Learn how IMB is active in health care missions

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.

Staggering need

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 medicalmissions@imb.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 rnaylor@gobgr.org or visit www.gobgr.org.

Stories from around the world

Helping the disabled make new lives for themselves

Helping the disabled make new lives for themselves

Life has not been easy for Sabal Pathak.* Born with cerebral palsy, Pathak, 18, lives with his family in a rural village outside Bangalore, India. Although he is mentally alert and highly sociable, Pathak's severe deformities make life very difficult.

Well project brings 'healing water' to western Zambia

In western Zambia, Global Hunger Relief resources financed a well project that is blessing more than 4,000 people and has brought the good news of God’s love to hundreds. Read more by clicking here.

Healing, new life in a refugee camp

By Ariana Castro Acuña

KAMPALA, Uganda — Her sweet smile made IMB missionary Curt Iles forget to ask what made her a child with special needs. Adeit, a little girl from South Sudan, instantly captured his heart when he was visiting Alere Refugee Camp in Uganda.

Adeit belongs to the Dinka people, a group that Iles and his wife, Dede, are trying to reach with the Gospel. Because the different camps provide refuge to a multitude from various people groups, including the Dinka, Nuer, Madi and Kuku, the Ileses have had the opportunity to visit thousands of refugees who have left South Sudan.

After a week of visiting several camps and witnessing “enough to break any heart,” as Iles writes in his blog, they came to Alere Refugee Camp. There, they met Adeit, a quiet, 9-year-old girl who is quick to offer a smile, and noticed that her foot faced backward. Iles handed her a box of UNO cards and took a photo of her, but the impact she made on his heart was much greater than a game of cards. The missionary could not stop thinking about her and found himself looking at her photo every day.

Soon, Iles met Joel Vanderford, a doctor with Samaritan’s Purse, who told him about the work of a hospital nearby. Vanderford explained that the hospital did rehabilitation work at no cost for children with physical problems and that the only charge would be for transportation and lodging. Adeit received the medical attention she needed and underwent two surgeries; her foot now faces forward. Iles says he fully expects her to start running foot races soon.

Because of the relationship that leaders from Alere Baptist Church had with Adeit and her family, as well as their concern for Adeit’s handicap, the family members were also led to personal relationships with Christ.

“They made a statement of faith through the pre-trip visit of Pastor Joseph Anyovi,” says Iles, referring to the trip the family took to the hospital.

Today, God is using Adeit’s story to reach others in the camp with the Good News of Jesus. Iles says that because of the miracle that was performed on Adeit’s foot, her family has come down to witness it for themselves, and God has received all the glory in the process.

“Not only is it her story, but it’s God’s story,” Iles said. “His hand has been all over the journey to bring her to this point.”

Ariana Castro Acuña served as a summer intern at IMB.

Migrant factory workers find hope through healthcare

While much has been reported about the working conditions of East Asian factories like Nike and Dell, much less has been written about the hope Christian workers are bringing to factory workers through community health training or CHT.

“CHT equips Christian workers and local believers with basic healthcare principles and skills,” explains project director Sally Kennedy.* “This approach allows us to meet both the physical and spiritual needs of factory workers.”

Migrant factory workers are usually uneducated and lack knowledge about basic health care, Kennedy explains. As a result, illnesses that reduce worker productivity are common as are boredom-fueled alcohol and tobacco addictions. In addition, many workers are not “residents” of the city and do not have access to affordable health care or other social services.

CHT helps address these issues by working with factory owners to offer on-site medical clinics. In 2013, funding from Global Hunger Relief (formerly the World Hunger Fund) allowed CHT workers to hold medical clinics in 10 large factories where CHT teams treated more than 1,000 workers.

 Health care missions: biblical, Southern Baptist, strategic

Healthcare professionals and students from across the United States came together to learn how IMB is active in health care missions, how health care strategies are being used to share the Gospel across the world and how they can get involved. Scott Holste, IMB vice president for global strategic mobilization, stressed why IMB is dedicated to health care missions: “It’s the biblical thing to do… it’s the Southern Baptist thing to do… and it’s the strategic thing to do.” Read more by clicking here


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