When we think about missions, we often think of someone giving up everything they have, going on deputation, and leaving this country for another country that, more than likely, has less amenities and comfort. However, there are many ways that we can accomplish the Great Commission and access the field. One non-traditional way that is not routinely used, especially with the goal of evangelism, is medical missions.
After being saved in early 2001, the Lord put on my heart a desire to become a physician. Shortly thereafter, while on a missions trip to Ecuador, He burdened me with a desire to serve Him on the field, using medicine as a tool to reach the lost. Not many medical missions organizations focus on the evangelistic outreach aspect; they seem to just care about providing medical relief. While it is a good thing to provide compassionate care to those less fortunate, we must not forget that every single human being in the past, present, and future are all, most importantly, affected by the “disease” of sin. It is this disease that we must seek to cure; and only by the precious blood of Jesus Christ is this attainable.
With this in mind, I began a medical missions organization in late 2015 with the goal to “rescue the perishing” and “care for the dying”. In the 20th chapter of Acts, we read about the Apostle Paul’s impending travel to Jerusalem, “... not knowing the things that shall befall me there:” (verse 22). He was persuaded that he must submit to the Lord’s will and Spirit’s guiding, no matter the cost. In verse 24, he makes a statement that has really been influential in my call to reach the lost: “But none of these things move me, neither count I my life dear unto myself, so that I might finish my course with joy, and the ministry, which I have received of the Lord Jesus, to testify the gospel of the grace of God.” While we are all called to fulfill the Great Commission, not all are called to serve overseas. For me, organizing and orchestrating medical missions trips is just simple obedience in fulfilling His commission, to His Glory, and submitting to the “ministry” that He has provided for me.
Recently I was privileged to have the opportunity to lead a medical team into Honduras. We were able to provide care to more than 700 people. At the same time, national pastors were available to preach the Gospel. There were six people that accepted Christ as their personal Savior. Initially, I was discouraged that only six persons had accepted the saving grace of Christ. During previous trips with other churches and other medical missions organizations, we have seen approximately ten (10%) percent of those who received medical care come to know the Lord. In my mind, I was expecting to see 70. I thought to myself, “Six; that is not enough”. It was then that the Lord began dealing with my heart over this matter. He revealed to me several things. First, He gets the glory, no matter what, and He is the one who convicts and changes hearts and minds; not me. Second, He revealed to me that He gets the glory in the process of evangelism. I soon realized that if just one had a new name written down in glory, that is good enough; and we had six, so a six hundred (600%) percent increase! To God be the glory!
When we think about the net result of our fruits and labors, we often have in our minds the end result mentioned in Revelation 5:9, “And they sung a new song, saying, Thou art worthy to take the book, and to open the seals thereof: for thou wast slain, and hast redeemed us to God by thy blood out of every kindred, and tongue, and people, and nation;” Yes, we were redeemed by His precious blood and the end result is worshipping Him for the rest of eternity, but we must not forget that His worship and praise begin here on earth, when we come to know Him personally. He is glorified through our life, by His redeeming work, and He gets the glory; as long as we are faithful to what He has called us to do.
Fanny Crosby’s hymn, To God Be the Glory, summarizes this thought in the first verse and chorus: “To God be the glory - great things He hath done, So loved He the world that He gave us His Son, Who yielded His life an atonement for sin, And opened the Life-gate that all may go in. Praise the Lord, praise the Lord, Let the earth hear His voice! Praise the Lord, praise the Lord, Let the people rejoice! O come to the Father through Jesus the Son, And give Him the glory - great things He hath done.” The Lord gets the glory, in the here and now, through our simple obedience, and by taking the Good News of Jesus Christ to all people groups. To God be the glory indeed!