Then He sent them to proclaim the Kingdom of God and to heal the sick. (Luke 9:2 NIV)
For Christians, healing the sick has always gone
hand-in-hand with sharing the Gospel. Jesus modeled it Himself, and He
sent His followers out with explicit instructions to both proclaim and
heal.?? Health care also has always been at the heart of Southern Baptist
global missions, from 1846 right down to the present day.
The face of Southern Baptist health care missions has changed,
but we still focus on making disciples and starting churches while
meeting physical needs.??
Current Medical Volunteer Opportunities
Click here to see a list of current opportunities for health care professionals overseas.
Today the health care needs around the world are as unprecedented as the opportunities. The statistics on children’s health are staggering by themselves:??
More than 22,000 children under age 5 die each day -- almost 1,000 every hour.
About 3.3 million die during the first month of life; almost 6 million within the first year. Infectious diseases cause 64 percent of those deaths.??
In many developing countries, children under age 5 routinely die from treatable afflictions like pneumonia, diarrhea and malaria.
In Africa, malaria strikes 94 of every 100,000 people, according to the World Health Organization. Tuberculosis affects 345 out of every 100,000 -- contrasted with only 29 in the Americas. Non-communicable diseases, like heart disease, stroke, diabetes and cancer -- now make up two-thirds of all deaths globally.
??For adults, poor health not only shortens life but also reduces a person’s ability to provide for family -- pushing even more at-risk people deeper into despair. When communicable diseases run rampant and access to health care is virtually nonexistent, the eternal implications for entire villages and even people groups are truly, literally grave.??
Unprecedented opportunity ?
Traditional mission hospitals still play a significant role in Southern Baptist mission strategy, and we partner with such institutions around the world. But the central focus of health care missions today lies with outpatient clinics and primary health care in remote areas. Southern Baptist missionaries also leverage their training and skills in the various health care disciplines to help educate a new generation of indigenous workers around the world. Today more than 250 health care-qualified individuals serve under career appointment through the International Mission Board.??
Health care missions, in fact, fills a key strategic role in taking the Good News to the unreached peoples of the world. Where doors are closed to many others, health care professionals have unique opportunities to care, share, make disciples and empower the church.??
Are you available and ready???
Your first step toward involvement, individually or as a church, is to make yourself available and ready to respond to God's direction. You can become informed about health care needs across the world and identify opportunities to use your skills in strategic ways that lead to new disciples and churches.??God may give you a burden to pray for people in need and the health care missionaries who serve them. God may call you, as He has many others, to a career overseas in international health, serving as part of a team that shares Christ and starts churches alongside national partners. Or the Lord may direct you to go as a volunteer for a shorter term, either as an individual or as part of a team.??
Special events are sponsored by the IMB on a regular basis to help you discover God’s plan for you in health care missions. For information about the current schedule, visit: ??www.imb.org/events?? or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
??If you want to talk with someone about getting involved, contact Dr. Rebekah Naylor, an emeritus missionary physician who serves as Medical and Health Care Consultant with Baptist Global Response, a key IMB partner in health care initiatives. Contact Dr. Naylor at email@example.com or visit www.gobgr.org.