when we make our own expectations about what something is going to look like, we can limit what God is wanting to show us.”
What about the most rewarding?
“A lot of my answers revolve around the same thing. But I think the most rewarding aspect of medical missions is when you realise what you’ve brought and prepared has opened doors to love someone in the way that they need to be loved.”
What’s one of your favourite stories?
“One time in Vanuatu, my team needed to get to the other side of this island. The only way we could do this was by getting into this tiny little boat. We all got completely soaked with water, like COMPLETELY! Drenched head to toe, but we got there with all of our medical stuff in a backpack that happened to be the only thing that wasn’t wet. We were tired but managed to set up a clinic.
Man, let me tell you, in those moments that you’re the most tired, be aware that God might want to use you in your weakness so that He is the most glorified.
So, when we set up this clinic, no one was there. It was a Sunday and everyone was at church and we were like ‘what even are we doing here?’ We decided to do some worship, and our desire was that some of the locals would come to sing with us. None of them really did, but they were kind of listening from the outside.
Anyways, we were like ‘I guess we’re going to start this clinic’, so we rang this bell to share with people that we were ready for them. After about 15-20 minutes, all of these people just started coming. This one lady came, and we got to pray for her.
She had had headaches for years. When we prayed for her, she just started crying. She hadn’t given us much detail when she had asked us to pray, so while she was crying we asked what was happening and she started to share. As we prayed her headache started to go away for the first time, she felt the Holy Spirit and the Lord’s presence.
What was so beautiful was that there were all these people who were being treated for so many different things, and this woman started grabbing people she knew had chronic sickness or knee pain. She made a line at the prayer station that was our biggest line anywhere, and she just kept grabbing these ladies.
Not only was she bringing them to us, but she was sharing her testimony of what God did when we prayed. She was declaring that God is good and that he heals. I don’t think I have ever seen the power of testimony so beautifully shown.
Another guy also turned up for prayer for a medical issue but he actually ended up given his life to the Lord and started confessing his sins to the Lord right in front of us. Things like ‘I’m not doing well in my faith’, ‘I’m not honouring God in these areas’ and ‘I want to change my lifestyle’.
Just like that and every person that came to us had such a different thing that the Lord was wanting to do in their life, whether physically, emotionally, or spiritually.
Jesus is the ultimate healer. He is the ultimate king. It was so beautiful to see the fact that people wanted and needed Jesus more than they wanted and needed the things we could bring and to see the open door that God used.
So many people still got treated for the things they came for, but the thing that I saw that day was that people were leaving that day knowing Jesus more than they knew us and wanting Jesus more than the things that we brought.
I think that day, for me, was a perfect picture of what missions are supposed to look like; when you are prepared practically, but also come prepared just to let the Lord lead and open doors as He does.”
“I’ve learn what the Kingdom means for us, how can we bring the Kingdom here and just share it with others… That makes me super excited! The key is to listen to God’s voice, seek His face and His presence! Everything else will be added as he promised is Matthew 6:33!”
Estera Welchar, 22, Poland
“Doing a DTS and being part of the worship stream was absolutely life changing for me. God took me from a luke-warm, passive, prideful faith, to an authentic passionate relationship with Him. As he revealed His worthiness to me, I learned to let go of everything in this world and cling to Him; to allow myself to be undone in His presence.”
Lauren Balzer, 18, BC Canada
“For the past two years God has called me to go deeper in the word and not just let it be a surface level experience with Him. However I didn’t really have the tools, knowledge or understanding for how to go about this. God spoke to me months before I knew I would be able to do the DBS, during lockdown, that those who get into the word would see the face of Jesus. I am realizing that as I get into the word for hours a day with really helpful teachings to go alongside the readings, that is exactly what is happening. I am gaining such a deeper understanding of who God is and who I am, in relation to Him. There have been weeks where doing the homework assignments just completely wrecked me by seeing the love of God and in the moments of reflecting how God has moved so radically in my life. Even when I wasn’t walking closely with Him, He has always been drawing me back into a close relationship with Him by His love and mercy and grace.”
Anika Hochstedler, 26, New York
“My life used to be run by my fears, my struggles, and my failures. I had no way of fighting them because I didn’t know the truth. Over my time with YWAM and beyond, I have encountered so much freedom as God has shown me the truth of who He is in His Word. Dive into the Bible on Cover to Cover and watch God transform you as He begins to show you who He really is and who you were really made to be.”
David Souter, 22, England
“The Pilgrimage DTS allowed me to take the time I needed to get to know God more and grow closer to Him while spending lots of time in His beautiful creation. God also used the hikes to challenge and encourage me to rely on Him more.”
Colin Berkley, 24. B.C. Canada
“The Justice Movement stream really opened my eyes to what justice looks like through the eyes of God. Justice is more than making wrong right, it’s walking in mercy and humility. Justice is bringing light and life to orphans, widows, immigrants, and hope to anyone who is oppressed.”
Naomi Wilson, 18, AB, Canada
“Prayer and Passion completely changed my outlook on the true power that prayer has. It had always been something that I knew worked and I did, but it was boring. Being a part of this stream gave me new understanding of how prayer is worship and fuels the power of heaven connecting with earth. It will move you to a place of praying out of your relationship with the Lord rather than giving him a list of things you want. You will gain a newfound intimacy with God as your prayer life is propelled.”
Tilly Logan, 21, Australia
“The Medical Compassion DTS magnified my love for those in need. It stressed the importance of the power of prayer and how I can go to God in all the medical and daily situations in my life and the lives of those I minister to.”
Noah Armbruster, 20, Michigan, USA
“The Justice Movement Stream taught me to truly fall in love with and respect other cultures and people groups, and how to see them as God sees them.”
Kasandra Adler, 19, Missouri, USA
“Before doing the Justice Movement stream I was so full of hatred and anger toward the perpetrators of human trafficking; completely lacking the love God has for them. But through the stream meetings and prayer it’s been a beautiful journey in which God has shown me how deep and vast His love is for ALL His children. God completely changed my view and I couldn’t be more thankful for this experience!”
Kara Spencer, 19, BC, Canada